Disillusionment by Faiz Ahmed Faiz: Summary and Analysis
Read below our complete notes on the poem “Disillusionment” by Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Our notes cover the background, summary, themes, and analysis of this poem.
Disillusionment: The Poem
has now been squeezed bone-dry
Even the most intrepid eagle
the sky’s ultimate barrier.
All the stars have been lassoed
one by one
and the moon-goddess
strangled to death
by an unrepentant Othello.
No dewdrop of grace
trembles on the eye’s periphery-
no diaphanous dream
soothes the heart.
Those ravishing lips are gone-
free hearts and illuminated minds
you will moulder in your grave
and I in mine.
There is no antidote
to death’s scorpion sting.
The poem disillusionment is about the biggest reality of life- death. The poet wants the readers to face death as no one can escape this ultimate reality. Death is a reality which can never be delayed nor postponed by anyone. Every mortal thing has to taste death; except God, everything is mortal. The poet makes the readers understand the reality that everything has been given certain limits and nothing can go beyond its given limits; with every possible effort and struggle these boundaries can never be trespassed and death is one of the boundaries given to all the creatures of this universe.
In the first three lines of the poem, the poet tells about the efforts done as barrier in the way of death to postpone it or delay but not a single got success. He tells that all the efforts and struggles are now fading and they are losing strength because this is a reality that nothing can undo this death. He is of the view that now endeavors are squeezing up which means winding up as they have realized that cannot do anything in the face of death.
Line 4-6 states the poet`s point of view about the boundaries given to every living being. He says that the strongest of the birds cannot go beyond its allotted space in the air due to the non-access area because it is controlled by God-the ultimate authority. Similarly, no living creature can undo the effect of the death as it is something out of its reach. As all the living creatures have no authority to come back after seeing that uncovered region of death unless God wishes, similarly, no one can go to the region of death with its struggle neither someone can make the death go away. When it is your time to taste, you will taste it.
In the next five lines, the poet gives the Allusion of Desdemona and Othello- Shakespearean characters. He compares death to Othello. The poets says that the unrepentant Othello- the god of sky, according to Greek Mythology, put Desdemona to death without any sort of repentance. Similarly, when something is to die, this death comes as brutal and cruel Othello and does not listen to the sighs or cries of people. He says that this death will one by one catch all the start in its grip and the moon which is the symbol of beauty will also be given an end. By giving the reference of Othello, the poet wants to clarify this to its reader to put down all the efforts against death it is something destined for every living being.
In lines 12-15, the poet shows his grief that nothing can lessen the pain and agony of death. If someone wants to have hope that he will escape so it is fancy because no hope can give a ray of calm. The poet says when the death hour is about to come so nothing can soothe the one who is to face the death. The author tells us that death has its somber environment and nothing can make this somber reduce or lessen. Faiz Ahmad Faiz is usually is the poet of hope who gives hope but here in this stanza he gives extreme pessimistic notion that death when it comes so it vanishes away all the rays of hope and bliss.
In the next three lines, the poet tells that those who considered themselves strong and immortal could not even stand in the face of death and they have become dust particles by the iron hand of death. He gives indirect references to free hearts which means those who considered themselves having free and independent hearts and they could not be grasped by any means. The reference is also towards those scholarly academics who were the people of wisdom and had the cure of almost everything but not death. All the scholars crumbled at the threshold of death.
In lines 19-23, the poet addresses his beloved or the readers that you will be resting and your grave and someday I, too, will be resting in my grave because there is no escape from the sting of death. As it is common that the poets and the men of arts do build their escape world of imagination in order to run away from the harsh and bitter realities of life but on this occasion Faiz Ahmad Faiz accepts that he is unable to run away from the clutch of the death so he preaches his reader to accept the reality and do your work for the coming death.
Death is the major theme of this poem. The poet talks about the death which is to be tasted by every living being and there is no escape from death; he even talks about all those who raised voice to challenge the authority of death but they could not do anything and crumbled at the door of death. The poet inculcates the idea that everyone has to taste death as Allah Almighty says in Quran;
“Every soul shall taste death” (al-Imran 3:185)
Fate and destiny is another theme of this poem. The poet clarifies this thing that no living creature can go beyond the destiny and will get whatever is destined for them. He wants to say that everything is written in fate and humans with all efforts cannot undo it. Death is also written in every individual`s fate and so there is no escape from it. As Allah says in Quran;
“Every affliction that falls on the earth or yourselves, already exists in a Book before it is brought into being by us. No doubt that is easy for Allah to accomplish”. (Surah al-Hadid,57:22)
“They said: Do we have any say in the matter? Muhammad, tell them: All matters belong to Allah. They try to bide within themselves what they do not reveal to you, saying: Had we had the matter in our hands, we would not have been slain there. Say: Even though you had been in your houses, those appointed to be slain would have been slain by your sworn enemies while you were in your beds”. (Surah Ale Imran, 3:154)
- The title of the poem gives a very brief idea of what the poem is all about. The poet wants to tell that he is going to perish away all the illusions and he is going to disillusion the mankind because he talks about the ultimate reality of life.
- The poem sheds light on the Islamic concept of Fate. Islam says that everything including death is written in fate book and nobody can get or achieve anything more than what is written. Similarly, death is something predestined and no human can change it with any effort. As God says in Quran;
“We hold the store of everything and we send it down in an appointed measure”. (Surah al-Hijri, 15:21)
- The poem has a very didactic note as well as it tell every living creature that he/she is going to face death so it is very better to mend the ways and do good in life.
- The poet has used allusion of Othello in the poem. Allusion is a figure of speech, in which one refers covertly or indirectly to an object or circumstance from an external context. It is left to the audience to make the connection.
- The poet has also used metonymy in line 16 when he says ‘ravishing lips are gone’ which means human beings. Metonymy is a figure of speech in which the name of an object or concept is replaced with a word closely related to or suggested by the original, as “crown” to mean “king.”
- In line number 10, the poet has used metaphor ‘moon-goddess’ for life.