Study Guide

Adonais Immortality

By Percy Bysshe Shelley

Immortality

[…] his fate and fame shall be
An echo and a light unto eternity! (8-9)

Though Adonais' body is dead, his fame will last for eternity. That's one way to live forever.

Nought we know, dies. (177)

Nothing on this earth really dies, he says. They just become something else. He's summing up his entire view on mortality right there.

Far from these carrion kites that scream below;
He wakes or sleeps with the enduring dead;
Thou canst not soar where he is sitting now. (335-337)

He's high above us, says the speaker, and we can't reach him. The folks up there "endure" forever; they're eternal.

Peace, peace! he is not dead, he doth not sleep,
He hath awaken'd from the dream of life; (343-344)

So be at peace, he says. It's life that was a dream and, now that he's dead, the youth is finally awake.

And death is a low mist which cannot blot
The brightness it may veil. (391-392)

Here the speaker compares death to fog; it hangs close to the earth and tries (but fails) to diminish life.

What Adonais is, why fear we to become? (459)

Good question there, Mr. Speaker. If death is as nice as the speaker imagines it to be, then why should anyone fear it?

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