Poem Analysis

Futility By Wilfred Owen

Futility By Wilfred Owen War Poem Analysis

Introduction

About Poet

Themes Wilfred Owen’s Poem

About The Title of The “Futility” Poem

Analysis Of The Poem

Conclusion

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Daddy By Sylvia Plath

Daddy By Sylvia Plath Summary & Analysis

Daddy By Sylvia Plath
Daddy By Sylvia Plath

Introduction

            The poem entitled “Daddy” is one of the most popular poems written by ‘Sylvia Plath’. It was written in October 1962 and published posthumously in 1965 as part of the collection ‘Ariel’. It was the last phase of her life when she separated herself from her husband ‘Ted Hughes’, and began to live in London. Four months later, Path was dead, but she wrote some of her best poems during that turbulent period.

            Although it has sometimes been regarded as Sylvia Path’s most disturbing and confessional poem. It is a dark at times painful allegory that uses metaphor and other devices to carry the idea of a female victim finally freeing herself from her father. In Plath’s words:

“Here is a poem spoken by a girl
 with an Electra Complex.
Her father died while she
 thought he was God.

Her case is complicated by
the fact that her father
was also a Nazi and her
mother very possibly Jewish.

In the daughter, the two strains
marry and paralyze each other.
She has to act out the awful
little allegory once over
Before she is free of it.”

About Sylvia Plath

            Sylvia Plath was a popular American poet, novelist, and short story writer. She was known for her painful life and tortured soul. Her poems are mostly confessions about her painful life. Her father Otto Plath, was a German émigré and her mother, Aurelia Schober, was an American of Australian Jewish descent. She loved and worshipped her father ardently. He died when she was eight. The death of her father was a traumatic event of her childhood. She married a British poet Ted Hughes in 1956 and had two children. The couple separated in 1962.

            Sylvia Plath’s first book of poems ‘The Colossus’ was published in 1960. Her only novel “The Bell Jar” appeared in 1963. ‘Ariel’, ‘Crossing the Water’, and ‘Winter Trees’ were published posthumously.  

Daddy- Biographical Context

            Sylvia Plath had a complicated relationship with her father. He was a German immigrant who taught biology and married one of his students. He was diabetic but ignored the signs of his failing health. He put off going to the hospital for so long that by the time he did seek medical help, his foot had to be amputated and he died from the resulting complications, Plath was 8 years old.

Her father was reportedly cruel and despotic but Plath loved him deeply and was forever affected by his death. When she married fellow poet Ted Hughes, who turned out to be abusive and unfaithful, Plath claimed that she was trying to reunite with her father by marrying a man similar to him.

About The Title

            The poem ‘Daddy’ addresses the speaker’s father directly, and her relationship with her deceased father is the main focus of the poem. So the title of this poem is apt and appropriate.

Structure

            The poem contains a total of 16 stanzas, 5 lines in each stanza, which means a total of 10 lines. There is no specific rhyme scheme used in this poem.

Themes Of The Poem

            The poem “Daddy” by Sylvia Plath is a very complex poem that explores a variety of themes including:

The oppressive nature of patriarchy

            The speaker of the poem feels suffocated by her father’s memory and the patriarchal system he represents. She sees him as a Nazi, a vampire, and a boot that crushes her spirit.

 The Haunting Power of Trauma

            The speaker’s father died when she was young, but his absence still haunts her. She struggles to come to terms with her grief and anger. She feels trapped by her past.

The Search for Freedom

            The speaker desperately wants to be free from her father’s influence and the oppressive patriarchy he represents. She imagines killing him, which symbolizes her desire to absorb his power.

The Duality of Love and Hate

            The speaker’s relationship with her father is complex and contradictory. She loves him and hates him at the same time. She is attracted to his power and strength, but she is also repelled by his cruelty and fascism.

In addition to these central themes, “Daddy” also explores other important issues such as fascism, and the Holocaust. It is a deeply personal poem but it also speaks about the universal human experience of loss, grief, and Trauma.

Analysis Of Daddy Poem

            The poem tells the story of an extremely dysfunctional relationship between a daughter and her father. The poem begins with the speaker describing her father in several different ways. In the very first Stanza, she compares him with a “Black Shoe” and the speaker herself has felt “Like a Foot” that has been forced to live thirty years in that shoe. The stanza reveals that the speaker felt not only suffocated by her father but fearful of him as well.

            In fact, she expresses that her fear of him was so intense that she was afraid of even breather or sneezing. The first four stanzas give us the emotions of Sylvia Plath towards her father. As she writes;

“You do not do, you do not do
 Anymore, black shoe
 In which I have like a foot
 for thirty years, poor and white
 Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.”

            She had even wanted to kill her father, though he had died before she actually got a chance to do so. She calls her father as a ‘Bag full of God’, which gives us an idea of her view regarding God, which is fearful just like a huge statue, who is enormous figure and has no heart beating now. The speaker then compares her father with the “Freakish” Atlantic Ocean. The word Freakish refers to something very unusual, and strange. Thus this implies that her father was a beautiful human being but there was something strange about him. At some points during his illness, she had even prayed for his recovery.

            Next, the speaker wonders about her father’s origin. He grew up in a Polish town, where he spoke in German language. The town that he grew up in had seen a lot of wars. But, she couldn’t recall the name of the town as it was a common one. For this reason, the speaker could never remember where her father actually came from. She could never gather the courage to ask him about it. She says that she felt as if her tongue had stuck in her jaw whenever she tried to talk to her father. This idea is contained in the following line:

“I never could talk to you
 The tongue stuck in my jaw
 It stuck in a barb wire snare
 Ich, ich, ich, ich
 I could hardly speak
 I thought every German was you.
 And the language absence.”

            The speaker even says that she felt just like a Jew under the reign of the Germans. This is an important comparison to demonstrate the oppression that the speaker faced under her father’s guidance. It was an extremely painful experience, just like the Jews had faced at the hands of the Germans during the Holocaust. She felt like a Jew, being oppressed, without a voice. Hence she says that she could be related to the Jews and considered herself as one. She says that her ancestors were gypsies. Gypsies, just like the Jews were also oppressed by the Nazis.

            The speaker says that she was always afraid of her father. She believed that he had something to do with the German Air Force. He was a symbol of fear, with a neat mustache and bright blue eyes just like the German Nazis. She compares him with a German tank driver, as she calls him a ‘Ponzer man.’

            Then, the speaker compared her father to the symbol of “Swastika”. The Swastika is an ancient Indian symbol which was by the Nazis. Her father was a  huge black swastika that covered the entire sky blocking the light. Then she mockingly tells that every woman adores a Fascist, someone who is cruel and oppressive. Women for some reason, fall in love with ‘brutes’. Then, the speaker imagines her father standing in front of the blackboard. Her father was actually a professor.

            The speaker considers her father as the devil, he had a cleft in his chin, instead of his foot. His soul is dark, which makes him a ‘Black Ma’. She says that her father had torn her soul, and broken her heart. Even if he was a cruel brute, the poet had loved him as a child. Her father died when she was eight. She had cried for his death until she was twenty years old.

In her adulthood, she couldn’t continue to mourn for her father and ignored her vices. At one point, she even thought to kill herself in order to see him again. She tried committing suicide at twenty but was saved. However, her life changed completely after this incident.

            The speaker had created an imaginary model of her father who had a Meinkampf look, referring him to Hitler, the author of Meinkampf. The man she had married had perfectly recreated the role of her father, and she did not need to be reminded of her father. The speaker says that she had been accused of killing her father. However, she explains that he died before she could get the opportunity to do so. She says that if people think she has killed one man, she has actually killed two others, another one being her husband. She refers to her husband as a vampire because he had drained out life from her.

            In the last stanza, the poet says that even though her father died long ago, his memory has been haunting her just like a vampire. Thus, her father must be killed just like a vampire is killed, with a wooden stake pierced through his heart. In the ending lines, the poet says that although her father had been dead for multiple years, it was his memory that had been haunting her throughout these years. To prevent these things from happening, the speaker called him a “Bastar” and moved on.

Conclusion           

Thus, “Daddy” is a poem that conveys fear, confusion, anger, and even sometimes hope. Although the speaker’s father died, when she was just eight, She married a man who resembled her father. Instead of erasing bad memories from her life, her husband added more misery to her life. Unlike a vampire, he drank her blood for seven years. It seems that the speaker has been caught in a vicious circle of male dominance.

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In Memoriam By Alfred Lord Tennyson

In Memoriam by Alfred Tennyson

In Memoriam By Alfred Lord Tennyson
In Memoriam By Alfred Lord Tennyson

Introduction

            “In Memoriam” by Alfred Tennyson is one of the greatest poems of the Victorian age. This poem is also known as ‘In Memoriam A. H. H. It is an elegy for his Cambridge friend ‘Arthur Henry Hallam’, who died at the age of twenty-two years, in Vienna in 1833. Tennyson wrote this poem in his memory. He first published the poem in his memory.

Tennyson first published the poem anonymously in 1850 and is nearly anonymously in 1850 and is nearly 100 pages long. The poem has 133 cantos, and each stanza contains four lines. The rhyme scheme is ABBA, in iambic tetrameter, a form known as “Memoriam Stanza” due to its melancholy effect. The poem is divided into three main parts:

◽ The Prologue
◽ The Poem
◽ The Epilogue

About Alfred Tennyson

            Alfred Tennyson was an English Poet. He was the Poet Laureate during much of Queen Victoria’s reign. His works not only explore the relationship between science and religion, but the importance of perseverance and remaining optimistic in front of despair. Two of his best known poems are – ‘In Memoriam A.H.H.’ and ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’. Tennyson also held high standing in Victorian society, having the title of ‘1st Baron Tennyson of Aldworth and Freshwater.’

            Some of his other most famous works include – ‘The Lady of Shalott’, ‘Ulysses’ and ‘Idylls of a King.’

Themes of “In Memoriam” Poem

            In Memoriam A.H.H. is a long and complex poem, and it explores a wide range of themes. Some of the most important themes include:

  • The Meaning of Life
  • Mystery of Death
  • Grief as a form of Love
  • Doubt strengthens Religious faith
  • Grief and Loss
  • Faith and Doubt.
  • The relationship between the individual and the universe.

The Meaning of Life

The poem explores the meaning of life. Tennyson asks questions about the purpose of existence, and he searches for answers in nature, in history, and in his own faith.

Mystery of Death

After his friend Hallam’s death at a young age, the speaker asks two significant questions about the mystery of death – Is there life after death for humans? And can the living still love and communicate with the dead?

      The speaker believes death ends the life of Hallam’s physical body, but not his soul, personality, or memories.

Grief as a form of Love

The speaker says in Canto 1, that without love, there would be no grief, love is essential to grief. His deep sorrow at Hallam’s death proves his deep love for his friend in life. The Speaker’s grief often takes the form of singing and music both expressions of praise and deep emotion.

Doubt Strengthens Religious Faith

Formally a steadfast, but perhaps somewhat rote, believer in the Christian religion the speaker grapples with uncertainty. He can’t prove his beliefs are true. He has no evidence of an afterlife where Hallam’s soul will live in eternity.

Grief and Loss

The poem is a meditation on the death of Tennyson’s friend Arthur Hallam. Tennyson’s grief is raw and honest and he does not shy away from expressing his sorrow. The poem offers comfort to those who have lost loved ones, and it shows that grief is a normal and healthy response to loss.

Faith and Doubt

The poem also explores the themes of faith and doubt. Tennyson is a devout Christian, but he also struggles with his faith in the face, of Hallam’s death. He questions God’s goodness and justice, and he wonders if there is any meaning in life without Hallam. The poem shows that faith is not always easy, but it can offer comfort and hope in the face of loss.

The Relationship between the Individual and the Universe

The poem explores the relationship between the individual and the universe. Tennyson Contemplates the place of humanity in the cosmos and he wonders how to find meaning in a vast and indifferent universe.

      These are just some of the themes explored in ‘In Memoriam A. H. H. The poem is a complex and profound work of art, and it continues to offer insights into the human condition.

Summary Of The Poem

   The poem opens addressing Jesus, discussing how God made both life and death. He uses the image of Jesus with his foot on a Skull to show him as the conqueror of Death. Humanity is humbled in the presence of God, as our ‘systems’ are finite. We are unable to see God’s plan.

      Tennyson asks for God’s forgiveness for the nature of his words, as he fluctuates between faith and doubt throughout the poem. He says he has “Wild and wandering words’ as he tries to make sense of the death of his friend. He prays for wisdom and regrets his wasted youth. The poet describes how he grieved. He once believed that men would slowly rise from death into eternal state, he once believed in God, but in his grief, he wishes he could fast forward through time to skip the grieving period.

      Tennyson addresses a yew tree in a graveyard. He imagines that the roots are wrapped around a body buried beneath. The seasons, and nature, move on in their patterns beating out the “little lives of men”. Here he questions the existence of God and an afterlife. He sometimes believes he is sinning by writing of his grief.

He argues that even though the loss of a loved one is common to the human race, it doesn’t make him less bitter, but more so knowing that every day someone else’s heart is breaking. He imagines families who are still waiting for their dead family members, like a mother who waits for her son who has drowned at sea.

      Arthur’s body was returned to England from Italy by ship. He spends a lot of time addressing and describing the ship that brought his friend’s body. By winter, Tennyson’s woe is causing “Wild Unrest” in him. He confronts this change in canto 16, wandering that sorrow could cause him to feel both wild and calm. Only the Bible comforts him.

As he questions the meaning of death and life, he concludes that humans have souls allowing them to live on after death and that their purpose on earth is to gain knowledge. As the author was a good and intelligent man, he believed that Arthur’s soul must be alive somewhere. He imagines meeting with him again.

      The epilogue finds Tennyson at his sister’s wedding while he has lost a close friend, he has gained a brother-in-law. Arthur Hallam and Tennyson became friends in 1829 at Cambridge. Hallam met Tennyson’s sister, Emily, and the two were soon engaged. Hallam also wrote poetry and he and Tennyson planned to one day publish a collection together. He died of a brain hemorrhage while visiting Vienna with his father at the age of twenty-two. Emily would later marry and name her first son after Hallam.

      Queen Victoria met with Tennyson in 1833 to tell him the poem had been a comfort to her following the death of her husband, Prince Albert.

Conclusion

      Thus, “In Memoriam” by Alfred Lord Tennyson was specifically composed as a heartfelt lament for the untimely passing of his dear friend, Arthur Henry Hallam. The poem is undeniably an elegy, intended to evoke a prevailing sense of mourning. However, some critics believe that the elegiac quality of the poem is overshadowed by its religious scientific, and philosophical aspects. It is also a reflection of the intellectual and cultural climate of the Victorian age, which was marked by both scientific advancement and religious crisis.

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The Iliad By Homer

Iliad By Homer | The Iliad | Iliad Characters

The Iliad By Homer
The Iliad By Homer

  The Iliad is an epic poem, meaning a grand, very long poem about gods and heroes. Homer wrote down the Iliad around 750 B.C. It is the oldest written poem in western civilization.

Iliad Characters

Achilles – Protagonist

Achilles is the leader of Myrmidons who fight on the side of the Achaeans against Troy. He is the son of Thetis, a sea goddess, and Peleus a mortal.

Hector

Hector is a brave and fierce warrior and prince of Troy. He is fighting for his city and family as much as honour and glory.

Agamemnon

Agamemnon a powerful and proud man is the top commander of the Achaean army. He is a good fighter, but his leadership style is harsh, but his leadership style is harsh, and he shows no mercy is harsh, and he shows no mercy to enemies. Agamemnon is often called Atrides.

Thetis

Achilles’s sea-goddess mother protects and advocates for him throughout the poem.

Paris

Brother of Hector and 2nd son of Priam.

Patroclus

Friend of Achilles. They were raised together.

Menelaus

The King of Sparta, the younger brother of Agamemnon.

Odysseus

The next great warrior of Geeks after Achilles.

Hecuba

The Queen of Troy.

Priam King of Troy

Character Map

Character Map Iliad
Character Map Iliad

Introduction

          The Iliad is an epic poem, meaning a grand, very long poem about gods and heroes. Homer wrote down the Iliad around 750 B.C. It is the oldest written poem in western civilization. Greece had suffered several hundred years of a dark age – as in no writing prior to this. It is the story of Achilles and the Iliad, which Homer himself did not invent was told by word of Mouth.

            Book one of The Iliad is entitled The Quarrel Between Agamemnon and Achilles. In this book, Homer introduces the conflict between Agamemnon and Achilles. The story of Book 1 begins nine years after the war began. In the tenth year of the Trojan War, Achilles, the greatest fighter for the Achilles, is furious.

About the Homer

            Homer is known for his two epic poems – The Iliad and The Odyssey. He was the greatest poet of ancient Greek. He lived during the era of the Trojan war in the early 12th century. It is uncertain where exactly he was born and lived. Plato, Aristotle, Dante Joseph Conrad, and James Joyce were very much influenced by Homer’s work. He was also known as Blind Bard. He composed a collection of poems that depicts the events of the Trojan War in a book of poetry titled the Epic Cycle. He also included a collection of 33 Greek songs honoring various gods.

Theme Of The Iliad

            Iliad covers a bunch of universal topics from love and friendship to honor and glory as presented in the epic poem. There are some important themes in the poem:

  • Honor and Glory
  • The Intervention of The Gods
  • Love
  • Mortality
  • Fate and Free will
  • Pride

The setting of The Poem

            The Iliad is written in a dactylic hexameter. It is as dominant in Greek and Latin poetry as iambic pentameter is in English. The dactylic foot is formed with one long followed by two short syllables. It has a total of six feet.

For example: _UU_UU_UU_UU_UU_UU_

            Here ( _ ) symbol is for long syllables and (U) is used for short syllables.

Book 1 Of The Iliad Summary

            In the beginning, Homer invokes the Muse to help him tell this story. The story is about the rage of Achilles, the greatest Greek hero to fight in the Trojan War. The story starts with Priam the king of Troy having two sons – Ilector and Paris. Once Paris starts liking the Queen of Sparta name Helen, who is already married. Helen is the wife of Menelaus the king of Sparta.

Helen also started liking Paris and both of them secretly leave for Troy. This incident enrages Menelaus and he goes to his brother Agamemnon for help. Agamemnon promised to help her and then calls all the kings of Greece. Which included the King of Ithaca, Odysseus, the great warrior Achilles, his cousin Patroclus, Ajax, etc. Together they all start marching on Troy.

            Price Paris challenges Menelaus to sword fighting but Paris is defeated by Menelaus. Soon a fight breaks out between the armies of both countries. One day some soldiers of Greece capture two beautiful girls. Chryseis and Briseis are brigs with them. Agamemnon commander in chief of the Achaean army takes Chryseis as his Prize. Achilles one of the Achaean’s most valuable warriors, claims Briseis. Chryseis’s father a man named Chryses who serves as a priest of the god Apollo, begs Agamemnon to return his daughter and offers to pay an enormous ransom. When Agamemnon refuses, Chryses prays to Apollo for help.

            Apollo sends a plague upon the Greek camp causing the death of many soldiers. After ten days of suffering, Achilles calls an assembly of the Achaean army and asks for the cause of the plague. Calchas a soothsayer reveals the plague as vengeful and strategic more by Chryses and Apollo. Agamemnon says he will return the girl if Achille gives him, his prize, the girl, Briseis. Agamemnon’s demand humiliates and infuriates and proud Achilles. Agamemnon threatens to go to Achilles’s tent in the army’s camp and take Briseis himself. Achilles stands poised to draw his sword and kill the Achaean commander. Athena’s guidance, along with a speech by the wise advisor Nestor, finally succeeds in preventing the duel.

            That night, Agamemnon puts Chryseis on a ship back to her father and sends heralds to have Briseis escorted from Achilles’s tent. Achilles prays to his mother the sea – goddess Thetis to ask Zeus, King of the Gods, to punish the Achaeans. Meanwhile, the Achaean commander Odysseus is navigating the ship that Chryseis has boarded. When he lands, he returns the Chryseis. Chryseis, overjoyed to see his daughter, Prays to the god to lift the plague from the Achaean camp. Apollo acknowledges his prayer.

            But the end of the plague on the Achaeans only marks the beginning of worse suffering. Ever since his quarrel with Agamemnon, Achilles has refused to participate in battle and after twelve days Thetis makes her appeal to Zeus, as promised, asking him to honor her son by granting the Trojans victory while Achilles remains out of the battle. Zeus is angered and says that helping the Trojans would force him into a fight with his wife. Hera supports the Achaeans. However, he agrees and bows his head as a sign of promise.

Related Topic Of English Literature

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The Sun Rising By John Donne

The Sun Rising By John Donne | The Sunne Rising Critical Analysis

The Sun Rising By John Donne
The Sun Rising By John Donne

Introduction

The Sunne Rising, also known as The Sun Rising is a metaphysical poem as well as a love poem set in the speaker’s bedroom. The poem was written by John Donne who was a great English essayist, Poet, and philosopher of the 18th Century. He is also known as the founder of Metaphysical poetry. John Donne’s other famous metaphysical poems are The Flea, The Good Morrow, and Holly Sonnets.

structure Of The Poem

            Present Poem The Sun Rising is a thirty lines poem with three stanzas containing ten lines. With irregular line length and regular rhyme scheme of ABBACDCDEE. The meter is also varied.

Themes Of The Poem

The Sun Rising poem revolves around the themes of love and appreciation. Love has never-ending power, and it is not bound to any restrictions of nature. The poet is addressing the sun directly. Love and friendship are not bound by the motion of the sun. He praises and accolades the beauty of his beloved.

The Sun Rising Poem Analysis

            In the first stanza poem has a dramatic situation, the same as most often in his poems. The speaker gets angry with the rising sun and tells the sun not to disturb him and his beloved in making love. The tone of the poem is striking and angry. The poet addresses the sun by saying – you are a fool, busy and uncontrollable.

When we (means lovers) are in bed why you disturbed us through your rays and peep into my room? Here poet raises a question. Do you want lovers to go according to your motion? No, and never, love is associated with such barriers. Go and wake up late school boys, huntsman and farmers go to work. Poet further says:

“Love all alike, no season knows nor clime;
 Nor hours, days, months, which are the rays of time.”

            Here poet means love is not bound by climate and neither seasons nor it is connected with the pieces of times, hours days, and months.

            The second stanza is about the wholehearted appreciation of the beloved. He can fade the sun into clouds in one second by closing his eyes but he does not lose sight of his beloved. The poet exaggerated in the fifth line by saying my beloved eyes are shiner than you. He says whether east India or west all the things are laying with me. In order to enjoy your go and come yesterday.

            In the third stanza, the poet continues the direct address towards to the sun. He says my beloved is my state and I am the king of that state. This means the poet firmly says that he is like a king as he possesses the beauty and true love of his beloved. For him, all the honors and wealth are nothing in comparison to his beloved.

Pitying the sun the speaker says the sun is fully not happy as the loving is, shine its job is to keep the world warm, and in its old age it wants easier work, so all it has to do is to shine on the speaker’s bed where his beloved is lying. This way his job is easily fulfilled as for the speaker his beloved is the world and by shining on the bed I it is shining on the world, which we can understand by these lines:

“Shine here to us and thou art everywhere;
 This bed thy center is these walls thy sphere;”

             Poet means to say for the sun their bed is the center of the world and the walls of the room are the orbit of the Sun.

Conclusion

            Thus in the poem, The Sun Rising the poet highlights the importance and significance of Love. Love is more powerful and brighter than the Sun. Although John Donne is not a romantic poet. His poems can be divided into two groups. Love poems as well as divine or holy poems. The present poem The Sunne Rising is the perfect example of a Love Poem.

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Varsha Singh

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