A Deeper Look into Auden’s Poetry

859 Words4 Pages
In two of Auden’s major works he uses the idea of absent-mindedness to express how humans can be self-centered, and tend to have a blind eye towards other peoples’ issues rather than their own. In “Musée des Beaux Arts”, Auden uses a painting by Pieter Brueghel called, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus as a setting for his poem, and uses the characters in the painting as proof that people can be very self-absorbed and unaware. Auden also portrays this same idea in his poem “Funeral Blues”, in which he expresses the feelings of losing a loved one of extreme importance. These feelings help the reader to relate to the magnitude of loss that death can bring, but also shows that people forget that the world around us keeps on turning regardless of their personal situation. In both of Auden’s works he expresses a theme of self-centeredness, and being unaware of others and the world around us. Auden does so by using the characters’ actions in the story as examples as well as the characters themselves. In “Musée des Beaux Arts” Auden writes about the fall of Icarus, and how the characters in the poem react to a boy who falls out of the sky. He begins by explaining that the “old Masters”, or Masters of Art, were never wrong about suffering (Line 1). He then describes mundane activities that could have been taking place during Icarus’ fall, “While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along” (Line 4). Auden continues to describe what the children may have been doing, and even the animals that pay no mind to what is happening. When Icarus falls out of the sky all of the characters ignore him. Some, Auden claims, may have even heard the cry and the splash in the water, but refused to even look in the direction it c... ... middle of paper ... ... end. People rarely remember that their issues are not the only issues, and that worse things could be happening elsewhere. Auden uses the narrator’s actions, words, and feelings to show that people can be absent-minded about the problems that others may be facing. In both “Funeral Blues” and “Musée des Beaux Arts” Auden expresses this idea of self-centeredness getting in the way of peoples’ lives by using the characters themselves as examples, and their reactions in the poems to exemplify how people can be self-absorbed. It is easy to forget that the world is much bigger than the few miles people see daily, and very few people can truly comprehend how big this world really is. Auden’s poems give an insight to becoming more aware about how big the world really is, and that there are more inhabitants than just the fraction of people that are seen in everyday lives.

More about A Deeper Look into Auden’s Poetry

Open Document