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Journey Of The Magi Analysis

Author: Poetry of T.S. Eliot Type: Poetry Views: 5516

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The Faber Book of Modern Verse'A cold coming we had of it,

Just the worst time of the year

For a journey, and such a journey:

The ways 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, theterraces,

And the silken girls bringing sherbet.Then the camel men cursing andgrumbling

And running away, and wanting theirliquor and women,And the night-fires going out, and thelack of shelters,And the cities hostile and the townsunfriendly

And the villages dirty and charging highprices:

A hard time we had of it.

At the end we preferred to travel allnight,

Sleeping in snatches,

With the voices singing in our ears,saying

That this was all folly.Then at dawn we came down to atemperate valley,

Wet, below the snow line, smelling ofvegetation;

With a running stream and a water-millbeating the darkness,

And three trees on the low sky,

And an old white horse galloped inaway in the meadow.

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

Six hands at an open door dicing forpieces of silver,

And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.

But there was no imformation, and sowe continued

And arrived at evening, not a momenttoo soon

Finding the place; it was (you may say)satisfactory.All this was a long time ago, Iremember,

And I would do it again, but set down

This set down

This:were we led all that way for

Birth or Death?There was a Birth,certainly,We had evidence and no doubt.I hadseen birth and death,

But had thought they were different;this Birth wasHard and bitter agony for us, likeDeath, our death.

We returned to our places, theseKingdoms,But no longer at ease here, in the olddispensation,

With an alien people clutching theirgods.

I should be glad of another death.


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

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Journey of the Magi Analysis
(It\'s not a complete analysis, since most of the focus is on the allusions)
In general, the poem alludes to the journey of the Magi in the Bible, found in Matthew 2:1-12. The poem and the actual story in the Bible are pretty different though.
In the beginning of the first stanza, there is the excerpt \"A cold coming we had....\" This is a bit of the Christmas sermon (with slight changes) given by Lancelot Andrewes, an Angelican bishop. This quote sets the scene for the rest of the stanza, giving the reader the images of cold, winter, and snow. Then it goes on to describe the camels in their misery, the camel men with their complaining, the towns being unfriendly, etc. Basically, it\'s an account of the hardships in the journey and the near regrets of taking the blasted trip. (Also, the description of the journey helps personalize the story)
The second stanza talks about their arrival to Bethlehem, and how they find it \"satisfactory\". (Satisfactory can allude to the fact that Jesus was born in a rather \"modest\" place: a stable, house, whatever) Or it can just mean that the Magi were super tired from their trip and didn\'t really care about how the place\'s condition was. The six hands are most likely the hands of the three Magi, scrambling to pay for information, meal, etc. (Prices are high, remember? Look at first stanza)
The third stanza is really packed. Basically, one of the wise men a.k.a. Eliot, is asking himself whether they/he witnessed Birth or Death. Or rather, what they were supposed to receive from that event. It was a birth, obviously, because Jesus was born, but it was also death because the three wise men were \"born again\". This is apparent when they return home and find that they don\'t feel \"right\" at home. \"With an alien people\" can refer to John 15:19 and Philippians 3:20. These two verses basically talk about Christians not being from this world and having citizenship in heaven. The last line, \"I should be glad of another death\" can have different meanings. One interpretation could be that Eliot is referring to Jesus\' death, aside from his own, or another rebirth (when someone converts to Christianity, they are \"reborn\"; the old man dies and the new man is born). Or it could refer to the death of religions when Jesus was born (\"Jesus is the way, the light, etc.) I would also like to mention that when people are \"reborn\" they usually quit doing all the things that are wrong (there is a long list in the Bible); \"The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,/And the silken girls bringing the sherbet\" isn\'t a sin, but the pleasures derived from them are questionable. And when I say \"pleasures\", I don\'t mean a warm, fuzzy feeling. So, all that can add to the Magi not feeling at ease in their Kingdoms. And I figure that \"people clutching their gods\" is self-explanatory.
Take note that T.S. Eliot was undergoing a conversion when he wrote this poem, so things may not be super clear. He was probably confused and had some doubts. This greatly explains insecurity and doubt that\'s in the third stanza: \"were we led all that way for Birth or Death?\" and \"I should be glad of another death\".

| Posted on 2011-11-15 | by a guest

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This is a lovely poem that has haunted me for many years. The poem is about awareness and rebirth, and the pain that often comes with learning and new awareness. The magus narrator is lamenting the spiritual awakening that the birth of Jesus brought upon him; his old life and luxuries and indulgences are lost to him forever and the old way of life is dead. He cannot continue with his old beliefs, and it is for this that he wishes for his own death. The birth of Jesus was for him a rupture between the old and the new, and once having known the new, he cannot stay with the old, either in his beliefs or habits.

| Posted on 2010-12-27 | by a guest

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Journey of the Magi uses great irony throughout. The old man is clearly confussed about the significance of the journey and also is unaware about the significance it has to the christain reader

| Posted on 2010-05-05 | by a guest

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I should be glad of another death. " my guess is this is equivalent to Lacan's 'real', the satisfaction of the 'lack', REALised through (his own) death.

freud thought christian anti-semitism stems not because jews killed jesus, but because jews gave them jesus - a kind of self-loathing, inverted hatred of themselves directed against jews, that their king himself could be jewish. manifesting in 2000 years of religious anti-semitism.
the 'it was, you could say, satisfactory' is about the latinate root of the word 'satis', meaning 'enough'; for what else can there be, beyond the physical inception of god on earth, not, i should add, the vaguely perjoric connotations of the word 'satisfactory' has nowadays; the world we live in is fast running out of superlatives, 'fantastic', 'superb', 'brilliant', 'excellent', 'phantasmagorical'...are these really synonyms? do we need them? are they nuanced? now other words, like 'satisfactory' are not glamorous enough to convey the wow-factor. satisfactory is satisfactory is goodenough.

| Posted on 2010-04-15 | by a guest

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i believe that the poem is an opion of what Eliot thought was going on in the world post- great war. He felt that there was no meaning in life or people until they reached death, because until they reached that point they wouldnt reach the perfection they reach for through out their life. I believe that Eliot thought that if even if you go through all those three stages you still wouldnt reach your ideal stae of perfection.

| Posted on 2010-04-14 | by a guest

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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, and somberly, one can only reach this place of utter satisfaction through death.

| Posted on 2010-02-21 | by a guest

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The poem shows the three stages of sacrement 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. Eliot does this, in my opinion, because after he converted to christianity in 1927, he found no enlightenment, he still felt the same. in journey of the magi, he is saying that the soul can never rest in satisfaction, whilst human you are continually confessing sins and feeling guilt. only when dead will you feel satisfacation and see enlightenment. it could be said that eliot didnt feel satisfied straight away on his spiritual journey, and he believed he would have to continually endeavour for satisfaction until death.

| Posted on 2010-01-28 | by a guest

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I trhink that we can found 2 interpretations abouth the poem, firts we can considerate it as a monologue where a man has to take a desicion, he is death in life, second it is based in the bible and it is divided into three stages contriction, confession and satisfation.

| Posted on 2009-10-04 | by a guest

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Ok the last verse is describing how the Three Kings are agonised by the Birth of Jesus because they have made this long, arduous journey to see the son of God, but come to the realisation that they won't ever live long enough to be enlightened by Jesus.
It is actually quite simple to analyse T.S. Eliot's poems as they do have deep meaning, you just have to avoid being a retard and calling T.S. Eliot your homeboy.

| Posted on 2009-09-21 | by a guest

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journey of the magi is based upon a biblical story told in Mathew,chap2,verses 1-12 magi is the plural from the classical word magus a wise men from the east travel to Bathelem to behold the baby jesus, that the three wise men from the east were kings is alater tradition the speaker in the poem is one of the magi or wise men remembering his journey in olg age the initial five lines are a quotation from a sermon preached by Bishop Lancelot Andrews on chrismas day 1622 . These lines build up a dispassionate rendering of the journey of the magi with the birth of the christ , bad weather during the dead of the winter and a difficult long journey contenue with reapeted later later also in the poem the camels refused to move on being injured THe magi sometimes regretted undertaking such a difficult journey . they left their warm homes for a freezing zone. the pleasure of thier palaces were replaced by trials and problems.the camel men also revolted in want of facilities for pleasure and comfort ..
Hostle towns, dirty village , costly inns made a hard time of it . passing thought doubt and anguish the magi also thought of it as there fully
THIS IS AN analysis of the first part of the poem
the student\
Mohammed abdullah Alwashaly
Yemen\ Thamar University

| Posted on 2008-11-03 | by a guest

.: journey of the magi :.

i think this is an analogue to The Hollow Men. In that poem, the hollow men simply exist, wishing to be saved but refusing to make the struggle which is neessary for redemption, dooming them to a meaningless existence. In Journey of the Magi, the magileave behind all of their "summer palaces", which are things that get in the way of faith, such as materialism, and embark on an uncomfortable and seemingly unfulfilling journey. "I should be glad of another death" represents the suffering of Jesus on the cross to redeem mankind's sins, and also that the rewards of faith are gained through struggle.

| Posted on 2008-04-12 | by a guest

.: Love...is Colorblind :.

I love black girls who write poetry, are science nerds, sew their own clothes, play tennis, and are obsessed with Happy Potter and the TwlightZone.

| Posted on 2008-02-11 | by a guest

.: T.S Eliot journey of the :.

t s elioit (my homeboy) lived from 1888 - 1965 and in his time was a fair player and certainly had his way with the female specimin at the time he was active (sexually. E dog's poem journey of the magi covers some deep and meaning full topics like christianity and jesus and what not. most of this deep and meaningful poetry is hard to understand and anyone who trys to work out what it is saying is basically having a stab in the dark. but i am sure that E dog didnt know what he was on about becasue of the booze and drugs E dog did. From this carefully deduced evidence it is clear that E dog was a fair poet and had some skills but it just dosnt make sense.

Temperate valley: Dean points out that the early morning descent into a
"temperate valley" evokes three significant Christian events: "The nativity and
all the attendant ideas of the dawning of a new era . . . the empty tomb of
Easter . . . as well the image of the Second Coming and the return of Christ
from the East, dispelling darkness as the Sun of Righteousness". Wohlpart adds
that the Magi's dawn arrival is "symbolic of the new life attained from their

| Posted on 2007-05-01 | by a guest

.: Αnalysis :.

The first stanza tells of them traveling. They are full of doubts and regret, and don't seem to know what they're looking for. The trip is not a comfortable one.
The second stanza tells of their arrival in Bethlehem. The two lines starting with 'Six hands....' are a foreshadowing of Christ's betrayal and crucifixion. Notice that he doesn't rejoice, but says it was 'satisfactory.'
In the third stanza, he says that he would do it all again, but that the birth of Christ led not only to Christ's death, but the death of the older religions.

| Posted on 2005-11-12 | by Approved Guest

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