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Many poets write poems that reveal the experiences and situations in of their lives. Edgar Allan Poe’s “A Dream Within a Dream,” is a clear portrayal of the suffering and the pain in his life. He wrote the poem as a grieving of the loss of the most influential individuals in his life, including the death of his mother and of his wife Virginia. In line 2 of stanza 1 he says: “And in parting from you now.” This means that he is saddened to part with a loved one. He goes ahead to quote the title of the poem: “That my days have been a dream” and this expresses the despair he has for losing all influential people in his life. In line 7 of stanza 2, he remarks “While I weep- while I weep” as he wants to show the world that he is in real pain of losing a dear one. This is the same case in Sylvia Plath’s Lady Lazarus. In this poem, the poet recounts the story of her suicidal nature. This is reflective of her life, in which she attempted suicide three times. The first and second lines of the poem are: “I have done it again, one year in every ten.” She is talking of the times she has committed suicide, and this is in reference to her real life. She also says: “Bright as a Nazi lampshade” and she refers to the experiences of the Nazi men while at war and how she could see the light of their lamps. “Dying is an art, like everything else”, Plath says this to show how she enjoyed her suicidal habit and that she genuinely wanted to die in the process. Another poem is “The Tiger” by William Blake. During his lifetime, Blake believed that all individuals were equal, there was no better race, no poor people and no superior power. The Tiger is a representation of power and evil as Blake experienced it during his life. In lines 2 and three he says: “what immortal hand or eye, could frame they fearful symmetry.” He is amazed of the features of the tiger, but he is afraid that this creature can be dangerous just like the rulers of his time. He also notes; “did he who made the lamb make thee? Tiger burning bright.” In this line, he is comparing the tiger to the lamb, which is also included in one of his earlier works. Unlike the lamb, the tiger is severe, which is a characteristic of evil leaders.
A poet’s portrayal of his life in a particular poem is always influential in understanding his/her work. The audience get to understand the irony, the symbols and the hidden motifs in the poem.