Journey Of The Magi Essay

1237 words - 5 pages


T.S. Eliot’s Journey of the Magi

This Christmas poem is about the Epiphany and was created the very year of Eliot’s conversion to Christianity (Fleisner, 66). Therefore the theme of religion is an important one if we are to analyse the poem correctly. In the book of Ephesians in the Bible, Paul describes the rebirth of the world upon Christ’s death, emphasising the Ephesians’ new life (2:4-5). This theme of death and rebirth is present in the poem Journey of the Magi, which, I will argue, is structurally and internally divided into three stages; corresponding to the Sacrament of Penance: contrition (guilt), confession and satisfaction.

To understand this poem, one has to understand the impact that Christ had on the World. At the time of his birth, however, the known world was not stable; people worshipped many gods, and we get a full description of the way life was by the Magus who narrates his story of their journey to Bethlehem to witness the end of an era and the birth of a new one.

According to the Oxford Dictionary of the Bible, "contrition is a penitent’s spiritual sorrow for the sins he has committed, and it necessarily includes hatred for such sins, as well as the determination to avoid them in the future." In the first stanza, this "spiritual sorrow" is apparent by the contrast Eliot uses, of the Magi’s difficult journey. In fact, the central focus of criticism has been on the journey; the "cold coming" (line 1) during "the worst time of the year" (line 2), emphasising the climatic statement of the stanza: "A hard time we had of it" (line 16). The Magus talks of their sorrowful past life of ease, the times they "regretted…the silken girls bringing sherbet" (lines 8-10), and in the same way that they are ‘physically’ moving towards Christ, they feel they are progressing spiritually, putting a personal ban on the sinful lives they have had. This act of contrition seems genuine because they are pressured by the "voices singing in [their] ears, saying/ That this was all folly" (lines 19-20). These are the voices of the camel men, the hostile cities and the unfriendly towns, voices that tempt the wise men to cease their foolish journey and fall, once again, into spiritual degeneration. In the end, the difficulty of the journey comes to remind the Magi of their previous life and thus urges them forward.

	The second stanza moves into the third stage in the Sacrament: satisfaction, which is the obligatory penance that follows the confession of sins. In keeping with the first stanza which elaborates the difficulties of the journey, Eliot does not depict the primary aspect of satisfaction (the fulfilment of penance) in stanza two, but rather the secondary aspect, which, according to the Oxford Bible Dictionary is a "medicinal purpose…[assisting] the penitent to resist relapse into the same kind of...

Find Another Essay On Journey Of The Magi

How do the composers of "I'Robot", "The Matrix", "Ozymandias" and "Journey of the Magi" explore the concept of change?

1167 words - 5 pages Change can be for the better or for the worse depending on how it is viewed, how it promotes growth and defines and shapes who we are. The concept of change is explored in many ways through the chosen texts. The composers’ convey their own perception of change and its consequences through the use of different techniques. The texts used to explore these concepts are “Journey of the Magi” (T.S Elliot), “Ozymandias” (P. B

Nature and Conversion Imagery in T. S. Eliot's "Journey of the Magi": A Review of Criticism in Books

879 words - 4 pages Criticism of T. S. Eliot's "Journey of the Magi" suggests that the images of nature and conversion are representative of the ambiguity of the world. The images of nature are at times beautiful--as in the "fertile valleys" and "running streams"--but are also ominous and dark in other portions of the poem. Images of conversion are also both positive and negative, as they are intended to convey a sense of hope and uncertainty--just as conversion

How did T. S. Eliot's "The Journey of the Magi" and "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" reveal some of the major concerns of its context?

1019 words - 4 pages T. S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and "The Journey of the Magi" reveal some of the major concerns of their early 20th century Modernist context. Through continuous use of imagery, ambiguity, repetition, allusions and purposeful contortion of lines and sentences, Eliot demonstrates the importance of the inner self, innovation, religious questioning, an uninviting and bleak society and a flaunting of conventions, themes commonly

Adoration of the Magi

1288 words - 5 pages The artwork, Adoration of the Magi, can be portrayed, comprehended, and viewed in many opposing styles, but the significant aspect of this narrative imagery is commonly shared within all versions. The emphasis surrounds the baby Jesus Christ who is depicted as royalty and one with high power, but this representation is debatable. The purpose of this essay is to compare and contrast two reproductions of the Adoration of the Magi, and here one

Gift Of The Magi Analysis

855 words - 3 pages O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi" encompasses an array of fictional elements. In particular, the theme of selfless love that transcends all barriers in the face of adversity is emphasized. This is portrayed through Henry's system of narration as well as the individual actions taken by the characters as an act of love. The short story's universal themes and ironic outcome has subsequently resulted in much critical acclaim. Of prominence were the

Monica and the Tower Of Magi

1017 words - 4 pages As Monica walked into the Tower of Magi, she wished that she had never become a knight. Monica did not look very menacing to the untrained eye for she was no taller than five feet and had straight brown hair, but her father was a trained swordsman and as a girl she was taught to duel. King Arthur had chosen Monica specifically for this task because he knew that Monica had a experience in dueling and defeating mages. As Monica took out her sword

The Adoration of the Magi One piece of art work,

1726 words - 7 pages The Adoration of the Magi One piece of art work, that I found to be beautiful was Bernard Van Orley's painting entitled, The Adoration of the Magi, from around the time of 1515. It contains a charming portrayal of Mary holding the baby Jesus, surrounded by the wise men and a crowd of people. The painting has a very peaceful setting, which adds to the wonderful feeling that portrayed though this it. This work of art immediately struck me as being

The lesson in The Gift of the Magi

1441 words - 6 pages surprising end which bears a sense of endlessness. All these characteristics of a good short story are fulfilled in the short story of O Henry's The Gift of the Magi. The story contains Porter's characteristic ironical twist at the end that is surprising and at the same time striking to the readers. Jim and Della's bold self sacrifice for the sake of love comes unexpectedly to the readers, but none the less convincing and admirable. O. Henry (William

Comparison Essay On "gift Of The Magi" And "the Necklace"

1299 words - 5 pages Comparison Essay The two short stories, "The gift of the Magi" written by O. Henry and "The necklace written by Guy de Maupassant are both composed of two young, beautiful women Mathilde and Della. Even though they are in different composed stories that have similar characteristics that convey throughout the story such as, they are both emotionally and financially depressed, have loving husbands, and both want to achieve something in an

The Dragon and the Magi/ An analysis of China

6155 words - 25 pages shape the 21st century in its entirety. America is the world's biggest economy, China's is the third largest; in terms of population, China tops the list and America sits comfortably in third; the two nations are also the largest consumers of oil and the largest emitters of greenhouse gases. Combined the two nations make up almost a quarter of the world's population and one third of the world's GDP. When one also considers these two nations both have

The Consequences of Journey

549 words - 2 pages English Essay. 18/03/14 2:19 PM"There are many consequences of journey."- Negative effects.- Positive effects.- Impact, result, outcome.- More than one.- Physical.Individuals face a variety of negative and positive outcomes throughout journey such as adaptation and self reflection. "Drifters" and "Migrants" by Bruce Dawe and "Land's Edge" by Tim Winton communicate the many aspects of journey by the array language techniques and forms."Drifters

Similar Essays

Ts Eliot Journey Of The Magi Analysis

2192 words - 9 pages T.S. Eliot's poem "Journey of the Magi" interprets the wisemens' trip to go see baby Jesus from a different perspective than most of us are used to hearing. The biblical version that is most popular doesn't seem to mention anything bad or difficult about the journey that they made. The wisemen had a lot going against them to make their traveling terrible. It was in the winter, they rode on smelly camels, and the upset camel men were no comfort

Voice In T.S. Eliot's The Hippopotamus, The Hollow Men, And Journey Of The Magi

1877 words - 8 pages Voice in T.S. Eliot's The Hippopotamus, The Hollow Men, and Journey of the Magi Poetry has meaning. This meaning is usually a message, and a message is projected though a voice. When we read poetry we hear this voice. The voices projected in the T.S. Eliot poems 'The Hippopotamus', 'The Hollow Men' and 'Journey of the Magi' are particularly strong, and the voice carries a lot of meaning to the readers. The voice is three

Comparing Journey Of The Magi By Eliot And Pygmalion By Shaw

1149 words - 5 pages T. S. Eliot’s poem ‘Journey of the Magi’ is rich in content, imagery, symbolism and above all Biblical References. The poem throws some powerful questions to all the readers and seeks answers from them. This poem is very deep and hard to understand at the very first reading. Its charm lies in its complexity and ambiguity. Here the poet talks about journey of three wise men from East and their struggle. Their journey starts at a very tough time

Renewal In Yeats' Second Coming And Eliot's Journey Of The Magi

2486 words - 10 pages Renewal in Yeats' Second Coming and Eliot's Journey of the Magi         Both William Butler Yeats' "Second Coming" and T.S. Eliot's "Journey of the Magi" present a renewal process, but each one focuses on different goals and subjects; Eliot on a particular person's transformation, whereas Yeats predicts a renovation of the entire world as a result of an escalation of chaos. And while Yeats attempts to present a definite picture of what he