Saturday, February 4, 2017

Eliot the Prophet

In my research of Eliot's allusions to the Bible, I found it very interesting that some critics find Eliot uses The Waste Land as his own sort of prophesy. Eliot alludes to "The Call of Ezekiel" in which God refers to Ezekiel as "Son of Man" and asks him to go to Israel and to speak the words of God, and to not rebel. In the poem, Eliot or the speaker is assuming a God-like status, and regards the reader as an unknowing, and rebellious people. During modernist times, people looked to rebel against establishment values and beliefs, and explore new ways of thinking. Eliot could be sending a message here to saying that though technology is improving and humans are searching for knowledge, that humans know hardly anything at all, and only God can reveal the whole truth. The poem is considered as having a prophetic tone, and seems to be Eliot's way of guiding humanity out of the desolate "wasteland" that they are in.

3 comments:

Joseph Martin said...

I also did research on one of Eliot's allusions to the Bible. I found that the "Walk to Emmaus" reference further cements the argument that Dylan proposes. In this passage from the Gospel of Luke, Jesus appears to two disciples, but they are unable to recognize him until he reveals himself, and then disappears. This allusion proves that Eliot believes the state of disrepair of the times is not an absence of God, but that man does not recognize his presence. It is not clear if this is meant as a religious statement, or a metaphor and example for a specific situation. We can certainly see Eliot's prophetic tone in this example, because the figure of Jesus is associated with the tarot card of the Hanged Man, which is a direct link to fortune telling and prophecy.

Savannah Watermeier said...

Although Eliot alludes to the Bible, he also alludes to Hell. Dante's Inferno Robbie exact. He does this to convey the terror of the war and people's disillusionment. In that way, he is a Messanger and not a Prophet.

Brooke Williamson said...

Another allusion in The Wasteland is that of Tristan and Isolde. Their story is very similar to that of Romeo and Juliet. It's the tale of two lovers who have a forbidden love. When Isolde goes through with marrying King Mark, Tristan is devastated. However, the two can not stay apart for long and continue their rendezvous until, according to some accounts, King Mark and his knights try to trap the lovers. In the end, Tristan flees Cornwall alone and upset. The idea of love and sacrifice is a reoccurring theme of literature past and present. Through this example that Eliot alludes to, we can see how significant this concept is.