Poem ‘The Last Bargain’ Poetic Devices

Poem ‘The Last Bargain’ is a poem by Rabindranath Tagore. Here you will find the major poetic devices used in the poem ‘The last Bargain’. The narrator himself narrates the poem – While walking on a stone path, the narrator encounters a king in a chariot holding a sword who attempts to hire him with his power, but the narrator declines. Later, an old man with great wealth and gold also tries to hire the narrator, but he refuses the offer. A fair maid tries to employ the narrator with a smile, but ends up crying and returning alone into the darkness.

Ultimately, an innocent child playing with shells asks for the narrator’s name and offers to hire him with nothing. This simple act of kindness results in a bargain between them, and the narrator feels free and liberated.

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Poetic Devices Used in the Poem ‘The Last Bargain’

Apostrophe: The poetic device of apostrophe is used when the speaker addresses an absent or imaginary person or an abstract concept. In the first stanza, the speaker addresses potential employers when he cries out, “Come and hire me.”

Imagery: The use of vivid language to create mental images in the reader’s mind.

For example, “stone-paved road,” “King came in his chariot,” “went away in his chariot,” creates a visual image of the scene.

In the second stanza, the use of sensory imagery helps to convey the oppressive heat of the midday sun as the houses stand “with shut doors.”

Symbolism: Symbolism is the use of symbols to represent an idea or concept.

The sword in the King’s hand symbolizes power, and the old man’s bag of gold symbolizes wealth. The fair maid’s smile symbolizes pleasure, and the child’s shells represent innocence and playfulness.

In the third stanza, the fair maid’s smile is a also symbol of her promise to hire the speaker. Her smile pales and melts into tears, symbolizing her inability to keep her promise.

Alliteration: the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words

“The sun glistened on the sand, and the sea waves broke waywardly”, “made me a free man”

Repetition: The repetition of the phrase “I will hire you” throughout the stanzas, emphasizes the speaker’s desire for employment and his willingness to work.

Metaphor: A metaphor is a comparison between two things that are not alike, without using the words “like” or “as.”

The fair maid’s smile “paled and melted into tears” is a metaphor for her change of emotion from happiness to sadness.

In the final stanza, the child’s statement that he hires the speaker “with nothing” is a metaphor for the speaker’s newfound freedom. The speaker is not bound by the expectations or obligations that come with being hired for money or power.

Personification: The sea waves are personified by the use of the word “waywardly,” giving them human-like qualities.

Allusion: The line “That bargain struck in child’s play” alludes to the idea that life is like a game, and the speaker has finally found the key to freedom.

Irony: The contrast between the King’s power and his inability to hire the speaker emphasizes the speaker’s rejection of the traditional sources of power and status.

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