Analysis of T.S Eliot's Burial of the Dead

  • Submitted by: joshuawe
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  • Category: English
  • Date Submitted: 03/07/2010 12:27 PM
  • Pages: 15

Analysis of T.S Eliot's Burial of the Dead

T.S Eliot, Wasteland: The Burial of the Dead
T.S Eliot lived in the United States while earning a Master’s degree in philosophy at Harvard University; he then stayed in Paris for a year until he returned to Harvard to pursue his doctorate in philosophy; until he settled in England in 1914 where he began to write much of his poetry. He also lived in England during the First World War, which is what The Wasteland is based upon. The Wasteland shares the themes of death and hopelessness like his other work, Hollow Men, but it focuses rather on the civilizations destroyed by WW1 than the people of these civilizations who were the hollow men.   T.S Eliot continued his prestigious literary career by writing a lot more depressing poems, and a few not so depressing ones once he converted to Christianity.   He went on to win the Nobel Prize in literature in 1948, and he continued to live in London until he died in 1965 at the age of 76.
The Wasteland was written in 1922. It is a negative poem and essentially shows the horrible world created from our search for a better one through the act of WW1. It is separated into five parts; the first being the Burial Of The Dead, the second called A Game Of Chess, the third The Fire Sermon, the fourth Death By Water, and the final part What The Thunder Said. It is these parts that make many readers call The Wasteland very obscure and confusing since narrators, setting, tone, mood, and themes are always changing with each part of the poem. However it is one of Eliot’s greatest and most important works since it deals with the theme of death after WWI and because it can be interpreted many ways by readers because of its obscure nature. This poem also contains many allusions to other literary works, like the Latin/Roman novel “Satyricon”, two Bible passages which is ironic since T.S Eliot wasn’t a Christian when he wrote this poem, the German opera “Tristan und Isolde”, the novel “Chrome Yellow”, and Dante’s Inferno which he incorporates...
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