free booknotes online

Help / FAQ




<- Previous Page | First Page | Next Page ->
MonkeyNotes-The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot
Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version

Part III has almost continuous shifts of scene from Buddha’s fine sermon set in ancient India or St. Augustine’s words in his "confessions" which recall the heady days of his youthful lusts in Carthage and ancient Rome. There are references also to Elizabethan London, to the Jews bewailing their exile in Babylon, to the song of the Rhine Maidens in Wagner’s famous opera cycle: Die Götterdammerung (or "The Twilight of the Gods"). There are also some sordid scenes of sexual encounters in Mrs. Porter’s bawdy-house in Cairo, or in a London flat between the bank clerk and steno typist and in the Metropole Hotel as suggested by Mr. Eugenides in his snide remarks.

Part IV speaks of the death of water of Phlebas, the Phoenician sailor, and bears a subtle allusion to the pagan ritual of drowning the fertility god, such as Adonis, in the sea at Alexandria. Part V has the whole backdrop of Christ’s last moments of life from the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane to his crucifixion on the hill of Golgotha and his later appearance to some of his disciples on the road to Emmaus. There are also references to the Chapel Perilous of the Holy Grail legend (both here and in Part III) and to the empty cistern in which John, the Baptist, was held captive by King Herod prior to his decapitation at Herodia’s behest. In the concluding lines, Eliot moves the setting to the river Ganges originating in the Himalayan mountain ranges.


Thus, the settings of The Waste Land are as complex as the ancient Labyrinth. However, the key image that Eliot seeks to present through these diverse locales is a bleak scene of utter sterility. Throughout the poem there are recurrent symbols of drought and dryness, decay and disintegration. The reader sees, in Eliot’s own words, "a heap of broken images" made up of dusty streets, dead trees, desert rocks, dry bones, rats scurrying in sewers, empty cisterns and exhausted wells. Eliot skillfully evokes the picture of a wasted world where universal symbols of life - such as earth, air, fire and water - prove both sustaining and destructive.

Eliot seeks thereby to recreate in his poem a truly compelling portrait of the drab life we lead in our dreary modern cities. People work and live their whole lives in a mechanical, almost robot-like fashion today. This is emphasized all through the poem. Besides, Eliot constantly links the present with the past, showing as how much more futile our existence is today. With the modern world being almost rendered a total waste - by human greed and materialism, by industrial pollution and ecological over exploitation. Eliot’s poem today gathers newer meanings far beyond the poet’s original intentions.

Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version


<- Previous Page | First Page | Next Page ->
MonkeyNotes-The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot
Google
Web
PinkMonkey

Google
  Web PinkMonkey.com   

All Contents Copyright © PinkMonkey.com
All rights reserved. Further Distribution Is Strictly Prohibited.


About Us
 | Advertising | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Home Page
This page was last updated: 5/9/2017 9:53:45 AM