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Irony in Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard

Irony Examples in Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard:

Text of the Poem

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" Some kindred Spirit ..."   (Text of the Poem)

In this line, Gray states the point of his poem: he has tried to remember those who were lost and forgotten so that someone will do the same for him when he is dead and forgotten. By placing himself in the poem using "thee," Gray ironically becomes the "kindred Spirit." Because Gray becomes part of the poem, it becomes an elegy for the poet and preserves him from being forgotten.

"unlettered..."   (Text of the Poem)

"Unlettered" means both illiterate and someone unskilled at writing. Characterizing a muse, the goddess of inspiration for education, as "unlettered" is ironic because she should be the source of all eduction. This irony reiterates Gray's theme that these poor people could have been great if given the right opportunity; even a muse is "unlettered" in their circumstances.

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