Thomas Gray: Poems

The Immortality of a Dead Cat

Her beauty defied comparison. Her joy in life's simplest pleasures endeared her to all who knew her. Her insatiable curiosity drove her to constantly explore, examine, and engage in the world around her. All these qualities make her loss seem all the more tragic. She left a void that could never be filled, that is, until someone buys a new family cat. Through his subtle use of several literary devices, Thomas Gray creates a humorous mock eulogy in his "Ode on the Death of a Favorite Cat, Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes." Superficially, Gray employs the praise and lament indicative of traditional, somber eulogies. Yet with his playful verse form, exotic and regal metaphors, and mythical allusions, he unveils a less serious perspective on mortality. Through this unconventional look at death, Gray argues that life has its difficulties, trials and tribulations, but he also holds that life's little subtleties can be amusing. Through this meticulously crafted and humorous account of Selima's loss, the poet comforts his friend in his time of grief. The cat may have died. It may have been both sad and disturbing at the time. Gray, however, emphasizes that the sadness should not completely overshadow the humor in a...

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