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The Journey of the Magi Analysis



Author: Poetry of Thomas Stearns Eliot Type: Poetry Views: 1518

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"A cold coming we had of it,

Just the worst time of the year

For a journey, and such a long journey:

The was deep and the weather sharp,

The very dead of winter."

And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,

Lying down in the melting snow.

There were times we regretted

The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,

And the silken girls bringing sherbet.

Then the camel men cursing and grumbling

And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,

And the night-fires gong out, and the lack of shelters,

And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly

And the villages dirty, and charging high prices.:

A hard time we had of it.

At the end we preferred to travel all night,

Sleeping in snatches,

With the voices singing in our ears, saying

That this was all folly.



Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,

Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;

With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,

And three trees on the low sky,

And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.

Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,

Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,

And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.

But there was no information, and so we continued

And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon

Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.



All this was a long time ago, I remember,

And I would do it again, but set down

This set down

This: were we lead all that way for

Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,

We had evidence and no doubt. I have seen birth and death,

But had thought they were different; this Birth was

Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.

We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,

But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,

With an alien people clutching their gods.

I should be glad of another death.





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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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We can find two interpretations about the poem. First, we can consider it as a monologue where a man has to take a decision, he is death in life. Second, it is based in the bible and the poem shows the three stages of sacrament of penance, contrition, confession, and satisfaction. When a Christian have sinned, they should feel guilty, confess to God, and then they will be satisfied.
However Eliot does not show it in this order, he shows the guild to their sinful life of women and alcohol, then he shows satisfaction with a change of tone, and then confession.
In journey of the magi, he is saying that the soul can never rest in satisfaction, while human is continually confessing sins and feeling guilt. Only when dead will you feel satisfaction and see enlightenment.
Elliot also emphasizes the speakerís doubt over the death and rebirth in the poem, which suggests both that he indeed wants another death in order to bring about spiritual renewal and that he ought to be happy with another death, but is not certain that he would be happy after his experience with the first death. To conclude, the poem Journey of the Magi touches on the journey of human spirit and their endeavor for perfection. It delivers a message that we are all involved in the process of perfection of self one can only reach this place of utter satisfaction through death.
-kimdedz-NDMU

| Posted on 2010-03-08 | by a guest




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