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The Poem Is Milton's "Lycidas". Through The Course Of This Paper I Attempted To Analyzethe Many Layers That Co Exist With In The Poem. In Order To Convey My Understanding I Applied Meta Poetics

4238 words - 17 pages

Milton's multi-layered poem "Lycidas" is a literary work with a variety of interpretations and meanings. One of the many angles from which we can attempt to understand the poem is the meta-poetic level. Meta-poetics is quite a wide range of ideas, which generally can be described as dealing with authorship and the poet's relations with the audience and the poem itself, as well the exploration of the process of writing a poem. The meta-poetic, or ars-poetic, tone will concentrate on identifying Milton's emotional and psychological experiences in the process of creation-his intentions, hesitations and hopes-all in the light of the fascinating triangle of poet-poem-audience. The focus will be on the formation and reformation of Milton's psyche in the poem, as a reflection of himself and as a work of art.When reading a work of literature, and a poem in particular, the reader must always bear in mind the poet's position and involvement in the text, but we usually use it to reach a deeper insight about the meaning of the poem. On the other hand, the ars-poetic imagination, which will be used in this paper, will try to look at the meaning as created equally by the poet and by the poem itself. In this vision, a poem is the documentation of life, as a reflection of the psyche, a portrait of the author as an artist and a philosopher, and eventually as a human being. This would be a good place to mention that Watterson quotes in his notes Harold Bloom, saying that "a poetic text, as I interpret it, is not a gathering of signs on a page, but is a psychic battlefield upon which authentic forces struggle for the only victory worth winning, the divinating triumph over oblivion". The scope of this realm of interpretation is probably too wide, and therefore I will only providea glimpse at the man behind the poem, touching this rich world of content, mainly through the post-modern psychological theories regarding the poem.The complexity of the poem demands from us a familiarity with some ofthe more basic, though not less intriguing layers of "Lycidas", beforewe move to the deep levels of interpretations. The poem was written as an elegy lamenting Edward King-a schoolmate of John Milton whose short life ended with a unfortunate drowning. The poet declares in the head-note that besides lamenting his friend, he will also engage in foretelling the fall of the "corrupted clergy", which implies a political and ideological critique. This initial statement develops certain expectations in the readers' minds-expectations regarding the tone and the themes discussed in the poem.After this head-note, the poem begins with a mourning tone, warning the natural world of his grief and sorrow-"I com to pluck your Berries harsh and crude/ and with forced fingers rude" (3-4). Only then, with a slight delay over his melancholic mood, the poet invokes the muses to assist him in his mission of creating a poem-"begin then, Sisters of the sacred well" (15). After securing the support of...

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