Theme of the Waste Land

Theme of Thomas Stearns Eliot’s The Waste Land
Thomas Stearns Eliot, author of The Waste Land has been called the most influential poet of the twentieth century. The Waste Land first appeared in October, 1922, in the Criterion, a periodical founded and edited by Eliot.

Tiresias is the central figure in the poem. Tiresias acts as a possible mouthpiece of the poet. He also functions as a connecting link between the various sections of The Waste Land.

Here waste means barren, infertile, dry, sterile, bare, dead and London city is the modern waste land.

The Waste Land divides in 5 sections:

1) The burial of the dead: opposition between sterility and fertility, life and death.
2) A Game of chess: juxtaposes the present squalor (Moral degradation) to a past ambiguous
    splendor (A quality that outshines the usual).
3) The fire sermon: description of a squalid sexual encounter.
4) Death by Water: reinforces the idea of a spiritual shipwreck, it’s the elegiac part.
5) What the Thunder said: evokes religions from East and West

The theme of the poem encompasses (include) simultaneously (at the same time) several levels of experience:

    ➢ The waste land of religion in which there are rocks but no water.
    ➢ The waste land of the spirit from which all moral and spiritual springs have evaporated.
    ➢ The waste land of the instinct for fertility where sex has become merely a mechanical means of animal satisfaction rather than a potent, life giving source or regeneration.
    ➢ The Waste Land shows the hopelessness and despair of individuals which is the quest for moral regeneration and spiritual salvation.
    ➢ The people in the waste land have problems with communication.
The main theme is "modern life as a waste land." Eliot proved what was wrong with society in the early twentieth century. These shortcomings include lack of faith, lack of communication, fear of both life and death, corruption of the life-water symbol, and corruption of sex.
Water for...