Shield Of Achillies

17436 words, 70 pages

Intro Sample...

Poetry Explication:"The Shield of Achilles”
“The Shield of Achilles” belongs to W.H.Auden’s collection The Shield of Achilles published in 1955. The classical myth of Achilles is employed by Auden to exemplify the contrast between the valiant past and unheroic present. The myth of the past is juxtaposed with the reality of the present.
Theme of the Poem
The poem is thematically quite similar to Eliot’s “Wasteland” in its depiction of a world devoid of principles and ethics that in its march for success has lost the true meaning of life as echoed in phrases like “an unintelligible multitude”, ”column by column in a cloud of dust”. etc. The Homeric myth is rendered into an allegory of the contemporary times. A... View More »

Body Sample...

The line: “No one was cheered and nothing was discussed,” echoes Tennyson’s “The Charge of the Light Brigade”:
Their’s not to make a reply
Their’s not to reason why,
Their’s but to do and die.
Thetis searched the shield for scenes of Greek life (as depicted on Keats’ Grecian urn). The phrase ’white flower garlanded heifer” echoes the same. The term ‘ritual pities’ also reflects the same. The ‘libation’ refers to the pouring forth of wine in honor of a God.
In the flickering forge light in the dim light of the blacksmith’s workshop, she observes yet another scene. The scene is of a concentration camp where prisoners of war are kept. Officers cracked jokes to while away their time. The enemy soldiers amidst such callousness are captured and tied to three stakes and killed. The irreverence of the picture is a reminder to the crucifixion of Christ filled with overwhelming reverence. The modern society with the loss of religious conviction is juxtaposed against an act that is emblematic of the redemption of mankind. The image depicted here is a travesty of Christ’s ordeal. The claustrophobia of confinement and enslavement is referred to in the line: “Barbed wire enclosed an arbitrary spot.”
The people of the world are cheated by the so-called commander into the logic of their reason. Little did the common people comprehend that though they were small in comparison, nothing could be done without their acceptance. They could not hope for help, and therefore, no help came. Nevertheless, redemption lay in their own hands. They die before their bodies as their self-respect is ...

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