T.S. Eliot: Poems

A Metaphorical Reading of T.S. Eliot’s Rhapsody on a Windy Night 12th Grade

T.S. Eliot once remarked that poetry must be difficult. The sentiments of this are expressed in much of his poetry and in his esoteric style, especially in Rhapsody on a Windy Night. If read literally, Rhapsody presents a bewildering scene of confusing, albeit beautifully-written nonsense. However, if read in terms of a series of lexicalised ideas, rather than a sequence of events telling a story, extensive and meaningful interpretations can be drawn. Therefore, it is my belief that a metaphorical stance is necessary to appreciate the full value of Eliot’s Rhapsody.

One initial example of this is in the title; the reference to a ‘windy’ night is not met by any direct reference to wind in the poem. However, if we look at the connotations of wind; change, transmutation and the ephemeral, this ties in with the first line of the poem; ‘twelve o’clock’ is the midpoint between one day and the next, often presented in literature as a time of change, perhaps most famously in Gothic fiction. Therefore the title is a presentiment that change is an important theme in the poem.

Wind is also important in its ability to erode and to deform; this is reflected in the repetition of the ‘twisted’, which pervades the poem. Twisted imagery is used...

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