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Yeats's Purgatory and Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral - Essay Example

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Yeats's Purgatory and Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral

Yeats, within the limited scope of this one act play, has elevated certain basic aspects related to humanity and his personal understanding of ongoing trends in modernist social existence. Application of symbolism, in this context, has helped him to represent his ideas to the audience in a thought-provoking manner. Yeats’ comment about the play itself provides this observation a strong foundation, “I wish to say that I have put into this play not many thoughts that are picturesque, but my own beliefs about this world and the next” (Yeats; Jochum, 2006: 223). Title of the play is both significant and symbolic enough to provide a clear idea to the audience that the dramatist wishes to portray an impression of purgatorial existence and in the very opening scene, the backdrop of the play reasserts this realization. There are only two characters, an old man, and his son, and the audience is introduced to them on the background of “a ruined house and a bare tree …” (Yeats, 1994: 51). Through this play, Yeats did not try to give an impression of the destruction and barrenness of the external world but he actually attempted to show the audience a purgatory that exists within. Here the house becomes a symbol of safety and peace but trivialities of the modern world have ruined that ambiance of solace and security. The world that becomes poignant through Yeats’ play is a world of corrupted morals and in this world, even the closest of our relations are always ready to slay us. This is such a world where love, affection, and respect for life do not carry any important for the inhabitants. ...Show more

Summary

 In the paper “Yeats's Purgatory and Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral” the author analyzes symbolist movement in the modern discourse of literature. Eliot's poetry and Yeats’ dramatic works are also replete with impressions of such symbolic usage…
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