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Cleanth Brooks T he bundle of quotations with which the poem ends has a very definite relation to the general theme of the poem and to several of the major symbols used in the poem.
Before Arnaut leaps back into the refining fire of Purgatory with joy he says: Now I pray you by that virtue which guides you to the summit of the stair, at times be mindful of my pain. Eliot's note on the passage indicates this clearly. The sister of Philomela was changed into a swallow as Philomela was changed into a nightingale.
The protagonist is asking therefore when shall the spring, the time of love, return, but also when will he be reborn out of his sufferings, and--with the special meaning which the symbol takes on from the preceding Dante quotation and from the earlier contexts already discussed--he is asking what is asked at the end of one of the minor poems: The ruined tower is perhaps also the Perilous Chapel, "only the wind's home," and it is also the whole tradition in decay.
The protagonist resolves to claim his tradition and rehabilitate it. Hieronymo's mad againe"--is perhaps the most puzzling of all these quotations.
It means, I believe, this: The protagonist's acceptance of what is in reality the deepest truth will seem to the present world mere madness. The protagonist is conscious of the interpretation which will be placed on the words which follow--words which will seem to many apparently meaningless babble, but which contain the oldest and most permanent truth of the race: Quotation of the whole context from which the line is taken confirms this interpretation.
Hieronymo, asked to write a play for the court's entertainment, replies: Why then, I'll fit you; say no more.
When I was young, I gave my mind And plied myself to fruitless poetry; Which though it profit the professor naught Yet it is passing pleasing to the world.
He sees that the play will give him the opportunity he has been seeking to avenge his son's murder.
Like Hieronymo, the protagonist in the poem has found his theme; what he is about to perform is not "fruitless. Shantih Shantih Shantih The foregoing account of The Waste Land is, of course, not to be substituted for the poem itself. Moreover, it certainly is not to be considered as representing the method by which the poem was composed.
Much which the prose expositor must represent as though it had been consciously contrived obviously was arrived at unconsciously and concretely. The account given above is a statement merely of the "prose meaning," and bears the same relation to the poem as does the "prose meaning" of any other poem.
But one need not perhaps apologize for setting forth such a statement explicitly, for The Waste Land has been almost consistently misinterpreted since its first publication.
Even a critic so acute as Edmund Wilson has seen the poem as essentially a statement of despair and disillusionment, and his account sums up the stock interpretation of the poem. It is such a misrepresentation of The Waste Land as this which allows Eda Lou Walton to entitle an essay on contemporary poetry, "Death in the Desert"; or which causes Waldo Frank to misconceive of Eliot's whole position and personality.
But more than the meaning of one poem is at stake. If The Waste Land is not a world-weary cry of despair or a sighing after the vanished glories of the past, then not only the popular interpretation of the poem will have to be altered but also the general interpretations of post-War poetry which begin with such a misinterpretation as a premise.
Such misinterpretations involve also misconceptions of Ellot's technique. Eliot's basic method may be said to have passed relatively unnoticed. The popular view of the method used in The Waste Land may be described as follows: Eliot makes use of ironic contrasts between the glorious past and the sordid present--the crashing irony of But at my back from time to time I hear The sound of horns and motors, which shall bring Sweeney to Mrs.
Porter in the spring.The Wasteland Critical Essays by Ben and Ollie The Walking Dead The City in the Wasteland by Robert Langbaum - "buried life manifests itself through the unconscious memory of figures from the past". SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics.
This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot. Widely considered to be one of the most significant poems [ ]. The Waste Land is a long poem by T.
S. Eliot, widely regarded as one of the most important poems of the 20th century and a central work of modernist poetry.   Published in , the line [B] poem first appeared in the United Kingdom in the October issue of Eliot's The Criterion and in the United States in the November issue of The Dial.
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Waste Land Essay: Superficiality in The Waste Land - Superficiality in The Waste Land The Waste Land is concerned with the 'disillusionment of a generation'. The poem was written in the early 's, a time of abject poverty, heightening unemployment and much devastation unresolved from .
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