AD's English Literature : February 2011

Monday, February 28, 2011

A Critical Analysis of the Title of William Shakespeare’s Play As You Like It

As You Like It is a light-hearted comedy which appeals to the readers at all stages and all in lighter moods. It pleases some by its idyllic romance, others by its optimistic philosophy of simple goodness, and yet others by its cynical ironies. Indeed you can take this as you like it.” G. B. Harrison {ed. Shakespeare: The Complete Works. New York: Harcourt, 1952 (Page 776).}

Indo European family of languages

Languages, which show some common features and some shared properties, are said to belong to one family. It is assumed that such systematic similarities cannot be accidental; these similarities are there because the concerned languages have ‘descended’ from a common ‘parent’. That is, at some point of time, there was a language spoken all over a given geographical area which over a period of time broke up, fragmented, into a number of ‘sibling’ varieties. With the passage of time these varieties become sufficiently different from each other to be considered as separate languages.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Porter Scene Act II, SCENE Macbeth By William Shakespeare

Macbeth By William Shakespeare

Significance of ‘Porter Scene’ in Macbeth

Act II, SCENE III. Court of Macbeth's castle.(porter Scene)

Knocking within. Enter a Porter
Here's a knocking indeed! If a
man were porter of hell-gate, he should have
old turning the key.
Knocking within
knock, knock! Who's there, i' the name of
Beelzebub? Here's a farmer, that hanged
himself on the expectation of plenty: come in
time; have napkins enow about you; here
you'll sweat for't.
Knocking within
knock! Who's there, in the other devil's
name? Faith, here's an equivocator, that could
swear in both the scales against either scale;
who committed treason enough for God's sake,
yet could not equivocate to heaven: O, come
in, equivocator.
Knocking within


1.        Generally all the monosyllabic words are unaccented; but in metrical composition such words are often accented. The monosyllabic words having a diphthong such as “power”, “flower”, “our”, “shower”, are always accented.
2.        In metrical composition, monosyllabic ‘content’ words are almost always accented. On the other hand, the ‘structural’ words almost always remain unaccented.
3.        Each and every disyllabic word must have only one accent, on either the first or the second syllable.
4.        But the disyllabic words like “any”, “many”, and “very” sometimes may remain unaccented, whereas the monosyllabic words like “yet”, “still” and “all” are accented very often.
5.        In a long polysyllabic word, we may have one or more accents. In general case, either the first or the second syllable must have the accent. Very few exceptional words like “returnee” have the first two syllables unaccented, followed by the accent on the third (re-turn-'ee). In fact, the English tendency is to put the accent as near the beginning of the word as possible.
6.        In a polysyllabic word having no prefix or suffix (eg. “de'terio'rate”, “'chloro'form”, “Hippo'crene” etc) we may have two accents. Here the more emphatic accent is called ‘primary accent’ and the less emphatic accent is “secondary accent”. But the secondary accent more often falls on the non-roots.
7.        The primary accent must be on the root, while any accent on the suffix or prefix is always the secondary accent.
8.        The monosyllabic prefix may or may not be accented.


1. In matters of syllabifying, there are no concrete rules, no invariable guidelines or no supreme authorities. So, it is often seen that a word can be syllabified in two ways. But the number of syllables is always the same in a word, in spite of its different kinds of syllabification. Examples follow –
* Even = e–ven / ev – en:
* Passive= pass-ive / pas-sive:
* Familiar = fa-mi-liar / fam-I-liar
[In each case, both the ways of syllabification are valid.]

2. As the vowel sound is the heart of a syllable, we, whenever to syllabify a word, must be guided by pronunciation, by the sound of the word but never by etymology or the letters or the spelling of the word. Examples follow-

* Peruse = pe-ruse (but ‘per-use’ not acceptable);
* Running = run-ning (but ‘run-ing’ or ‘runn-ing’ not correct);
* Island = is-land (but ‘isl-and’ not acceptable);
* Iron = iron (but ‘I-ron’ or ‘ir-on’ incorrect. ‘Iron’ is monosyllabic);

THE SUPERANNUATED MAN by CHARLES LAMB---The Feeling of Lamb Before and After His Retirement

"It is now six and thirty years since I took my seat at the desk in Mincing-lane. For the first day or two I felt stunned, overwhelmed. I could only apprehend my felicity; I was too confused to taste it sincerely. I wandered about, thinking I was happy, and knowing that I was not."--- The Superannuated Man

Charles Lamb in “The Superannuated Man” has given an account of his feeling before and after his retirement. Lamb served as a clerk for long thirty-six years and then retired. Lamb’s life as a clerk was tedious and boring. He, however, had a respite from work on a Sunday every week.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Critical Appreciation of Gerard Manley Hopkins's Pied Beauty

(The Devotional Element--- Sensuousness and Religiousness --  The Religious and Spiritual Characteristics )

  Nineteenth-century English poet and priest Gerard Manley Hopkins is admired for the highly original use of rhythm in his poetry, a quality that can be seen in the following poems, “The Windhover,” “Pied Beauty,” and “Hurrahing in Harvest.” A windhover, also known as a kestrel, is a small type of falcon. These three poems express Hopkins’s devotion to the Catholic faith, as well as his fascination with the natural world. Like most of Hopkins’s poetry, the poems were first published in 1918, nearly 20 years after his death.

The Love song of J. Alfred Prufrock--a song of frustration and conflict, of loneliness and boredom

                Prufrock is an embodiment of split personality – a separation of head and heart, a paralysis of the will and too much worry regarding a love proposal. The poem marks a complete break of the modern civilization with all its ugliness – the never ending streets, smoking chimneys, yellow fog, dirty drains and smell of female bodies. It is urban in its theme and setting. In a series of paragraphs the lover analysis the reason for a resolution and indecision and tries to justify his cowardice and lack of nerves. Behind this, mental state is a disease of modern routine – the aimless life of the city dwellers and the monotonous sound of social parties.

How Did Language Originate?

 No one knows exactly how language originated. And because of this, there is no dearth of speculations about the origins of human speech.

Language is a ‘System of sounds, words, patterns, etc. used by humans to communicate thoughts and feelings’. (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 1989).No one, however, knows exactly how language originated. And because of this, there is no dearth of speculations about the origins of human speech. Let us briefly consider some of these.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


 ADVICE- This word is an example of French loan word. The middle English 'avis' got this form  French . Due to renaissance influence 'ad' Latin 'advisum' was added as original prefix to 'avis' and we have the English word advice. Read More Philology                                                                                                                                                
ALMS- Old English 'aelmesse' is derived from Greek 'eleemosune'. Middle English from of the word was 'almesse' and plural was 'almesses'. In fact ,'alms' is singular as 's' belongs to the original word.   

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Short Questions from Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer

1.Is it a Laughing Comedy in protest of Sentimental Comedy?

Ans:When the play was first produced, it was discussed as an example of the revival of laughing comedy over the sentimental comedy . Truly speaking it is a comic laughing comedy in celebration of fun, frolic and humour .The affectation of sentimentalism and moralization is altogether omitted here. 
 2.How is She Stoops to Conquer a Comedy of Manners?

Ans:The play can also be seen as a comedy of manners, where, set in a polite society, the comedy arises from the gap between the characters' attempts to preserve standards of polite behaviour that contrasts to their true behaviour.

3.How is She Stoops to Conquer A Romantic Comedy?

Ans:It also seen by some critics as a romantic comedy, which depicts how seriously young people take love, and how foolishly it makes them behave (similar to Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream); in She Stoops to Conquer, Kate’s stooping and Marlow’s nervousness are good examples of romantic comedy.      

Model English Test -3 for PGT , TGT and Other Competitive Examinations

1.What do you trace ‘Myth making faculty’ in Shelley and Keats?
Substantiate your answer.
2. How do you know that Shelley’s Skylark is not a creature of ‘flesh and blood’?
3.      What does the bird specially know in Hardy’s poem?
4.      What was the last thought that was not in vain for the lover in The Last Ride Together?
5.      Why ‘the listeners’ in the Mare’s poem do not react?
6.      How do you explain the title strange Meeting?
7.      What historical period do you find as hints in The Lagoon?
8.      Why did Mrs. Thurlow remain unsympathetic towards her  husband?
9.      Ulysses provides an interesting study in contrast along with another poem of Tennyson’s The Lotos Eaters – discuss.
10.   “Drive my dead thoughts over the Universe like withered leaves to quicken a new birth” – explain the line with critical comment.
11.  Describe The Traveler in the poem The Listeners.
12.   “Della, being slender, had mastered the art” – What was the art that Della mastered?
13.  Define The Ox as a short story.

History of English Literature-The Revival of Learning (1450-1550)

From Chaucer to Spenser
The Revival of Learning (1450-1550)

History / Events

1455-85 Wars of the Roses begin

1492 Columbus lands in West Indies

1535 Sir Thomas More, St John Fisher, Anne Boleyn, William Tyndale executed.

1549 Book of Common Prayer.

1476 Printing press started.
1412 Govenail of princes by Hoccieve.

1422 The Kings Quair by James I

1470 Morte Darthur by Malory (1085)

1516 Utopia by More (Latin)
1551 Utopia by More (English)

1557 Tottel’s Miscellany by Wyatt.

History of English Literature--The Inter – War years (1918-39)

The Inter – War years (1918-39)

Historical events

1936 – :Allen Lane founded The Penguin Books, B B C        starts.

1939 –: World War II begins.
1922 –: Ulysses –- Joyce
The Waste Land – -T. S. Eliot.
Forsyte Saga – -Galsworthy.
1932 –: Brave New World- – Huxley.
1935 – Murder in The Cathedral – T. S. Eliot


George V
Edward VIII


T. S. Eliot
George Orwell
Graham Greene
W. H. Auden
Dylan Thomas

Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Rupert Brute Edward Thomas etc are war poets.
Samuel Beckett

1.Name the important works published in 1922.

Ans. In 1922 the famous poem entitled The Waste Land created by T. S. Eliot, and the celebrated novel named Ulysses worked by James Joyce. The novel Ulysses marks the beginning of ‘Stream of Consciousness’ technique in the domain of writing novels.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

G. K. Chesterton reveals the beauty of Gothic Architecture in The Architect of Spears

In the essay The Architect of Spears, Chesterton makes an imaginative exploration of the charm and beauty of the Gothic Architecture. He discovers the very soul of the stone that he finds in Lincoln cathedral. And every stone appears to him alive, dynamic and thought provoking, full of abounding energy and spontaneity, bearing ample marks of the very beauty of Gothic Architecture. But the striking feature of this essay is the clarity of Chesterton’s imaginative vision happily wedded to his wit. The mingling of the richness of wit and imagination makes Chesterton’s style somewhat paradoxical, and yet all the more lively and interesting. So, in The Architect of Spears, are do not find a simple narrative or a logically developed idea. Instead, “The talent of Chesterton has succeeded in instilling new life into many truism”.

Analysis of the Title of J. M. Synge’s Play---Riders to the Sea


J. M. Synge’s one-act play on the life of the poor peasant and fisher folk of the Aran Island of the west –coast of Ireland has been named “Riders to the Sea”. Who are the riders and what past does the sea play in their life? The riders in the drama refer to those male members of the family of the poor peasant woman Maurya. They, one by one go on horse back to the sea-shore for boarding the ship along with horses, goats and sheep which they have reared up at home for selling in the neighboring market. The sea is the only link with the world outside. Hence these people have no choice of going by any other route. So in compelling circumstances, they are to journey across the turbulent sea staking their life.

                In “Riders to the Sea” because of the limited space of a one-act play, only the deaths of two riders – Michael and Bartley are enacted. But we are reported of the gruesome deaths of many other riders of the same family. It is the family of the old peasant woman, Maurya through whom Synge has projected his tragic mission. Her husband, husband’s father and four of her six sons were all riders to the sea. None of them had come back alive. They had been swallowed by the sea. The fifth son whom she has just lost is Michael. His body has not yet been found.

Quick and Easy Reminder For Your Five Major Types of Comedy

The main trends of English comedy can broadly be classified into Five groups, namely ‘romantic comedy’, ‘comedy of manners’, ‘comedy of humours’, ‘sentimental comedy’ and the ‘tragi-comedy’ or ‘dark comedy’.

The term ‘romantic comedy’ is a somewhat vague appellation, which denotes a form of drama is which love is the main theme and love leads to a happy ending. The team ‘romantic comedy’ is generally applied to plays developed by Shakespeare and some of his Elizabethan contemporaries. These plays are generally concerned with love affairs that involve a beautiful and idealized heroine; the course of this love does not run smooth, but ultimately overcomes all difficulties to end in a happy union. In the Anatomy of Criticism (P.P 182-183) Northrop Frye points out that some of Shakespeare romantic comedies involve a movement from the normal world of conflict and trouble into the ‘green world’ – the idyllic, pastoral world of the Forest of Arden as in As You Like It, on the fairy haunted wood of A Midsummer Night’s Dream – in which the problems and troubles of the real world are magically dissolved, enemies reconciled and true lovers united. Frye regards this phenomenon (together with other aspects of these comedies, such as their festive conclusion in the social – ritual of a wedding, a feast, a dance) as evidence that comic plots reflect Primitive myths and rituals celebrating the victory of spring over winter.

Brilliant Ways To Remind Different techniques of Writing Novels

There is visibly a distinction between the scope of a dramatist and that of a novelist. A dramatist enjoys a very limited scope to unfold his purpose of vision of life. For, within two or three stage hours he must complete his dramatic design, complying with the principles of three unities the unity of time, place and action. But a novelist, on the other hand, can enjoy unlimited time and scope to build up the characters in his novel. And if he so wishes, he can also include long explanation in favour of his own philosophy. It is obvious, therefore, that a novelist can enjoy greater liberty and wider scope by adopting different technical devices in his novel, while the liberty of a dramatist is all too restricted. However, of the different narrative devices, mention may be made to the few important narrative models: omniscient view, the first person narrative, epistolary novel, dialogue in novel and stream of consciousness novel.

Omniscient view: - The most usual kind of narration adopted by a novelist is what we call an ‘omniscient view’. What we mean by the expression ‘omniscient view’ is that the novelist describes not only the outward behaviour in an action of his characters but also their thoughts and feelings. That is, an omniscient narrator describes his story with God like case, as it capable of seeing every event which concerns his characters. The novelist goes even to that extant of knowing their inner most thoughts and motives. Galsworthy’s The Forsyte Saga may be cited as an instance to this point.

The First Person Narrative:- There is another type of novel where the story is told in the first person. The narrator very often refers to himself as ‘I’. This technique is called the first person narrative. By using this methods, the novelist may make his story more realistic and more credible. Of course, the novelist can enjoy little scope in this method to look very deeply in to the minds and motives of the other characters. In David Copperfield for example, Dickens can only show us the world through David 's eyes, while the other people in the novel can only be observed from the outside. Steer forth is heartless and wicked, Emily is good and innocent. But the readers have no means of discovering why they were as they were, or what made then behave as they did. However, a novelist, who tells his story through ‘I’ must accept certain restriction, though he can often make the narrative stronger and life like.

Epistolary Novel:- Sometimes a novelist decides to tell his story through a series of letters, that is, the unfoldment of story in the novel is made through the exchange of letters among different characters concerned. This method has some extra advantages. Richardson makes use of this form to concentrate to the characters psychology and moral judgment. But in Pamela the reader may find it in hard to believe that the heroine, a simple domestic maidservant would be able to write so eloquently and such lengthy letters. Richardson perhaps realized the incredibility of this, and therefore he somewhat alters his stance in his next novel Clarissa Harlawe. The same device of letter method is also adopted in this second novel too. But the heroine is selected from a family with good education and culture. Understandably, the letters in Clarissa Harlawe seems less improbable than those in Pamela.

Dialogue in Novel:- There is still another method of writing novel which is technically called ‘Dialogue in Novel’. Introduction of conversation in a novel raises a bubble of controversy among those who think that dialogue is the monopoly of the dramatists alone. But this is not at all a tenable criticism. For, a reader of a novel may feel bore if the entire novel is told with simple narration or description, without getting it punched with frequent dialogue. But if a novel is stuffed with frequent conversation among the characters concerned, or, it become much more interesting for the readers. But the introduction of dialogue in a novel gives rise to one important problem for the novelist. His problem is that how can he be sure that his characters will speak in the sort of dialogues he selects. That is, a doctor must be made to talk like a doctor. A farmer must be made to talk like a farmer. A woman of fashion must be made to talk like a woman of fashion. So the novelist, like a dramatist, must have a ‘good ear’ to catch and imitate the speech habit and ‘tone of voice’ or ‘intonation’ of the characters in conversation. This is, no doubt, a difficult taste  but when executed appropriately, it becomes much amusing and interesting.

Stream of Conscious Novel:- Barring the age old method of story telling, there are some ‘interior monologue’ or ‘stream of consciousness technique’. Writers like James Joyce and Virginia Woolf use this technique with a wonderful success, following the principles of Freud. These novelists believe that some of the most important activities of human mind take place below the level of consciousness. They feel that the traditional method of telling story in the chronological order gives a picture of life which is atone inadequate, incomplete and superficial. In the year 1922 Joyce’s Ulysses is published creating a storm of controversy in the literary world. But on a close scrutiny it is found that the novelist has simply invited us to enter into the mind of his chief character Leopold Bloom to share his stream of consciousness to feel the incessant shower of innumerable atoms. Virginia Woolf and other modern novelists strongly uphold the efficiency of this technique to lay the human hearts bare, the major parts of which, to quote D. H. Lawrence, remains submerged like a chunk of ice in our subconscious and conscious world.
Ardhendu De

Reference:An Introduction of English Literature to Foreign Students, R. J.Rees 

Monday, February 21, 2011

W. B. Yeats' No Second Troy as a Love Poem

W. B. Yeats is generally regarded as a link between the decadent aestheticism of the nineties and a new realism of the modern age. He is also one of the greatest love poets of the English language and the complexity! The lyric grace and authenticity of feeling of his love poems along with his intensity and his expression of the sense of loss resulting from failure in love all go into ranking him with the other great love poets in the World Literature. Such a typical poem is his No Second Troy. The whole poem is framed out into four rhetorical questions as a means of coming to terms with the reality of his unrequited love relationship with Maud Gonne.

Critical Appreciation of Philip Larkin’s ‘At Grass’

          Philip Larkin’s ‘At Grass’ taken from ‘The Less Deceived’ is essentially a Movement Poem which depicts Larkin’s close scrutiny of life , its maturity and death.

          The poem is about the race horses in their retirement. However, Larkin himself announced that he has never seen any race horse in the field of horse – racing, in which people stock money. Perhaps, he was inspired by a news-reel film on Brown Jack, the race horse in its retirement. The race horses that he describes are no more in their glory; these superannuated horses no longer participated in race. With case and comfort under the cool shade of trees they are grazing:

“The eye can hardly pick them out
From the cold shade they shelter in,
Till wind distresses tail and main;
Then one crops grass, and moves about
- The other seeming to look on -
And stands anonymous again”

Friday, February 18, 2011

Tennyson’s “Ulysses”--- The Representative of Victorian Times

    Tennyson, (1809-1892) a great literary titan, is the representative poet of Victorian Age and mirrors the most vital problem of industrial and moral life – “religious doubts, social problems, the revolt of the cultured mind against a corrupt society, pride in a far-flung Empire, the spirit of compromise so characteristic of the Victorian period”. He was, thus, a truly national poet and from a nationalistic view-point declares;
                “There is no land like England
                Where’re light of day be:
                There is no hearts like English hearts,
                Such hearts of oak as they be”.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sri Aurobindo’s Ccontribution to Indian English Poetry

  Sri Aurobindo Ghosh ranks among the greatest personalities of modern India. He is a multi-faceted genius – a political revolutionary, social reformer, historian, educationist, philosopher, yogi and above all men of letters. He is a journalist, editor, literary critic, linguist, translator, essayist, short story writer, dramatist and more than all of these,a  great poet.

History of English Literature--The Birth of Modern Literature (1890-1918)

The Birth of Modern Literature (1890-1918)

The publication dates of works of literature in the context of important historical, social, and cultural events

Historical events
1903 – Daily Morror started

1914 – First World War starts. Huge recruitment campaign for the Army.  

1917 – Russian Revolution

1918 – Woman over 30 gains vote.

1921 – Irish Home Rule Bill passed, warnings of possible civil war(1914).  Irish free state established
1891 – Tess of The D’urbervilles – Hardy

1895 – Almayer’s Folly – Conrad
1895 – Time Machine – H. G.Wells
1897 – Nigger of The Narcissus – Conrad

1898 – Plays: Pleasant and unpleasant – Shaw

1889 – The Wanderings of Oisin – Yeats

1907 – The playboy of The Western world – Synge.

1910 – Justice – Galsworthy
1915-- The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock- T S Eliot

1916-- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man- James Joyce
1917-- Prufrock and Other Observations- T S Eliot

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Why Does Tragedy Give Us Pleasure?

In  Poetics, Aristotle gives us the definition of tragedy: “A tragedy then, is a imitation of an action that is serious and also, as having certain magnitudes, complete in itself; in language with pleasure accessories in kind brought in separately in the parts of his works; in a dramatic, not in a narrative form; with incidents arousing pity and fear, where with to accomplish its ‘catharsis’ of such emotions”.  It is obvious from the above definition that tragedy concerns with action, but not with the ordinary actions of men. It concerns with those actions which - ‘are serious and also, as having certain magnitudes complete in itself’. In this context, Aristotle refers to another pre-condition of tragedy by saying that tragedy must evoke an emotion of ‘pity and fear’ in the mind of the spectators.

Friday, February 11, 2011

W. H. Auden’s “The Unknown Citizen” as a Satirical Poem.

W. H. Auden, (1907-1973) , a major poet of the modern period ,is typically modern in his choice of subject, technique and articulation. Like T.S. Eliot he represents the dreadful picture of a modern spiritual ice-age in his poetry in his perspectives of history, theology and philosophy. Using the desolate and rocky background of Post-War Europe of 1930’s he delineates the rise of dictatorship, the exploitation of the poor and under privileged, economic disparity, spiritual bankruptcy, anxiety and boredom of modern life. Thus his real subject for Poetry is man and his day-to-day activity, and nature is merely cinematic setting for that activity.It is quite an anti-romantic approach to life and sometimes tragic in vision.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Soliloquy in Macbeth -- an Important Dramatic Convention

Soliloquy is a solo speech in a dramatic language in order to communicate “the inner structure and working of mind in a character”. It is described as “the outcome of natural situations on the state of character’s emotions”. Characters do, and at some length what person never do – speak alone for a considerable length of time, and in verse too. But the soliloquy has the unique ability to suggest the subtleties of the hidden self of the speaker. In the Elizabethan dramatic tradition soliloquy became widely use as a vehicle for subjective utterance and became an important dramatic convention. Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, Dr. Faustus all contain important examples.
Much like a monologue a soliloquy and its imaginative space convey a great deal of information about characters their inner most thoughts, feelings, passions and motives. In Macbeth too much of the psychological and philosophical interest of the play reside in them. The soliloquies of Macbeth are more like interior debates, a fascinating aspect of Macbeth’s motivation.

          Shakespeare uses ample soliloquies in Macbeth to show the soul of the tragic hero trapped in the conflicting desires and motif. In the very first soliloquy of Macbeth we find him contemplating over the murder of King Duncan and its possible consequences. Just before the murder of kind Duncan, Macbeth ponders over the very thought of it and says :
          “When it is done, then ‘twere well
          It were done quickly: If th’ assassination
          Could trammel up the consequenees, and catch
          With his surcease success……..”
                                                          (Act I Scene VII line 1-7)
If there were an end of the matter as soon as the assassination was committed, then it should be done immediately; if it were not follow by a net of evil consequences, and bring success immediately, if it would lead to no punishment in this life then he would risk judge in the after life. What seems clear is that Macbeth is constantly changing his mind. His imagination is in the grip of a powerful tension between his desire to see himself as king and his desire of the immorality of the immediate consequences, which he knows will be disastrous.

          In the next soliloquy just before the murder of Duncan, Macbeth sees the fearful vision of a blood stained dagger leading to him to Duncan’s chamber. He addresses the hallucination of the dagger. He tries to grasp it but cannot and knows it is the product of his overheated brain.
          “Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
          To feeling, as to right? Or art thou but
          A dagger of the mind, a false creation
          Proceeding from the heat oppressed brain?” (Act 2.Scene1.Lines 36-41)
It’s important to stress the imaginative tensions in Macbeth’s character before the murder and to appreciate his divided nature. That’s why summing up his motivation with some quick judgment about his ambition  is something one should resist. That resolves the issue too easily. In fact, Macbeth, in a sense, is tricked into murdering Duncan, but he tricks himself. That makes the launching of his evil career something powerful and complexity about the nature of evil in the play.

          However, Lady Macbeth thinks a little water will solve their immediate problem; Macbeth knows that is not too easy. He cannot live with what he is done and remain the same person. He says in a find soliloquy:
          “Will all great Neptunes ocean wash this blood
          Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather
          The multitudinous seas incarnadine
          Making the green one red”. (2.2.59-62)

Just after killing Duncan Macbeth continues to murder his way in the frantic desire for peace of mind enroute evils. The great bond that links him to other human beings does virtually disappear, so that the pursuit of his desire for inner peace makes him careless and less for anything life has to offer. Macbeth spinning his dehumanization utters the most poignant soliloquy:
          “I have lived long enough. My way of life
          Is fall’n into the sere, the yellow leaf,
          And that which should accompany old age,
          As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends,
          I must hot look to have, but in their stead
          Curses, not loud but deep, mouth honour, breath
          Which the poor heart would fain deny and dare not.”
Thus at the news of his wife’s death, he responds in low key and bitter. In one of the overly greatest speeches in all of Shakespeare, he accepts the news with a horrifying calm:
          “She should have dies hereafter.
          tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow
          creeps in this petty pace from day to day
                                      out, out, brief candle.
          Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
          That struts and freets his hour upon the stage,
          And then is heard no more. It is a tale
          Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
          Signifying nothing.”                 (5.5.16-27)
This famous speech acknowledges fully the empty mockery his life has become. His life has become an insane farce, not because he no longer has any power or physical security, but because he has ceased to care about anything, even about his life.

          The theatrical metaphor quoted in the last soliloquy resonates throughout play. Macbeth has, in a sense, tried to seize control of the script of his life, to write it in accordance with his desires, in the clear knowledge. Thus all of the soliloquies of Macbeth become a close scrutiny of study of evil and of a conflicting soul of Macbeth’s personality.

      Ardhendu De  

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Wilfred Owen's “Attitude to War’” -- Analysis of 'Futility'

Move him into the sun -
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields unsown.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.
Think how it wakes the seeds, -
Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides,
Full-nerved, - still warm, - too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
- O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth's sleep at all?

Wilfred   Owen's  “Attitude to War’”

The First World War left a broad and deep mark on the literature of the World. Aldington’s ‘The Death of a Hero’. Ednund Blunden’s ‘The Undertones of War’, the poetry of R. Brooke, Owen and Sasson are the most remarkable products of the War Literature.  Wilfred   Owen is a realist and exposes the ugliness and horror of the War. He points out the lie hidden in the dictum – “Dulced of decorum est pro patra Mori”. His poetry of war underlines – “My subject is War, and the pity of war. The poetry is in the pity …… all a poet can do today is to Warn. That is why the true poets must be truthful”.

“Futility” is a poem about an unnamed English soldier who died in a snowy evening while fighting in France. Read More Poetry   The poem makes a fancy into pathos and irony that the sun might still revive him. The poet requests some who are present at the spot to move the dead soldier into the sun as the sun is the cause of blossoming of all lives or living organism. But the poet’s wish is not fulfilled. The poet tells us to think how the kind, old sun wakes the seeds – how it once woke the earth on which life developed by the heat of the sun. the poet seems to feel the limbs of the dead soldier still warm which grew out of clay; but all in vain. The poet only questions the purpose of generating life of it was to end in this way in the battle field. Read More Poetry
“Move him into the sun –
Gently its touch awoke him once”,

War begets war only. It can never bring peace by any means. It can only bring the large scale of death and destruction to human life and properly. It is basically – “the organized butchery of young boys”. Read More Poetry   The arm-chair politicians, the War-mongers, the opportunists are the dealers of war; the outcome in the name of profit is nothing but the toll of huge human lives. Soldiers are sent to the war-front only to be doomed. They went the battlefield with the faces ‘grimly-gay’. The ideals of the military strength and supremacy of state are as undependable as forts that are not Walled – “none will break ranks though nations trek from progress”. In a letter to his mother Wilfred   Owen Wrote – “I feel my own life all the more precious and more dear in the presence of deflowering of Europe. Read More Poetry  While it is true that the guns will effect a little useful weeding, I am furious with chagrin to think that Minds which were to have excelled the civilization of ten-thousand years are being annihilated and bodies, the product of eons of Natural selection, melted down to pay for political status”.

 Wilfred   Owen’s had an intense pity for suffering humanity – he knows that it should be alleviated. This is the keynote of ‘Futility’. Here the soldier is killed in the unknown battlefield of France. He stands for suffering humanity. Moreover, the sun which is the nature’s generated power creates all sorts of life cannot restored the life of the dead soldier. Hence, it is also an ironic comment on Christian faith in man. Read More Poetry
The poem ends not with a statement but with three questions which the poet does not answer but leads us to think. The poem sounds a warning against the ghastliness and destructive power of war that causes sheer Wastage of life – “Eternal vigil is the price for the gift of poetry”.

Wilfred   Owen is realistic in his outlook and exposes the pity and horror of war. He states his protest against the dehumanizing ugliness of war with a directness which is the result of deep and sincere feelings.  Wilfred   Owen had appalling personal experience of the war; he exposes the hollowness of any glorification of war by poets, politicians and by ‘neurotic cripples searching for their masculinity’.

Referential Reading of my other essay:

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An English Teacher;    M. A.(English) , D. Ed., B. Ed., UGC- NET Qualified

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