A Comparison Of T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land

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“The Waste Land” is a wonderfully complex work by T.S. Eliot. In this work Eliot illuminates ideas in “The Waste Land” by comparing and contrasting events happening there to events that have happened in the past. One of the myths we see echoed throughout the story as a reoccurring, central theme to the work is the myth of Philomela. Eliot depicts an image of human stagnation in his work, which can be compared to the unfruitfulness that comes from the rape Philomela story and the loveless central marriage between Procne and the King. The central difference between the two stories is that in Philomela’s version the Gods have the finial answer and are able to create something new unlike in Eliot’s world where God is dead. Eliot first introduces …show more content…
In Eliot’s “The Waste Land” there are no fruitful or happy marriages. Similarly Queen Procne and King Tereus’s have a fruitless marriage because there is no love or connection between the two. Likewise Philomela is raped and does not become pregnant this is another example of unfruitfulness in the Philomela story. In the Philomela story the marriage between Procne and Tereus is an unhappy one because it was never blessed by the wedding Gods; Juno, Hymenaeus, and the Graces do not attend the wedding. All of the marriages in “The Waste Land” are characterized by this same fruitlessness since God has not blessed them, because he does not exist. In “The Waste Land” Eliot next introduces us to a lower class woman, we can tell by how she speaks, who is talking to her friend Lil. Lil has recently had an abortion, which has made her look terrible. The woman is talking about how Lil will lose her husband is she doesn’t soon do something about her appearance. She explains that they have no money and this is why she had to abort her last child. This story told by Eliot in the wasteland echo’s the themes in the myth about Philomela. In the myth when Queen Procne finds out about her husbands infidelity she kills their child. This can be interpreted as how reproduction is meaningless in a society where sex and love are not valued because they are seen as natural processes not divine ones anymore. Similarly Procne saw her son as a part of nature and not in a divine way because she no longer valued his father or never did because the relationship did not have the approval of the Gods. This is the overarching theme for all of the relationships we see in “The Waste Land” are doom because God governs marriage and there is no God in this society. Eliot shows us that there is not God though the relationships lack of

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