Critical Analysis Of W. H. Auden's Funeral Blues

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In his poem “Funeral Blues,” W.H. Auden depicts a grieving speaker who, at the loss of the speaker’s most beloved person, demands that the world around the speaker change to match the intense feeling of grief being felt. In the very first stanza, the speaker calls for respectful silence that represents his inner struggle at the loss of his love (“Overview”). Not only does the speaker call for the silence of the phone and dogs, but even time must be stopped for the sad occasion ("Funeral"). Only the gloomy sound of a “muffled drum” is welcomed by the speaker for the funeral to begin (‘Overview”). In lines 5-8, the speaker calls for a more public display of mourning from all those in the town ("Funeral"). Other than the sound of drums, airplanes…show more content…
After witnessing the scene around him, the speaker uses lines 9-12 of the poem to describe the relationship that was shared with the deceased. The deceased was the speaker’s every direction and every waking moment. Even the pattern of speech down to the speaker’s very mood was influenced by the lost love; however , in line 12, the speaker realizes that the love that was supposed to “last forever” is over. This line leads into the final lines that describe objects of affection that the speaker now find worthless due to lost love. The stars, moon and the sun have all lost their beauty, so they must all go away to match the speaker’s emotional standpoint. Feeling that love will never be recovered, the speaker ends by saying “nothing now can ever come to any good” (“Overview”). The entire poem is about totality of love and the effects of death…show more content…
As he grew up, Auden was very interested in science and technology; however, at 15, he decided to become a poet, but he still retained his love of science. As a poet, Auden often rewrote his poems. This is why so many versions of his poems can be found. “Funeral Blues” was written in what is considered Auden’s second phase of poetry. This phase is characterized by its focus on politics . During this time, he moved to America with his long time friend, Christopher Isherwood, nine months before the outbreak of WWII (Persoon). “Funeral Blues” first debuted as a song in the 1936 play, The Ascent of F6, written with Christopher Isherwood, but it was then known by its first line, “Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone” (“Overview”). Unlike the poem version of “Funeral Blues,” the last three stanzas are different. These stanzas, instead, describe characters in the play. Used in the play, “Funeral Blues” is used ironically to describe important men who were considered the “saviors of mankind” (Persoon). Auden then changed the stanzas for another song version that was set to music by Benjamin Britten and sung by Hedli Anderson (“Overview”). Then, in the 1993 film, Four Weddings and a Funeral, the poem was used as a eulogy for a gay character in the movie who lets “Auden speak for him about the loss of a lover” (Stade). After its success in the film, a collection of Auden’s verse and cabaret songs from the 1930’s were

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