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Break, Break, Break

Break, Break, Break

by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Break, Break, Break Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Why doesn't the speaker name the dead friend?
  2. Why is the dead friend only described in terms of absences (the "vanish'd hand," the "voice that is still")?
  3. Why does the speaker address the sea, and not his dead friend?
  4. What's up with all the repetition in this poem? The first line is a repetition of the same word three times, and that line is repeated in the last stanza. The same sentence structure is repeated several times in the second stanza. Why? What is the effect of all this repetition?
  5. Why is the poem set at the seaside? Why is the sea a useful symbol? Does the sea comfort the speaker?

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