T.S. Eliot beautifully tells the story of Jesus’s birth through the eyes of a magus who traveled to Bethlehem in “Journey of the Magi.” “Journey of the Magi” was published in 1927 and was a part of a series of Eliot's poems called Ariel Poems. “Religious themes became increasingly important in his poetry” after Eliot converted to Anglicanism.
The title, “Journey of the Magi,” clearly communicates to the reader of what they can anticipate to read. Magi is the plural form of magus meaning “a member of a priestly caste of ancient Persia.” Commonly, people call the three men who visited Jesus wise men and kings. T.S. Eliot does not use the word magi or other similar words. The readers do know, Eliot writes from one of the magi’s point of views as in line forty, “We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,” tells the reader the narrator is a king.
T.S. Eliot uses free verse to write “Journey of the Magi” as it uses no rime or meter. The form is dramatic monologue as the narrator, the magus, is speaking to the listener about his journey. The narrator found the journey hard, but kept persevering until he reached his goal of seeing “a Birth.” Eliot communicates that the magi are strong and determined men as they withstand the journey’s hardships.
“Journey of the Magi” begins with a quote based off of Lancelot Andrewes’s “Nativity Sermon.” The reader can feel the chills of the cold and long journey the magi must endure. The reader is immediately thrust into the middle of the journey rather than starting at the beginning. The narrator uses “we” as he talks about himself and his fellow magi. Their journey has brought regrets as the men think of their summer palaces and girls bringing them sherbet. The regrets have even spread to their “camel men” who run away. Not only is the weather making the magi’s journey difficult, but the villages, towns, and cities are hostile, unfriendly, dirty, and expensive. The magi journey all night and sleep whenever they can. The end of the first stanza ends with: “With the voices singing in our ears, saying / That this was all folly.” It is assumed the voices are indeed the magi’s dark thoughts. It adds a different layer of the struggle the magi face. Internal thoughts can be harder to deal with than cold weather or rude people. The voices are discouraging to the magi, but despite this the magi continue on, showing their strength.
The second stanza brings hope for the magi. The magi at dawn journey down into a temperate...