Analysis Of Eliot's The Waste Land

Improved Essays
Eliot’s The Waste Land is often a confusing and difficult poem to understand. However, in terms of its style and content, it is clear that the poem speaks about the decay of the periods culture. The Waste Land is a eulogy to the decaying society of modern Europe post-World War One. Eliot’s use of fragmentation made him infamous in the literary world; and it is through this use of fragmentation that we the learned find it very daunting to appreciate. The poem consists of five sections, all of which have different meanings and themes at their centre; and fully detailed footnotes that justify Eliot’s reasons for using such themes. At the outset of The Waste Land we are met with an image of death, ‘April is the cruellest month, breathing/Lilacs …show more content…
Here we are face with ideas that love, beauty, and nature are all factors given to us by God. In The Waste Land, Eliot references this by asking us to appreciate what God has given us because it very easily vanishes from our lives. The main idea behind Tristan und Isolde is that love is what causes us all trouble in the first place even though death usually unites grievers. Through this, we are left with the message that we should celebrate death instead of love. Eliot uses it in The Waste Land with the idea of welcoming death. Through further reading of the poem, it is recognised that Eliot alludes to Charles Baudelaire’s Fluer de Mal (Flowers of Evil), by inserting the sentence ‘Unreal City’. Although Baudelaire is considering the landscape of Paris, Eliot uses this in reference to the bleakness and coldness of London City and Bridge and its nightmarish landscape post-World War One. ‘Mylae’ alludes to the naval battle between the Carthage and the Romans and Eliot uses it to highlight the events of the war in Europe. He illumines the idea that we as humanity have never changed and therefore, the manner of death shall never change …show more content…
There appears to be an emptiness to his idea of extravagance, whereby he references jewels, vials of ivory, and coloured glass. This style and form insinuates that these items are of an empty richness. Further on in the stanza Eliot renames ‘Mysterious Rag’ to ‘Shakespherian Rag’ to emphasize the death of traditional culture in modern Europe, and, we the readers are able to assume it is an allusion to Shakespeares The Tempest. Eliot may be referring to rising popularity of jazz music and dance in the way that The Tempest is plagued by merciless storms. It becomes obvious throughout the poem that possibly the lack of direction and purpose are the root causes of modern society’s madness, and this causes the poem to further plunge into the use of fragmentation. The following lines illustrate this perfectly: ‘the hot water at ten. / And if it rains, a closed car at four. / And we shall play a game of chess, / Pressing lidless eyes and waiting for a knock upon the door’. It is as if Eliot believes that peoples day to day lives are no longer planned out, but, their days now only consist of moments, hence, their lives also have a sense of

Related Documents

  • Superior Essays

    (HD 30-31)” The whole situation is burdened with a sense of ludicrousness and hopelessness. Against the vastness of the continent that represents the stronghold of Darkness, acts of conquest and resistance fall short. Such endeavours are full of “drollery” and sooner or later, nature will reclaim its dominion; it is simply a matter of time. Nietzsche's philosophical view of nihilism, with its presumption that everything is meaningless, filters through Heart of Darkness. The experience of nihilism is due to the devaluation of the highest values, as the novel throughout demonstrates a disproof of objective reality and in so, a real foundation for a moral purpose.…

    • 1380 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In the poem “Because I could stop not stop for death” by Emily Dickinson, the poem “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe, and the story “The Devil and Tom Walker” by Washington Irving, all use rhetorical strategies of English text to convey their views of death. There are many different interpretations of death, such as how death is a gentleman, or death is a form of fear, or death is a representation of the devil. Although the authors in Chapter Two talk about different subjects in their works, they all indirectly communicate views of death in Dark Romantic literature. In the first reading entitled “Because I could not stop for death” by Emily Dickinson, she stated that death is a kind gentleman. Dickinson uses the rhetorical strategies of imagery and…

    • 848 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Eliot 's fragmented poem juxtaposes polyphonic voices and allusions to literature as a means to isolate the contemporary audience and then, to force the reader into a sense of disorientation that Eliot believes mirrors the disorganized state of post-war Europe. In The Waste Land, Eliot intentionally places a difficult task upon the reader to find one stable speaker,…

    • 2009 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    The Waste Land Modernism

    • 1465 Words
    • 6 Pages

    In its five sections, he delves into themes of war, trauma, disillusionment, and death, illuminating the devastating effects of World War I. When it was first published, the poem was considered radically experimental. Eliot rejects traditional verse forms and instead juxtaposes images of popular culture with allusions to classical and ancient literature and myths. The title itself is indicative of Eliot’s attitude toward contemporary society, as he uses the idea of a sterile wasteland as a metaphor for a Europe devastated by war and desperate for a spiritual and cultural replenishment. The poem is deliberately obscure and fragmentary, incorporating variant voices, multiple points of view, and abrupt shifts in context.…

    • 1465 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Before the realization of the irony, things are definitely not what they appear. The irony creates the poems to be astonishing and the descriptions are complete which reinforces the poems. Auden and Owen’s poems have an ironic portrayal in the title and in the poem. Owen’s poem “Dulce et Decorum est” is ironic for stating how sweet it is to die for one’s country but later on it reveals that it’s rather harsh to die for one’s country. Likewise, “The Unknown Citizen” by Auden contains an irony in its title.…

    • 1496 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    “What is the city over the mountains/Cracks and reforms and bursts in the violet air/Falling towers/Jerusalem Athens Alexandria/Vienna London/Unreal.” Images such as this are prominent throughout T.S. Eliot’s poem, The Waste Land. These images depict, quite literally, the wasteland that society has become, and displays the fear that the author has for the future. Images of wastelands-desolation, isolation, destruction, ruin, the fall of nature- are dominate theme within modernist literature and can be found in novels such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. This depiction of Western Civilization greatly contrasts that of the pre-war era of literature, which focuses heavily on the beauty and simplicity of nature, which is a salient theme…

    • 1837 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Essay On Gothic Literature

    • 1167 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Gothic novels often accommodate a character that has foreboding visions and hallucinations. After Dorian Gray fainted, “a thrill of terror ran through him when he remembered that, pressed against the window of the conservatory, like a white handkerchief, he had seen the face of James Vane watching him.” (Wilde 204). Wilde uses the element of hallucinations to accentuate the Gothic genre of the novel. Wilde continues to demonstrate the Gothic aura through spine-chilling language. When Dorian visits an opium den, “a cold rain begins to fall, and the blurred street-lamps look ghastly in the dripping mist… From some of the bars comes the sound of a horrible laughter.…

    • 1167 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    This event served two functions: to provide Carton the change in fate to sacrifice himself for Lucie’s loved one, and “otherwise restored” (364) Dr. Manette from his fixation of cobbling shoes. Secondly, Darnay was concerned for the state of Gabelle and felt compelled to rescue him after he received his letter asking for Marquis St. Evrémonde’s presence in France. Dickens states that “...the winds and streams had driven him [Darnay] within the influence of the Loadstone Rock, and it was drawing him to itself [Paris], and he must go” (234). Darnay’s attachment to France was finally diminished after Carton fulfilled his fate of sacrificing himself. Only after this tragedy did Darnay permanently settle in England.…

    • 1324 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Great Essays

    Chiara Dituri Final paper The modern literature “To the Light House” by Virginia Woolf and “The Waste Land” by T.S Eliot directly correlates the perspective of World War I and its effect on both life and death. Both authors use stream of consciousness as a way to show multiple perspectives on thoughts of confusion, trauma and chaos that World War I has impacted on many lives. The loss of loved once during war times, is a painful experience that can bring on psychological and painful events throughout someone’s entire life. In To the Lighthouse death blind sides the characters to the true facts of life. Even if you know someone is dying, it is painful and difficult to deal with.…

    • 1727 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Auden combines these to remind the reader of the extent in which humanity can fall victim to the cruelty of religious intolerance and prejudice. An amalgamation of death, tragedy, and lack of freedom, “Refugee Blues” is a powerful poem which reminds one of the inequality and stereotypical nature of human society, encapsulating the brutality of Hitler’s regime and its effect upon the world. Using linguistic techniques to embellish the plight and suffering of the refugees in their new-found ‘home’, W.H Auden leads the reader to question the degree in which humanity promotes equality and personal identity, if at…

    • 740 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays