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JOURNEY OF THE MAGI BACKGROUND The Journey of the Magi is a topos of Christian painting and literature.

It refers to the journey of three wise men mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew. In the New Testament of the Bible, the birth of Jesus was attended by a new star. Some "magi" followed the star, which they saw as indicating a new king in the astrological house of the Jews, and came to pay homage. These men are assumed to be three in number, because they brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. According to Herodotus, the word "magi" refers to a sacred sect of astrologers in Medes who provided the priests of Persia. Only Matthew provides an account of the veneration by the magi. The account of the visit, in Matthew 2, has been a popular topic for Christian art and literature. The scene has been found in the earliest Christian pictorial art, and it was a popular tableau in the Renaissance. While the number of magi is indefinite in Matthew, tradition settled on three (as the three would mirror the trinity and because of the gifts) and gave them names. Indefinite is also the exact time when the Magi visited Jesus. Although it is fixed that they were present at the nativity, the text itself does not state it for certain. Some have interpreted it as that they visited Jesus when he was grown due to the word 'house' in Matthew 2:11. The 'Magi' are the wise men from the East who followed the star to Bethlehem to pay homage to the new born Jesus (Matthew ii, 1-12). There are several hypotheses about their identity. The Magi of ancient Persia, were a powerful priestly caste but later the name was also applied to magicians and soothsayers. The 'East' referred to in Matthew is believed to be Mesopotamia, Persia, Arabia or Babylon. In Christian art the Magi are seen to wear Persian clothes. There number is three, probably based on the three gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh (Matthew ii, II). Their names are Gaspar, Melchior and Balthazar. According to Matthew's version when Jesus was born, the Magi asked King Herod the whereabouts of Christ's birthplace, for they had seen his star in the east and had come to worship him. Herod sent them to Bethlehem. When the Magi departed on their journey the star guided them. The journey of the Magi is an important event in the history of Christianity. In this poem Eliot describes the hardships of the journey and invests the experience of the Magi with a significance of his own. Having seen the infant Jesus the Magi can no longer rest content with their old religious beliefs. The poem seems to be an indirect reference to Eliot's own conversion to the Anglican Church. The poet describes his experience of conversion in terms of the spiritual experience undergone by the Magi. Hence, the poem has allegorical implication. ABOUT THE POEM In the 20th century, T. S. Eliot wrote a poem entitled "The Journey of the Magi". The poem was written after Eliot's conversion to Christianity and confirmation in the Church of England in 1927 and published in Ariel Poems in 1930. The poem shows deep influence of the French poet and diplomat Sainte John Perse (1887-1975), whose Anabase Eliot translated into English between 1926 and 1930. The poem is an account of the journey from the point of view of one of the magi. It picks up Eliot's consistent theme of alienation and a feeling of powerlessness in a world that has changed. In this regard, with a speaker who laments outliving his world, the poem recalls Arnold's "Dover Beach", as well as a number of Eliot's own works. The poem is, instead of a celebration of the wonders of the journey, largely a PC/TSRS-DLF/ENG-XII/06 Page 1 of 10

complaint about a journey that was painful, tedious, and seemingly pointless. The speaker says that a voice was always whispering in their ears as they went that "this was all folly". The magus seems generally unimpressed by the infant, and yet he realizes that the incarnation has changed everything. He asks, ". . . were we led all that way for Birth or Death?" The birth of the Christ was the death of his world of magic, astrology, and paganism. The speaker, recalling his journey in old age, says that after that birth his world had died, and he had little left to do but wait for his own end. There are at least two formal elements of the poem that are interesting. The first is that the poem maintains Eliot's long habit of using the dramatic monologue a form he inherited and adapted from Robert Browning. The speaker of the poem is in agitation and speaks to the reader directly. His revelations are accidental and born out of his emotional distress. As with other works, Eliot chooses an elderly speaker someone who is world weary, reflective, and sad (cf. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock , Gerontion, the Tiresias narrator of The Waste Land, and possibly the narrator of The Hollow Men). His narrator in this poem is a witness to historical change who seeks to rise above his historical moment, a man who, despite material wealth and prestige, has lost his spiritual bearings. Secondly, the poem has a number of symbolist elements, where an entire philosophical position is summed up by the manifestation of a single image. For example, the narrator says that on the journey they saw "three trees against a low sky"; the single image of the three trees implies the historical future (the crucifixion) and the spiritual truth of the future (the skies lowered and heaven opened). These features are not "symbols" in the usual sense. They are physical features that contain what the Symbolists would see as a transhistorical truth. This is notable in that Eliot, although using symbols throughout his poetic career, did not write in a Symbolist manner as often in the middle of his career, as he had moved instead toward a more fragmentary view of human perception of truth. NOTES Lines 1-5. This section is a modified quotation from Lancelot Andrewes' (1555 1626) Christmas sermon preached before King James I in 1622. Eliot chose to begin his poem with this quotation because Lancelot Andrewes' attitude to the journey the Magi performed is the same as his own. In his sermon Andrewes emphasized the arduous nature of the journey. He says that what the Magi found at the end of the journey was neither solace nor wisdom but an inexplicable mystery. Eliot published this poem soon after his baptism and confirmation in the Church of England and he is dramatizing in the person of the Magus a struggle for harmony he felt in his own soul. The Magus could have felt, Eliot thought, what he himself had been feeling: the experience of conversion without the full benefit of assured faith. The part of the sermon which is adapted here is: "A cold coming they had of it, at the time of the year, just the worst time of the year to take a journey, and especially a long journey in. The ways deep, the weather sharp, the days short, the sun farthest off, in solstio brumali the very dead winter. Immediately before this passage Andrewes reviews the hardships of the journey. The rest of the poem appears to be a meditation upon this quotation. One should imagine that the lines from Lancelot Andrewes are being read to the Magus and that this occasions his own flow of memory. Lancelot Andrewes was a bishop renowned for his preaching and theological writing. He was also one of the translators of the Authorized Version of the Bible. L.1. The journey was cold and uncomfortable, as it was winter. PC/TSRS-DLF/ENG-XII/06 Page 2 of 10

L.2. Winter is the worst time of the year. In the northern hemisphere winter season consists of December, January and February. L.3. Winter is not a good time for travel; it is particularly unsuitable for long journeys. L.4. Ways deep: ways led through narrow valleys or the ways were deep in snow. Sharp: harsh L.5. The very dead of winter: the coldest part of winter L.6. Camels galled: The camels had painful swelling on their bodies. Sore-footed: Their feet were injured and so painful. This made them ill-tempered. Refractory: difficult to control; unruly L.7. Lying ...snow: The camels tended to lie down in the snow which melted under them because of body heat. ' L. 8-10. At times the Magi regretted that they ever set out on this journey. They knew they could have enjoyed themselves in summer palaces built on mountain sides; they thought of the level outdoor areas (terraces) where they could sit and watch things; they thought of the beautiful girls who used to bring them drinks. All this filled them with regret. L.10. The image of the silken girl was suggested by a line in Perse's Anabase (Canto V) "our scented girls clad in a breath of silk webs." Sherbet: a kind of fizzy drink L.11. Note the participial syntax used in the first 16 lines. Lines 11 and 12 describe the behaviour of the camel men. Grumbling: complaining L.13: Night fires going out: They slept around bonfires at night. The fires sometimes went out be- cause they did not have enough firewood to keep it going. L.14. Hostile: inimical. Both the hostile cities and the unfriendly villages remind the Magi violent contrast of the places of contentment they have deserted. L.15. The villages were dirty; the villagers charged high prices for their services. L.17. At the end they decided not to have regular rest at night, possibly because that way they would be able to save time. Further, that would make them less dependent on the people who charged high prices. L.18. In snatches: not continuously L.19. The worst affliction was their own nagging doubt whether they had acted foolishly by undertaking the journey. The voices singing in their ears might stand for their own doubting selves. L.20. Folly: foolishness L.21. Then... valley: In the morning they found themselves in a valley which had temperate climate. This transition from darkness to light is highly symbolic. It makes us think of the birth of Christ which marked PC/TSRS-DLF/ENG-XII/06 Page 3 of 10 by their

the end of an age of spiritual darkness. The early morning descent into the valley of temperate climate suggests the dawn of the New Dispensation. The images in line 22 strengthen the suggestion of life in line 21. Words and expressions like dawn, below the snowline, vegetation and stream suggest light, warmth, life and activity. Dawn: morning Temperate: (of climate) moderate in respect of temperature Line 22. Below the snow line: snow line is the lower edge of the permanent snowfields found on upper mountains. The snow line is at six kilometres above sea level in the subtropics. In some places (Western Alps e.g.) it is between two and three kilometres above sea level. Smelling of vegetation: As the Magi descended the mountains at night, they became aware of the smell of vegetation. In the upper reaches of the mountains there were no plants. Some of the images that appear in lines 23 -27 are Eliot's private images. For him they are charged with emotions. Every person, Eliot believes, has a collection of such images. They recur in whatever we write. L. 23. The water mill beating the darkness: A water mill is a small mill with machinery driven by water. The Magi passed by it in the pre-dawn darkness and it appeared to them that the mill was beating the darkness off. This is yet another image that suggests the incarnation of Christ. 'Beating the darkness' suggests, according to Elizabeth Drew, the triumph and victory of Christ, a conquering that reaches its climax with Christ's return to glory at the end of time. L.24. And ...trees: The morning showed them three trees etched against the farther end of the valley. Although the Magus is not aware of the significance of the image, the reader readily links it with the three crosses on Mount Calvary. Lines 24 and 25 thus prefigure Christ's birth and crucifixion respectively ( see Luke 23:32-33). "And there were also two other malefactors, led with him to be put to death. And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him and the malefactors, one on the right hand and the other on the left." . L.25. An old white horse ...meadow: The Magi saw an old white horse galloping across the meadow. It appears a casual detail but it is fraught with symbolic significance. The white horse suggests Christ the Conqueror, riding on horseback. The line alludes to St John's ,Revelations (VI.2). "And I saw and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering and to conquer." Some critics have suggested that the old horse running away may stand for the old religious beliefs displaced by the coming of Christ. As a critic has put it "the horse is symbolic of the death of paganism (religious beliefs that existed before Christianity) under the onslaught of Christianity." L.26. Tavern: It reminds one of the place where Christ was born. We read in Luke (11.7) that Mary laid the child in a manger because there was no place for them in the inn. Vine leaves: The lintel of the door was covered with vine leaves. 'Lintel' is the horizontal piece of the door supporting the weight above. The grape vine is the legitimate symbol for Christ. In John XV.1. Christ refers to himself as the true vine. "I am the true vine and my father is the husbandman." The word 'lintel' also possesses symbolic overtones. In the Old Testament God commands Moses to kill Iambs and sprinkle the blood on the lintel. "And they shall take of the blood and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the house where they shall eat it." (Exodus X11.7) Between them, lintel and vine foreshadow the coming together of the old and new testaments. L.27. As they pass by, the Magi see through the open door, six men engaged in gambling. They were casting dice. A dice is a cube of wood, plastic, etc used in games of chance. They were casting i.e. throwing dice for pieces of silver. This action foreshadows two events in the life of Christ. First, it alludes to the PC/TSRS-DLF/ENG-XII/06 Page 4 of 10

betrayal of Christ by Judas for thirty pieces of silver (Matt. 26.14-15) and secondly the Roman soldiers casting lots for the robes of Christ at the crucifixion. "And they crucified him and parted his garments casting lots." (Matt. 27.35) L.28. And... wine-skins: A richly allusive line. The Magi see the gamblers kicking the empty wine-skins (Wine-skin- skin of goat etc. sewn together to make primitive wine-vessel). The empty wine skin is symbolic of the empty worn out forms and rituals of the Old Dispensation. The action suggests that the new spiritual vine that Christ is offering' needs new wine-skins to store it-that is the new dispensation cannot be contained by the old, worn out wine-skins of Jewish traditions. (Cf. Matthew 9.17): "Neither do men put new wines into old bottles: else the bottles break and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottle and both are preserved." Further, the line alludes to the feast of Cana, where Christ performed his first miracle by turning water into wine. (John 2.1-11). There is here the suggestion that the empty wine-skins, whatever they may stand for, will be a thing of the past in the New Dispensation. L.29. No information: The Magi made enquiries but nobody could furnish them any information. L.30. And arrived at evening: The journey to Bethlehem took an entire day. Lines 30-31: Not a moment too soon... way: Arriving on time. It was.. .satisfactory: Eliot does not show the Magi as rejoicing at the sight of the divine child. They find the experience 'satisfactory'. As they approach the manger, they begin to experience the pain of conversion. While witnessing the divine birth, they experienced a death within themselves: the death of their old selves. In making the Magus say "it was satisfactory" Eliot was influenced by a passage in Lancelot Andrewes' Christmas sermon. "What did the Magi find? No sight to comfort them; not a word for which they any whit the wiser; nothing worth their travel" L.33. I would do it again: I do not regret having made the journey. I will repeat the journey if I hear the inner call again. Set down: "Journey of the Magi" is a dramatic monologue; the Magus tells his listeners to note what he says in a special way. Cf. Lancelot Andrewes: "Secondly, set down this". Possibly ,the Magus is telling the story of their journey for the benefit of the listener who is making a record of these experiences. L. 35:39. In this stanza "death" and "birth" are used four times each. While witnessing the birth of Christ, they experienced their own death; they were reborn with Christ but in order that they may be reborn their old self had to die. All conversions involve pain as Eliot very well knows from his own experience., L.39. Hard and bitter agony: Witnessing the divine birth was a hard and painful experience for us. The equation between birth and death was suggested probably by R.B. Cunninghame Graham's short story "The Fourth Magus" (1910). Nicanor, the fourth Magus, is delayed on the way. He reaches Israel 33 years late. On the way to Bethlehem, he hears of Christ on the cross. "It is now time to rest. Fate has deprived me of the joy of being present at the birth of him the star announced; I can at least be present at his death .. .and birth and death are not very different, after all." L.41. No longer at peace: The Magi's own people have not yet undergone the conversion they have undergone. Consequently they feel themselves strangers in their own countries. They and their people worship different gods .The point to be remembered here is that, as a critic has put it, "the birth the Magus saw began the death of the old world, old life, but did not with the same certainty, give him anything new." Old dispensation: the old spiritual order or system. The spiritual distance between the Magus and his people is such that they appear aliens or strangers to him. L.43. I should.. .death: I am waiting gladly for my death. PC/TSRS-DLF/ENG-XII/06 Page 5 of 10

CRITICAL APPRECIATION Eliot wrote "Journey of the Magi" for Faber and Faber whose practice it was to publish poems by eminent poets on Christmas cards in connection with Christmas. It is a Christmas poem in the sense that it deals with an important part of the Christmas story, namely the visit the Magi paid to the infant Christ. ' But it is not a regular Christmas poem. In the poem the spotlight never falls on the infant Christ. The poet devotes only one line to describe the Magi's actual meeting with the divine infant. The poem focuses on the effect the meeting had on the Magi. Looked at from the point of view of the Magus, who is the speaker of the poem, "Journey of the Magi" is a personal poem in which he tells the story of a conversion-the conversion to the new dispensation of Jesus Christ. In fact the Magus is narrating the story of the author's own conversion to the Church of England immediately before the composition of the poem. In this sense "Journey of the Magi" is a record of the spiritual pain involved in every conversion or process thereof. In form, "Journey of the Magi" is a dramatic monologue- a typical dramatic monologue. Generally a dramatic monologue has three elements-the speaker, the listener and an important index moment (the moment on which the dramatic monologue is uttered, usually a moment that is tense with the apprehensions of the future and the memories of the past). The poem is weak in respect of the second and third elements. The Magus, the speaker of the poem, tells the story of the Magi's visit to Bethlehem to a scribe who is presumably recording it. In a dramatic monologue the listener is silent but his presence is indicated by the poet through indirect references. There are no such indications in Eliot's poem. The index moment too does not have the dramatic poignancy of a regular dramatic monologue. Usually a poem by Eliot is not at all easy to understand. This poem, however, is an exception to this rule. There is no obscurity, no .clutter of allusions, and no toying with difficult ideas. It is this basic simplicity of the poem that has made it a favourite anthology piece. . The poem illustrates certain aspects of Eliot's theory of poetry. Eliot says in one of his essays that .every poet has a collection of personal images which are charged with emotion. These images tend to show up whenever the poet writes on some deeply felt topic. The images of the wind-mill, the horse running away in the meadow, the six gamblers by the open door etc. are examples of such images. Perhaps the most striking feature of the poem is the use of symbolism. The passage of the Magi from the cold darkness of the hills to the valley below the snowline is suggestive of the spiritual rebirth that they are going to experience. The three trees at the farther end of the valley and the six hands dicing for pieces of silver are crucifixion symbols in that they refer respectively to the three crosses on Calvary and the betrayal of Christ. The empty. wine-skins and the old horse galloping away in the meadow are symbols of the old order which must necessarily change yielding place to the new. The 'vine leaves' on the lintel is an authentic symbol for Christ who has described himself as the true vine. All this makes "Journey of the Magi" an enjoyable poem-simple, smooth flowing and rich in meaning. MAJOR IMAGES FOUND IN THE POEM First Five Lines: The first five lines were "lifted from Lancelot Andrewes's Nativity Sermon of 1622, and modified"; Eliot happened to be himself steeped in Andrewes at the time . . . but basically he used them because he needed a second voice to precipitate the poetic drama. They must be understood as being read by, or to, the magus and thereby occasioning his own flow of memory" (Barbour 190-91). Cities Hostile: According to Dean, these are "all places which remind the travellers, by their violent contrast, of the place of contentment they have deserted" ("Confrontation with Christianity" 76). Traveling through these forboding places, "Eliot's Magus hastens to end an unpleasant journey; what he 'regretted' is the vanishing of 'the silken girls bringing sherbet'" (Harris 840). PC/TSRS-DLF/ENG-XII/06 Page 6 of 10

Temperate valley: Dean points out that the early morning descent into a "temperate valley" evokes three significant Christian events: "The nativity and all the attendant ideas of the dawning of a new era . . . the empty tomb of Easter . . . as well the image of the Second Coming and the return of Christ from the East, dispelling darkness as the Sun of Righteousness" ("Confrontation with Christianity" 77). Wohlpart adds that the Magi's dawn arrival is "symbolic of the new life attained from their penance" (57). Beating the darkness: Dean notes Elizabeth Drew's view that "'beating the darkness' can refer to the triumph and victory of Christ, a conquering that could occur in the events of Christ's earthly life, or in His resurrection, or in His return in glory at the end of time" (Quoted in Dean, "Confrontation with Christianity" 77). Three trees: To Dean, the image of the three trees "seems clearly to be a reference to the crosses of Calvary" ("Confrontation with Christianity" 78). Barbour writes, "It is appropriate that his [the Magus'] language . . . unwittingly evoke [sic] the Crucifixion" (195). White horse: Dean refers to Robert Kaplan and Richard Wall's suggestion that "the white horse is 'perhaps a reference to the militaristic and conquering Christ of Revelation . . .'"; "However," he continues, "there is nothing in the poem to indicate that the horse is being ridden; on the contrary, it seems more natural to assume that the horse is riderless . . ." ("Confrontation with Christianity" 78). Dean also quotes Kaplan and Wall's speculation that the horse is symbolic of the "death of paganism under the onslaught of Christianity," and notes Nancy Hargrove's suggestion that "the horse's 'being old . . . perhaps represents the old dispensation that will fade away with Christ's birth'" (78). Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver I And feet kicking the empty wine-skins: alludes to the blood money of Judas, and the suffering of Christ before the crucifixion. The soldiers casting lots at the foot of the cross. Six hands refers to three people: Judas Iscariot (the thirteenth disciple of Christ), Pontius Pilate ( the governor of the Roman province of Judea 26-36 A.D.) and Caiaphas (the Jewish high priest), who were responsible for Christ's death. Satisfactory: R. D. Brown writes that "the obvious meaning [of the word "satisfactory"] is 'expiatory,' payment for a debt or sin" (137). Barbour, however, sees a more complex connotation: "The parenthetical remark/gesture dramatizes a certain drawing back at the end into something between understatement and veracity. The key word is the ambiguous 'satisfactory,' emphasized by rhythm and position, which for us, though not the magus, evokes the Thirty Nine Articles, expiation, and the Atonement" (194). In addition, E. F. Burgess sees the word "satisfactory" as evidence that "every condition of prophecy was met, leaving the alienated magus . . . stranded, suspended between the realization and the consummation of God's plan" (36). Birth or Death It is not that the Birth which is also Death has brought him hope of a new life, but that it has revealed to him the hopelessness of the previous one. He reaches the state of desiring nothing. He does not understand in what way the Birth is a Death. He is not aware of the Sacrifice. He himself has become the sacrifice and reaches, on a symbolic level, the humble, negative stage, that in a mystical progress would be essential for a union with the saviour. Old dispensation: Dean quotes Genevieve Foster's comment that "The birth of the new era involves the destruction of the old" ("Confrontation with Christianity" 79). Barbour writes that "The Birth he [the magus] saw began the death of his old world, old life, but did not, with the same certainty, give him anything new"; the magus is therefore "alienated from everything 'in the old dispensation'" (195). PC/TSRS-DLF/ENG-XII/06 Page 7 of 10

Another death refers to the second coming of Christ. The speaker seeks relief in death to escape from returning to the old way in which he is no longer at ease.

SOME POETICAL TECHNIQUES USED BY THE POET Eliot was inspired by a need of order and discipline, which he readily found in Catholic Christianity. The horrors of the war which destroyed the European order for the next 50 years, made Eliot split himself into two voices - One sentimental and serious and the other derisive and flippant. He felt a poet has THREE voices 1. . One that addresses the audience. 2. The second speaks through a character 3. The third speaks of his own subjects and feelings. He labeled them as (1) Epic poetry, (2) Dramatic monologue, and (3) Lyrical Poetry. His visions are as clear-cut as they are fervent. Poetry must be able to communicate before it is understood. Later in life, Eliot turned towards religious themes, especially Catholicism. 'The Journey of the Magi' is symbolic of a journey representing the spiritual quest of the human soul. T.S. Eliot's work includes much religious poetry. The first five lines repeat what another has said about the journey, then he adds his own list of difficulties and ends the first paragraph with the suggestion that the journey was futile. The first two verses give a very vivid account of the journey to Bethlehem. The third verse is a difficult one. It expresses the idea of the ruination of the old order by the revolution of Christianity. The birth of Christianity has meant the death of the life of the narrator's kingdom 'with an alien people clutching their gods', and the narrator is awaiting his own release by death. Certainly a child had been born, but as certainly they also found Death for he and his friends were dead to their old Jives. They had been born with 'hard and bitter agony' into a new life. The last four lives apply not only to the Wise Men, but to every man who turns to Christ and finds that he is not at ease in his old life; he must give it up and be reborn. The poem closes in a profound paradox. Whose Birth or Death was it? Their own, or another's? Uncertainty leaves them stupefied and uncomprehending of the full splendour of the strange epiphany (celebrated on the 6th of January, to commemorate the manifestation of Christ to the Magi). The 'Kingdoms' mentioned are perfectly sensible in the poem's context, but remind readers of Eliot's work of 'death's other kingdom' and 'death's dream kingdom'. 'Though explicitly Christian 'The Journey of the Magi' forms a bridge over which the reader may cross into the enervating fold of Christianity' and the 'new birth,' or seek relief in death to escape from having to return to the old way in which he is 'no longer at ease.' Christianity is presented by Eliot as an escape from the cycles of birth and death. PC/TSRS-DLF/ENG-XII/06 Page 8 of 10

SOME POETICAL DEVICES 1. Use of varied tones and imagery: a. Tones of regret and difficulties contrasted with summer palaces, slopes and terraces. b. Camel men cursing and grumbling - with silken girls bringing sherbet. c. Vast deserts and the marching camel caravans juxtaposed with reference of melting snow where the camels 'lying down in the melting snow', are 'galled and sore-footed.' d. The traditional landscape is never directly mentioned. e. The poem is deliberately unconventional. There is no mention of gold, frankincense and myrrh, the gifts of the Magi for the newborn babe, that is a popular association. 2. Use of Allusions: 'Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves ever the lintel, Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver, And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.' This extract has the following allusions: a. to the communion through the tavern bush, b. to the paschal lamb whose blood was smeared on the lintels of Israel. c. Six hands dicing for silver - suggests the world of Judas and his betrayal of Christ. These six hands refer to the three men responsible for Christ's crucifixion: Judas, Pilate and Caiaphas. 'Dicing' refers to the soldiers dicing among themselves to win the robes of Christ, and the indignity suffered by Christ. d. 'temperate valley' ... smelling of vegetation, symbols of the arrival of the Magi. e. With 'a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness' - examples of a satisfactory experience and generation of new life. f. 'Three trees on a low sky' - symbols of the Crosses at Calvary where Christ and the two sinners were crucified. g. 'The old white horse' alludes to the second coming of Christ. h. 'alien people clutching their gods' - the savage world trapped in the ritual of birth and death. i. 'Cold coming' - Christ's cold acceptance at his birth. 3. The first Stanza presents the details of the journey that arrives at no vision of experience The present participles, and the arrangement of clauses is without connectives. Then the movement and tone change, with' And' being used with regularity. 4. Alliteration and Assonance - 'cold coming', 'silken girls bringing sherbet', 'camel men cursing and grumbling and running away', 'sleeping in snatches', 'then at dawn we came down..' 'three trees', 'open door dicing for...' 'kicking' and 'wine-skins'. 5. Transferred Epithet - 'silken girls', 'cities hostile and the towns unfriendly'. 6. Free verse has been used with very simple language describing the popular beliefs. It is very suitable for the monologue of a man who has made his own choice. (Free Verse - has short lines, lacks regular stressed patterns, rhythm and rhyme.)


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CONTEMPORARY RELEVANCE T.S. Eliot, who clothed his philosophical inspiration in the most modem garb, presents a scale of rational values, and by religious and ethical thinking offers a wealth of thought in the traditional, organised system of belief. Today when the world is running towards materialism with inflated egos, 'The Journey of the Magi' makes us pause and think of the reality of life. There is not much difference between Birth and Death. 'Birth was hard bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.' The poet is teaching us contentment to submit to 'another death' for our final deliverance from the world of desires and false gods. The poem offers a new hope of life. It points towards the shallowness and hopelessness of the life we live. The journey through this world is: '.. .and such a long journey: The ways deep and the weather sharp.' The aids we have to take us across, falter, run away and comforts disappear. People turn hostile and unfriendly. The circumstances often depress us. 'There were times we regretted. A hard time we had 'of it.' Eliot offers hope in the form of symbols, teaching mankind to look for them all around us. He exhorts us to put behind ourselves our life of senses, humble ourselves and seek true Belief. Initially, we may stand baffled as the Magi were 'Were we led all that way for Birth or Death?', But very soon they realize that they are not at ease in the old life. They wish to tree themselves to receive the dispensation of the grace of God. The poem makes the reader aware of an entire 'new' world order. We cannot really call it 'new', for its an 'old' world order but it makes us see it in a 'new' light, which will help to save the morality 'of the world from degeneration. The-poet seems to say that religion offers hope for all and has an answer for all the ills of life. That is the reason why 'The Journey of the Magi' gains importance in the world of today.


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