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Analysis of '' Upon an Honest Man's Fortune'' John Fletcher


Analysis of ''Upon an Honest Man’s Fortune'' by John Fletcher

 About the poet
 John Fletcher was born in 1579. He had his education at Cambridge University. Most of his poems were on religious themes.''Upon an Honest Man's Fortune'' examines the decline in the Christian faith in England in the early 17th century.  John Fletcher died in 1625.

   ''Upon an Honest Man's Fortune'' is about a man's life journey on earth and his honest walk towards perfection. The poet starts by mocking astrologers and spiritualists who claim to know more than the physical world,they pretend to see the workings of the supernatural. They are fortune tellers,conjurers,e.t.c. The poet  however doesn't believe in these antics and powers so he challenges them
                    ''Tell me,by all your art I conjure ye,
                      Yes and by truth,What shall become of me?
                      Find out my star,if each one as you say.''
        He believes that even if they use all the magical powers in their possessions they would find nothing. He chides them by asking them the following questions
                   ''Then say your worst!or have I have none at all?
                    Or is it burnt out lately?or did fall?
                    Or am I poor?not able,no full flame?
                   My star like me,unworthy of a name''
     He continue by saying that God alone decides the fate of man. He makes a biblical allusion to the great astrologers of Egypt and how God humbled them. Pharaoh in the bible had a bad dream but the best astrologers and soothsayers couldn't interpret the dream
                    ''He that made Egypt blind from whence you grew'''
 He calls on man to trust in the Lord and the power of his providence.He tells man not to be afraid and remember that he was made in the image of God
                 ''His spirit is,that built thee?What dull sense
                  Makes thee suspect,in need,that providence''
    He encourages man to put his trust in God ,he uses a number of metaphors to restate his views  that man is his own star and must not trust any external force apart from God and man's perfection comes from honest living.

       The poem is a rhyme verse. It contains two successive end rhymes popularly referred to as couplet. The long sequence of tells of Fletcher's  great mastery of aesthetics.

Diction- The language of the poem is simple,persuasive and symbolic. Fletcher persuades the reader to trust in God alone.

Figures of speech in ''Upon an Honest Man's Fortune''
1. Metaphor. line 32, line 37
2. Simile- '' my star like me,unworthy of a name''
3. Paradox- line 25
4.  Rhetorical questions- Or is it burnt out lately?or did fall?
                    Or am I poor?not able,no full flame?
                   My star like me,unworthy of a name'

Themes in ''Upon an Honest Man's Fortune''
1. God is supreme
2. Man is his own star
3. Trust in God and the power of his providence
4. Honesty

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