Study Guide

Adonais Immortality

By Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Death has taken Adonais, the beautiful youth who represents Keats, before the poem's beginning. Bummer. It's not all doom and gloom, though. Shelley doesn't necessarily think that death is the end, especially not for a youth so beautiful and pure. Is it possible that the youth lives on somewhere else? What does this life after death look like, exactly? Adonais explores several theories about just what happens after mortal death, and comes to a pretty comforting conclusion.

Questions About Immortality

  1. How does the poem represent Death as a character? What effect does this have on your reading? How does Death interact with the afterlife?
  2. Is Shelley's afterlife based on religious principles? Does he reference any religious ideas or texts in the poem? Where do you see them?
  3. Why does the speaker believe we shouldn't mourn the youth?

Chew on This

The speaker personifies Death in order to make it seem less scary (nice Death, nice Death…).

The speaker doesn't think death is the end of life. He thinks it's just the beginning. (Trippy, right?)

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