English / Musee Des Beaux Arts
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Autor: anton 12 July 2011
Words: 430 | Pages: 2
In the poem Ð²Ð‚ÑšMuseÐœÐƒe des Beaux ArtsÐ²Ð‚Ñœ W. H. Auden scrutinizes the position of human suffering in everyday life. The first stanza of the poem is a general depiction of the indifference society exhibits toward the distress of others. Opening the poem from the perspective of the Ð²Ð‚ÑšOld MastersÐ²Ð‚Ñœ, the poet states that the artists of the Renaissance period understood the nature of human suffering: Ð²Ð‚ÑšHow well, they understood / Its human position; how it takes place / While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along (lines 2-5)Ð²Ð‚Ñœ. These lines indicate that human suffering is predominantly perceived as an individual burden, insignificant and unimportant to the rest of society. The poet notes how an extraordinary event, such as the Ð²Ð‚Ñšmiraculous birth (line 7)Ð²Ð‚Ñœ, seems less significant from the point of view of those who are not concerned with it: children skating on a pond. To the waiting aged, however, the miraculous birth is of utmost importance as they themselves are nearing death. Auden recognizes the details of daily life; while Ð²Ð‚Ñšsomeone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along (line 4)Ð²Ð‚Ñœ. It is during the daily activities of many people that one person is experiencing extraordinary events like dying or birth. The majority of society not directly affected continues with their daily lives Ð²Ð‚Ñšthe dogs go on with their doggy life (line 13)Ð²Ð‚Ñœ.
In the second stanza Auden moves from general indifference toward general tragedy, to the specific suffering of Icarus as portrayed by BrueghelÐ²Ð‚â„¢s painting. The poet uses a more ekphrastic approach and depicts, as the painting does, the ploughman continuing with his chores while Icarus succumbs to death. He describes Ð²Ð‚Ñšhow everything turns away/ Quite leisurely from disaster (lines 15-16)Ð²Ð‚Ñœ to underscore the indifference of the others present. IcarusÐ²Ð‚â„¢ Ð²Ð‚Ñšforsaken cry ( line17)Ð²Ð‚Ñœ was possibly heard by the ploughman Ð²Ð‚ÑšBut for him it was not an important failure (line 18)Ð²Ð‚Ñœ, even though it was the same sun that shone on him and Icarus Ð²Ð‚Ñšwhite legs (line 20)Ð²Ð‚Ñœ Auden then pays attention to the detail of a passing ship that observed IcarusÐ²Ð‚â„¢s plight, calling it both Ð²Ð‚ÑšexpensiveÐ²Ð‚Ñœ and Ð²Ð‚Ñšdelicate.Ð²Ð‚Ñœ This illustrates that to the sailors, the death of a boy is relatively insignificant when compared to the ship and itÐ²Ð‚â„¢s impending destination Ð²Ð‚ÑšThe expensive ship that must have seen/Ð²Ð‚Â¦ a boy falling out of the sky (lines 20-21)Ð²Ð‚Ñœ. The poem concludes after that despite the death of Icarus, the sun continued to shine and the ship sailed Ð²Ð‚Ñšcalmly onÐ²Ð‚Ñœ to where it had to get to.
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