The Waste Land: Allusions

analytical Essay
1328 words
1328 words

T.S Eliot’s poem, The Waste Land, is written in the mood of society after World War I. By using these allusions, The Waste Land reflects on mythical, historical, and literary events. The poem displays the deep disillusionment felt during this time period. In the after math of the great war, in an industrialized society that lacks the traditional structure of authority and belief, in the soil that may not be conductive to new growth (Lewis). Eliot used various allusions that connected to the time period and the effect of the war on society in his poem. Aided by Eliot’s own notes and comments, scholars have been able to identify allusions to: the Book of Common Prayer, Geoffrey Chaucer, Charles-Louis Philippe, James Thomas, Guillaume Appollinaire, Countess Marie Larsich, Wyndham Lewis, nine books of the Bible, John Donne, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Richard Wagner, Sappho, Catullus, Lord Byron, Joseph Campbell, Aldous Huxley, J.G. Frazer, Jessie L. Weston, W.B. Yeats, Shakespeare, Walter Pater, Charles Baudelair, Dente, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, and John Webster—all within the first section of 72 lines, about one allusion every two lines (Lewis). Using various allusions, Eliot was able to connect to the fact that he lived in a modern day waste land as a result of the destruction caused by World War I. Eliot used the allusions to show that death brings new beginnings and change, and love still flourishes.
The first line of the poem, “April is the cruelest month, breeding,” is an allusion to Geoffrey Chaucer’s poem, Canterbury Tales. Chaucer’s poem also begins with a statement about April; referring to Aprils “sweet showers.” In the month of April it rains causing flowers t bloom in the month of May. This can be connected to reproduction or...

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...ies that there is no sign of life insight. The cock is only surrounded by barrenness and death, the cock is in a way signing off the fallen. The biblical reference of the cock comes from the section Matthew in the bible. This is about the day Jesus was crucified, a cock crowed as he was denied by one of his disciples.
Overall Eliot’s allusions used in his poem The Waste Land all had purpose and related to something deeper. Wither it is love or the creation of life Eliot was able to make several connection to the reader and other writings. Eliot wrote his poem to announce to the world the devastation of the First World War. Eliot made references to biblical, mythical or and other forms of literary. Eliot used them to his advantage to show the social break down of the US after WWI. The Waste Land is truly a testament to T.S. Eliot and his modernistic style of writing.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how t.s eliot's poem, the waste land, is written in the mood of society after world war i.
  • Analyzes how eliot connects breeding with the cycle of death and rebirth seen in lines 1-7. mid-april is the time when lilacs begin to bloom.
  • Analyzes how eliot alludes to abraham lincoln’s assassination several times in the poem.
  • Analyzes how eliot emphasizes the role of death and decay in the process of growth, and the conversation between two war veterans who meet near london bridge after the war.
  • Analyzes how eliot alludes to death transforming into something great in shakespeare's tempest 1.2.398.
  • Analyzes how eliot takes this line directly out of webster's play, the white devil. in act 5 scene 4, it says, "not dog, but wolf; not hence but fence; faminio kills marcell.
  • Analyzes how eliot uses tiresias to reflect upon the typist and her lover in the waste land: the fire sermon.
  • Analyzes how tiresias becomes an observer of all life around him. he witnesses all of the conflict between the characters.
  • Analyzes how tiresias seems to be playing the role of god as he observes the two lovers and the life around them.
  • Analyzes how eliot uses the greek myth of philomela, a princess, to relate to the ill-hearted romance of cleopatra.
  • Analyzes how eliot uses the greek myth of sibyl to allude to the dying earth in the waste land.
  • Analyzes how eliot uses the crowing cock in part 5 of the waste land as an allusion to the dead and the departure of ghost.
  • Analyzes how eliot's allusions in his poem the waste land had purpose and related to something deeper. the poem was written to announce the devastation of the first world war.
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