Saturday, 31 October 2015

Marina (poem) by T.S. Eliot

Marina                                   T.S. Eliot

T.S.Eliot is an American poet settled in England. He is one of the greatest poets of twentieth century English literature. He has been awarded the Order of Merit and Nobel Prize for literature. Eliot became famous with his masterpiece “The Wasteland”. In this poem sparkling with irony, Eliot compares England to a desert and proves that the cultures of other ages and centuries make the world better than England. Besides being a poet, Eliot is also a great critic and playwright. “Murder in Cathedral” is his most famous poetic play. T.S. Eliot’s “Marina” is based on Shakespare’s play “Pericles, Prince of Tyre”.  Marina is the only daughter of Pericles. Being born at sea, she was named Marina which means “of the sea”.  Soon Pericles loses her.  But later he finds her miraculously. So Shakespeare’s play ends in reconciliation.  To Eliot Act I of Vth scene in the play is the most important where reconciliation takes place. Marina is the symbol of reconciliation and redemption. In the poem “Marina”, Pericles is awakening after a nightmare of doubts and dangers. All of a sudden the realisation bursts on him that all the doubts and the dangers are replaced by wonder and miracle of miracles, that long lost Marina appears on the deck of the ship before his eyes.
2.Eliot uses a number of images to make the mental state of Pericles clear to the reader. The epitaph is taken from Seneca’s play Hercules Furens. Juno was angry with her stepson Hercules and made him mad. In his madness, Hercules killed his wife and children and then he fell into a deep sleep. When he woke up he became sane. His exclamation forms the epigraph.  What place is this?  What region?, What quarter of the world?  Eliot skillfully contrasts the tragic awakening of Hercules to the joyful awakening of Pericles. At first Pericles could not believe his eyes. He never thought that his long lost daughter would come back to him. That is why he exclaims joyfully what place is this? What region? What quarter of the world?

3.  In the opening lines of the poem Marina, the poet describes the calm sea and the seashore is shone with the sweet smell of pine trees and the beautiful song of the thrush (bird). Pericles is happy that his long lost daughter has come back to him.

4. In the second stanza, Pericles recalls the injustices and cruelties he has suffered at the hands of his fellow men. The image “dog” is a metaphor of evil. Another image of evil is the “humming bird feeding on insects while flying in the sky” shows the cruelties of Pericle’s fellow-men who pretend to be sincere but stab you on your back with a smile. Another image is that of a rotten ship built by Pericles and a new ship to be built by Marina. While standing on the sea shore Pericles sees a vision of divine beauty. Marina becomes a vehicle of grace and a metaphor for the divine. She is a symbol of God’s mercy and grace. The discovery of Marina has something divine about it. She has brought her father “another life”.  For the poet, Marina is a symbol of resurrection.
1.       Who is Marina?
2.       What does Eliot’s Marina symbolise?
3.       What is the theme of Eliot’s poem Marina?
The joyful reconciliation of a father and her long lost daughter is the theme of the poem.
4.       What is the contrast implied in the epigraph of “Marina”? – 2nd paragraph of the essay.
5.       What is divine about the discovery of Marina? – answer is given in the 4th paragraph
Paragraph question: Comment on the imagery in “Marina”  - answer is given.
Essay: Write an appreciation of Eliot’s “Marina