Charles Baudelaire: Poems

What is the rhetorical situation implied by the poem "The Waste Land"

who is speaking, what relationship is it to the reader, are you being spoken to directly, or ignored, or are you overhearing.

Asked by
Last updated by SirCity
Answers 1
Add Yours

The narrator seems to shift a bit. Overall, I'd suggest it's best to think of the narrator as Eliot himself (or some persona of him) who is prophesying the endtimes already come to pass, and occasionally taking the voice of others (like Tiresias in the 3rd section) to illustrate his message. The poem is intentionally disjointed, with the tone shifting somewhat between sections and linked primarily by its pervasive pessimism. I would say the reader/listener is being directly engaged - there is imperative to the words - while not necessarily addressed. This is a cry to mankind, not a particular person.