Journey of the Magi 

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  • Journey of the Magi
    • Stanza
      • One
        • Lines 1-5
          • Are a quote from a Sermon, written in 1622 for the Nativity
            • But the poem is written mostly from the perspective of the magus, so he wouldn't have known the quote. Eliot also quotes the new testement a lot in this poeem, which the magus would not have
              • Broad narration technique backed up by the use of Anachronism
                • "and the silken girls bringing sherbet." Sherbet did not exist at the turn of the first millennium.
          • Sets up the journey to sound difficult as it's "long" with "weather sharp" in the "very dead of winter."
        • 6-10
          • Talks more about the difficulties of their journey. Their mode of transport has "galled," (is annoyed) and are now "refractory," (they've given up
          • The Magi now regret all the luxury that they lived in, prior to their "journey"
        • 11-15
          • Talks of more hardships. The camel men are running away or complaining about wanting "liquor or women," they can't keep a fire going, there's a lack of shelter, villages are "dirty," "hostile," and are "charging high prices."
            • Second voice is making allusions about things that the magus couldn't know about again, such as how Jesus was born in a manger.
        • 16-20
          • Again, more hardship. The magi decide to only sleep when necessary, so they don't have to prolong the journey any more.
          • There are "voices singing" in the magi's ears, telling them that "this was all a folly." This implies that the 'devil on their shoulders' are looking for an excuse to not continue the journey- how likely is it that the savior of the world was born in a manger?
      • Two
        • 21-24
          • There is a symbolic change of scenery, from the harsh winter into "temperate" Spring.
            • Perhaps the second narrator is using the change of scenery to symbolise the coming of baby Jesus?
          • The "three trees" could be the other narrator talking about the death of Christ, which we know happened in Spring, through the magus again, since two others were upon that hill with Jesus that day.
        • 25-28
          • The "old white horse" that is galloping "away" from the scene in this stanza, could be representative of God or the four horses of the apocalypse. Jesus has either sent the horses away or God is retreating for a while, after bestowing his son upon the earth.
          • There are also some religious allusions in here. First, the word lintel alludes to the story of Passover in which God instructed the Israelites to splash blood over their doors (on the lintel) to protect their first born children. Then we've got the six pieces of silver which could be referring to the Gospel of Matthew, in which Judas is paid thirty pieces of silver for betraying Jesus.
      • Three
        • 32-36
          • Reveals that this all happened " a long time ago," so the magus could be recalling this all in his old age, or it could be that the stanza has rocketed forward in time.
          • The magus tells us that, despite his hardship, he "would do it again." BUT he doesn't know if he was lead to a "birth or death." Of course, Jesus was born, but what about the death?
        • 37-39
          • The magus goes on to tell us that he has literally seen a "birth and death," however, he says that he "thought they were different."
            • The magus may be telling us about the birth of Jesus and the death of him, (the crucifixion), or he could be talking about the death of an era, in which the magi were in charge and had power.
        • 40-43
          • The magi do not come back to the luxury they were hoping for, but instead, they come back to people who seem "alien," clutching their false idols and such.
          • The Magus wishes for a death. His death? Jesus' death? If it is Jesus' death that he is wishing for, is this because Jesus has taken all of his power, or because hi
    • Form
      • Broad narration technique backed up by the use of Anachronism
        • "and the silken girls bringing sherbet." Sherbet did not exist at the turn of the first millennium.
    • Themes
      • Nature
      • Death
      • Religion
      • Suffering
      • Traditions and customs
  • Reveals that this all happened " a long time ago," so the magus could be recalling this all in his old age, or it could be that the stanza has rocketed forward in time.

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