Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Response to Musee Des Beaux Arts

In this poem, W.H. Auden discusses the notion of suffering not only being everywhere, but also being completely subjective to those who are only at the immediate hand of this “human position”. Auden makes several allusions within this poem, one being in reference Pieter Brueghel’s painting “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus”. In this paining Icarus’ legs can be seen descending into the ocean with the rest of his body; while this disaster takes place the townspeople go about their daily routine. This idea of no one looking up from ones own world to notice a boy falling from the sky parallels, in a very theatrical way, Auden’s main theme of his poem. Another allusion Auden makes is to the virginal birth of Jesus; he notes how the aged waited “reverently and passionately” for this birth. He then jumps out from this allusion and brings up a scene of “children who did not specially want it (the birth) to happen”. This is just one more instance that reinforces Auden’s theme; despite the torture and pain, whether it be great or menial, whether it be the birth of the messiah or not, children will always rather be ice-skating.

1 comment:

  1. Great analysis! I completely agree with your view that Auden is saying that suffering is everywhere and the indifference some people can have towards it. However, you mention that the birth is an allusion to Jesus' birth and that struck me as very interesting. I hadn't thought of the poem in that way but since you mentioned it, I can totally see it that way.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.