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Allusion in I Died for Beauty

Allusion Examples in I Died for Beauty:

Text of the Poem

2

"truth..."   (Text of the Poem)

Dickinson’s focus on “truth” and “beauty” recalls the 19th-century English poet John Keats. In Keats’s famous poem “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, Keats meditates on the relationship between beauty and truth—art and human knowledge—and ultimately ends on the note that the two are one in the same. One interpretation of this parallel is that art has the ability to convey aspects of the human experience that science never can. The death of beauty and art would thus mean the death of truth.

"He questioned softly why I failed?..."   (Text of the Poem)

Dickinson further develops the allusion to Keats's poem "Ode on a Grecian Urn," which includes the enigmatic line "Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty."

Dickinson frames the poem, of course, as a death scene, a common motif in her poetry.  The implication of the second stanza is that Truth and Beauty are, certainly after death, either equally unimportant or equally important.

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