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MonkeyNotes-The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot
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Part IV is the shortest of the five parts. "Death by Water" describes how the body of the drowned Phoenician merchant sailor slowly decomposes after he is drowned at sea. He seems to have been concerned only with material prosperity in life - "the profit and the loss." At the end of his life, he has apparently achieved nothing. This brief lyric suggests ironically that water can be a destructive force as it brings death by drowning. This suggestion is extended into the next part of the poem where the absence of the life-giving force of water causes man to suffer both physical dehydration and a spiritual drought.


The final part, " What the thunder Said," talks of the decay and emptiness of modern life, which is utterly lacking in spirituality. Part V begins with a graphic account of Christís betrayal, trial and death on the cross, his journey to Emmaus after his resurrection and his redemption of the fallen woman, Mary Magdalene. The character of Moses, the water diviner and Old Testament prophet is presented wandering across the realms of a bleak and barren modern waste land. There is also a description of the Quester Knightís grueling journey to the empty Chapel (where once the Holy Grail was secretly enshrined). In the closing lines of the poem, the arrival of the redemptive rain is heard in the thunderous voice of Prajapati, the supreme God of the Hindu pantheon. His words of advice to his disciples the Devas (gods), the Asuras (Evil spirits) and the Manusyas (humans) are to give, sympathize and control (respectively). In the end, Eliot proclaims a message of : "Shantih! Shantih, Shantih!" i.e. the divine peace that surpasses all human understanding.

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MonkeyNotes-The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot
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