Briefs of the Poem
The poem nearly resembles the theme of wickedness but it concludes with having the right attitude and avoiding wickedness. The attitude of Goliath shows pride. He is always proud and full of himself. This is why he has overconfidence that he will defeat David.
The poet uses the expression: similes to compare what will happen to Goliath and those that puff like a Goliath. The poet says that the end of people like Goliath is a disappointment.
A cane, frog, hunger, staff, serious beating, red sea, disgrace, jail, whip, and 6-feet are compared with disobedient, misbehaved, lazy, cattle, goats, Pharaoh and his chariots, proud, law-breakers, horses, and dead. Similes are comparing two entities with the use of the word: ‘as’
The poet says and confirms that something terrible will befall the wicked. The poem is a theatrical allusion as the poet cleverly uses the event of David and Goliath in the bible to explicate what will happen to the disobedient.
The poet concludes that the consequence of the wicked is disappointment and death as Goliath in the bible died a disappointing death.
The poem opens our eyes to the reality of life that nothing last forever. If you have power today. Yours is not the best. There is someone somewhere that has more power than you. Everyone should be humble and not be full of himself/herself.
- Discuss the predominant figurative expression used in the first stanza.
- Analyse the poetic sense as portrayed in the second stanza of the poem.
- Explain the message of the last stanza of the poem.
Knowledge Needed for the Analysis of Poems
Poetry as a piece of literary work, whether spoken or written, expresses and communicates thoughts, ideas, experiences, feelings, and emotions beautifully using imagery, rhythm, and sound. It is all written in verse with lyrical effects.
To achieve the effect, the poet, chooses words that convey meanings through their sounds and that also create images in the readers’ minds. Poetry has music, rhythm, and rhyme.
That is words in a poem are arranged in lines, usually with a repeated rhythm, and sometimes with a rhyme in the end. The ideas in a poem are arranged into lines and stanzas.
To analyze a poem, a reader needs to understand how the poet uses words and sound devices to create images and to bring out his meaning. Thus, the following elements which give poetry its uniqueness in language and meaning will be treated.
The following are major forms of poetry: narrative poetry, satirical poetry, dramatic poetry, and lyrical poetry.
Features of poetry
- Poetry is written in verse, in the form of stanzas and lines.
- Poetry is metrical in the arrangement.
- It is usually lyrical.
- It makes use of figurative language.
- It expresses a thought, ideas, and experiences sometimes in a concise form.
Types of poetry
- Ballad: the word ‘ballad’ is out of current use. The poem derives from the village festival and is not often written but handed down orally from generation to generation, e.g. Ekun iyawo, Ijala Ode, etc.
- Epic: This poem narrates heroes and their deed, e, g Milton’s Paradise Lost, Soyinka’s guidance
- Elegy/Dirge: The poem of lamentation and a song of mourning and a sorrowful event such as the death of a bosom friend, Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
- Lyric: A poem to be sung to the lyre. It is sung during the burial of the dead or the mare ceremonies, e.g. J. P. Clarks Streamside Exchange
- Ode: An ode is a written or spoken poem addressing somebody or something to mark a special occasion.
- Pastoral poem: this poem celebrates the lives of the country and the people.
- Narrative poem: This is a long poem that tells a story, e.g Samuel Coleridge’s The rhyme of the Ancient Mariner.
- Panegyrics/Eulogy: It is a praise poem dedicated to the glorification (praising) of the attributes or qualities of a person, an animal, a place or event, and an object.
Tools to consider in analyzing poems
- Stanzas/Rhymes: This is the division in the formal pattern of a person. It could be two, three, or more lines. Rhyme is the exact correspondence in sound or word-ending, usually at the end of each poem. The arrangements of the stanzas should be considered. Learn how they are arranged below.
- A two-line stanza is known as a couplet
- A three-line stanza is known as triplet
- A four-line stanza is known as a quatrain
- A five-line stanza is known as a quintet
- A six-line stanza is known as a sestet
- A seven-line stanza is known as a septet
- An eight-line stanza is known as an octave
- Rhythm: This is a metrical movement determined between sounds and events.
- Tone/mood: These are feelings or state of mind of the poet. It is the frame of mind in which the poet was when composing his work.
- Atmosphere: This is the prevalent mood, feelings, and thoughts or actions of people in a poem.
- Enjambment: This is also known as (run-on-line). It occurs when the ideas in a line of verse move from one line to the other line that follow it.
- Imagery: It is the use of words to form mental pictures. A poet could use words to draw a picture of situations whose ordinary words cannot convey effectively.
- Metre: This is the arrangement of the stressed and unstressed syllables in a poem to give a particular rhythmic effect.
- The content of the poem: The content is the main body of the poem and you should understand the message and subject matter.
- The structure of the poem: the structure of the poem is to be considered, such as stanzas, verses, and lines.
- Language and style of the poem: The style, figures of speech, and theme are to be considered. The style is the way the language is structured. It is the manner the poem is done. The theme is the central idea and the dominating point of the poem. The figures of the speech are simile, metaphor, personification, hyperbole, irony, euphemism, etc.