Essay on A Surprising Read and Analysis of Brueghel’s Two Monkeys

1235 Words Mar 4th, 2012 5 Pages
The Monkey’s Uncle:
A Surprising Read and Analysis of Brueghel’s Two Monkeys”

Szymborska’s poem, “Brueghel’s Two Monkeys,” starts in an odd way. The reader is thrust straight into the scene of an exam, which at first seems all too familiar. However, Szymborska surprises the reader when the voice says what she dreams about as she takes the final exam, “two monkeys, chained to the floor.” This is a very odd image and one that is not easily identifiable to the reader initially. The poem contains two meanings, first in the context of the 1956 workers' riots and student demonstrations that led to the crisis and compromise of October where Poland was taken over by Stalin. These events provide a context for the reading of the poem as a
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None of these words have an especially positive connotation and lend to the tone of the poem. The tone in this case is ironic, with a special emphasis on being acerbic, sharp and bitter that she and all of us are failing this test.
There seems to be no order in the first two stanzas’, the end rhyme is nonsensical (however there is some consonant rhyme with “exams” and “flutters”) and the words flow in free verse. However, the final stanza seems to provide a sense that order is in fact achieved; it possesses an abbca end rhyme scheme and comes to an interesting end. The first line is written in pentameter, to draw back upon the form of the first stanza to help bring together and incorporate this stanza. The next line has only a dimeter, which ties in the second stanza and then the similarities die there. The final three lines have the following meter, tetrameter, trimeter and then the last line is finally dimeter. This brings the poem to its fruition and it seems to be a very interesting choice for Szymborska to incorporate a meter that culminates in seemingly the simplest form. It is as almost as if to say that, “the simplest things are often the truest,” a quote from Richard Bach. The poet summons image of the painting of the monkeys and their personification as an analogue, to reinforce as well as distance her own allegorical point. There is a sharp contrast in this final stanza between the entrapment and freedom that goes back to the main

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