Journey of the Magi

JOURNEY OF THE MAGI                                                     Gillian Gray

‘Journey of the Magi’ by T.S. Elliot, is a poem in which there is an imaginary person and place. The poem is seen through the viewpoint of one of the ‘Magi’ or more commonly known as ‘wisemen’, whilst on the journey to witness the birth of Jesus Christ. There is no proof that these ‘Magi’ did exist, so we can only assume that within the poem they are, although very well thought out by T.S. Elliot, still completely imaginary.

Most people would presume that throughout this journey, the ‘Magi’ would be fairly happy in the thought of finding a miracle, but this poem contrasts greatly with this belief:
“A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey”
We are now given the idea that the journey had not got off to a good start, and with the poets use of repetition of the word ‘journey’, we can really imagine that that this was not a very pleasant time for the ‘Magi’. We also begin to understand that that the ‘Magi’ are most definitely out of their comfort zone.
“There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.”
This background story makes the character seem more convincing and real to the readers, and tells us that the ‘Magi’ are used to the life of luxury. However, they are now made to cope with a long journey through terrible weather conditions.
“The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.”
From this, we can comprehend just how awful the weather is, and how hard and depressing it is for the ‘Magi’. Within the first two stanzas, we are given the impression that this ‘Magi’ was not very optimistic. This also contributes to the poet’s portrayal of the ‘Magi’ and makes him seem more genuine to us.
“And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile...