Journey Of The Magi
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Birth or Death? or Neither?
“I should be glad of another death,” says the speaker in the last line of “Journey of the Magi,” written by T.S. Eliot. In the depth of detailing this line, there is a question of what circumstance or incident would make an individual consider it death and be glad for the final death of life?
In the first stanza of the poem, the speaker describes a cold winter, such a long, hard journey through the roughest of grounds (3-5). Even the camels are exhausted and sore-footed (6). The speaker continues to describe the events which make this journey questionable. For example, there is a lack of shelters, unsanitary conditions in the villages and a lack of friendliness among the residents in the towns and cities (13-15). As the journey proceeds, they decide to travel all night and sleep in shifts in hopes of reaching their destination quickly (17-18).
They arrive at a valley and believe they have reached their sight (21). It is wet and smells of vegetation (22). It even has a running stream, a water-mill, trees and an old white horse (23-25). These are all conditions of a civilized and peaceful environment. However, when they arrive at a tavern which appears to contain lifeless individuals who have no information this allows them to determine that they must move on and continue their journey.
The speaker states that, after this long journey, they finally arrive at their destination and are there to witness a birth. He then questions the worthiness of it all and compares it to his own death.
The speaker has seen both birth and death as stated in line 37 although he does not fully understand. He accepts the fact of birth but is perplexed by its similarity to this death, and to death which he has seen before. I believe this birth and death leaves the speaker mystified and unaroused to the full splendor of the strange epiphany.
In my opinion, I believe this poem refers to the journey of a l...
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