Style And Personality In Marlowe's Hero And Leander And T.S.Eliot's The Waste Land..

2498 words - 10 pages

While poetry as a medium typically imposes stylistic and structural conventions, it is interesting that the correlation between style and personality is still very much present and accountable. In Marlowe's Hero and Leander and T.S.Eliot's The Waste Land, the poet's personality overrides the conventions of the poem in two very different examples. Eliot's poem is of a new style and structure, which demands attention due to the imaginative form and highly complex intellectuality interwoven between the sections. Which is seemingly in contrast to Marlowe's work, which is with in a traditional poetic structure and form of an 'Ovadian narrative poem', using a traditional story and his foundation, Marlowe's enigmatic personality becomes very much apparent through his imaginative take on the tale of "Hero and Leander" as told by Ovid and Mausaeus.Yet if Ovid gave it form and subject, the poem is marked by Marlowe's unique style of extravagant fancy and violent emotion. Perhaps the most famous instance of these qualities in the poem is the opening description of Hero's costume, which includes a blue skirt stained with the blood of "wretched lovers slain" and a veil woven with flowers so realistic that she is continually forced to swat away bees. The final encounter of the two lovers is even more frenzied, with the two at times appearing closer to blows than to embraces. The emotion while frienzied is controlled by the formal structure of the epillyon. Ostensibly, it is a narrative poem that relates the tragic love story of its two eponymous protagonists, but this narrative is a vehicle for the exploration of a wealth of different emotional states from desire to frustration to embarrassment. The highly charged eroticism of the poem is a topic critics attribute to his own sexuality and it is from this idea, that we begin to see the negative correlation between personality and style. It is Marlowe himself that has always been the principal focus of Marlowe criticism. Traditionally, it has been argued that his life makes sense of - and is a model for - his art since he seems to project so much of his enigmatic personality and of his milieu into his work. Biographical criticism has its limitations and the tendency to read Marlowe's poetry through his life may be reductive. For example, in 1951, F. L. Lucas dismissed the Neptune Interlude in Hero and Leander (lines 650 710) as simply Marlowe exhibiting his own homosexuality in verse. When the amorous Neptune first approaches him, the puzzled Leander tells him, "You are deceived. I am no woman, I ". "Thereat smiled Neptune" as so surely the reader does in a brief moment of shock and Marlowe's characteristic wit. Whilst this suggestion is hardly falling far from the tree, I would suggest the Neptune interlude is more than an inclusion of barefaced sexuality but a polymorphous exploration in to sexuality it through a veritable cacophony of different sexual experiences, desires, orientations, and feelings just as...

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