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Waste Land By Eliot Essay Research Paper

Waste Land By Eliot Essay, Research Paper In T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land there are several allusions. The most profound allusion in the poem is relayed through the character of Tiresias. Tiresias is a

Waste Land By Eliot Essay, Research Paper

In T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land there are several allusions. The most profound

allusion in the poem is relayed through the character of Tiresias. Tiresias is a

blind prophet who shows up in several different literary works. In The Waste

Land Tiresias is an allusion to Christ. This allusion is best illustrated in

section 3 of The Waste Land "The Fire Sermon". The first description

involving Tiresias occurs in "The Fire Sermon", "I Tiresias

though blind, throbbing between two lives, / Old man with wrinkled female

breasts I can see (ll 218-219)." The first impression the reader is given

of Tiresias is of a blind man who is old and wrinkled, but able to see things.

Tiresias sees many things throughout the poem. According to J.G. Keogh in, O

City, O City: Oedipus in The Waste Land, "Tiresias can imagine how things

look from what he hears: the clatter of breakfast things, the thudding of tins,

the sounds of the typist’s young admirer as he gropes his way downstairs in the

dark (pg.194)." Tiresias is able to use his other senses to see what is

going on around him. He becomes an observer of everything around him. Tiresias

is used in the poem as the observer of the typist and her young lover. He sees

all of the hurt going on between the characters. Tiresias states that, "And

I Tiresias have foresuffered all / Enacted on this same divan or bed

(ll.243-244)." Tiresias seems most Christ like at this moment in the poem.

According to Steven Helmling in The Grin of Tiresias: humor in the Waste Land,

"Tiresias participates in the suffering he sees, like Christ; and he has

foresuffered all like Christ (pg.148)." Tiresias sees and feels all that

the typist and her lover are going through. God is a common figure throughout

the poem The Waste Land. Tiresias is most God like in his emotions towards the

lovers. According to Sukhbir Singh in Eliot’s The Waste Land, "The

Christian doctrine of suffering and sacrifice for others is rooted in the

message that the savior delivered to his disciples before the crucifixion

(pg.47)." Tiresias shows his suffering for the typist and her lover when he

states that he has, "foresuffered all." Tiresias states that, "I

who have sat by Thebes below the wall And walked among the lowest of the dead

Bestows one final patronizing kiss, And gropes his way, finding the stairs unlit

(ll. 245-248)." Tiresias admits that he has seen the suffering of the

lovers and he feels great compassion for them but he must leave them to fend for

themselves. He only sees the future. He is not able to make them do the right

thing he is only able to show them their errors. Thus the reason that he

patronizingly kisses them because he can only show them their mistakes.

Throughout the poem The Waste Land there are several different allusions. The

most complex allusion is that of Christ shown through the character of Tiresias.

During the poem Tiresias exhibits many God like qualities. In conclusion

Tiresias is used in The Waste Land as a allusion to God by not being able to

visibly see the world around him but by emotionally looking at all the things

around him.

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