Waste Land Essay: Spiritual Decay

Waste Land Essay: Spiritual Decay

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Spiritual Decay in The Waste Land

 
  In The Waste Land, T.S. Eliot develops his theme of sterility and decay in the post-World War I man by focusing on the aspect of "religious dearth or superficiality reflected in despintualized love" (Pinion). For Eliot, man's inability to find real love or to move beyond superficial sexual gratification is congruous to the spiritual decay of his soul.

     In the first part of the poem, "The Burial of the Dead'~ Eliot's allusions to two love stories amidst a backdrop of "stony rubbish" and "broken images" illustrates his view of love as something that has lost its ability to blossom in the infertility of modem society (20,22). Eliot alludes to the story of Tristan, a young sailor, who leaves his lover, Isolde, behind when he sails for home. As he lies dying, he waits for the arrival of her ship, but the sea that is to bring her remains empty and desolate. This shows how human longing in love is fr...


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...erating his hope for the regeneration or rebirth of the human spirit (424-425).

 

Works Cited and Consulted

Pinion, F.B., A T.S. Eliot Companion: Life and Works, The Macmillan Press (1986)

Southam, B.C., A Guide to the Selected Poems of T.S. Eliot, Harcourt Brace & Company

Shashane, VA "Reflections on the Waste Land", Studies on IS Eliot Ed. A.N. Dwivedi; US Bahri Publishers (1989)

Raffel, Burton IS Eliot Frederick Ungar Publising Co., Inc. (1982)

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