Themes in The Chambered Nautilus
The Spiritual Journey of Life: The main theme of the poem remains unclear until the final stanza, when the nautilus delivers its wisdom to the speaker. It becomes clear that the travels of the nautilus—both through the sea and through its interior progression of chambers—represent a process of spiritual expansion, or at least Holmes’s speaker imagines them so. The ever larger chambers of the nautilus are as ever “nobler” temples, which are grand but limiting. Only through the nautilus’s final journey—out of the confines of both its shell and “life’s unresting sea”—can it achieve an ultimate freedom.
Themes Examples in The Chambered Nautilus:
The Chambered Nautilus🔒
"outgrown shell by life's un-resting sea!..." See in text (The Chambered Nautilus)
"Let each new temple, nobler than the last, Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,..." See in text (The Chambered Nautilus)
"Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee,..." See in text (The Chambered Nautilus)