Books and Movies Reviews

The Shield of Achilles

The shield at once acts as an emblem to art and a historian, in that it reflects the civilization off certain time. It was specially made for Achilles by Happiest, the blacksmith of the Gods. The mother searches the shield for: For vines and olive trees, Marble well-governed cities And ships upon untamed seas, But there on the shining metal His hands had put instead An artificial wilderness And a sky like lead. It reflects the hollowness and futility of a life that verges on nothingness.

The word ‘artificial’ points to the superficiality of this sort of life. The sky like ‘lead’ echoes the metallic, frigid and cold human behavior. The plain is without any feature; it has no individuality, There is no blade of grass, o vegetation and therefore, it is barren. There is no sign of neighborhood and no communion. In an era of competition, people have a shortage of the basic amenities to living. What foregrounds the background to Thesis is a multitude of soldiers, The soldiers wait for the command of their leader.

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They are an “unintelligible multitude”, just like a herd of cattle with no ability to rationally think or speculate, They are “without expression”: without the power to communicate. The modern life is one that is based on logic and reasoning. It is characterized by a lack Of sentiment. Just as the tone was ‘dry and level’. The issue for war was not discussed with the multitudes: it was an authoritarian assessment. Statistics were enough to prove that the cause was just. The face ordering the same is not visible either, he has no identity, and is therefore, a construct by himself.

The line: “NO one was cheered and nothing was discussed,” echoes Tennyson “The Charge of the Light Brigade”‘ Theirs not to make a reply Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die. Thesis searched the shield for scenes pertaining to Greek life (as depicted on Keats’ Grecian urn). The phrase ‘white flower garlanded heifer echoes the name, The term ‘ritual pities’ also reflects the same. The ‘libation’ refers to the pouring forth bowfin in honor of a God In the flickering forge light in the dim light of the blacksmith’s workshop, she observes yet another scene.

The scene is of a concentration camp where prisoners offer are kept. Officers cracked jokes to while away their time. The enemy soldiers amidst such callousness are captured and tied to three stakes and killed. The irreverence of the picture is a reminder to the crucifixion Of Christ filled with overwhelming reverence. The modern society vita the loss of religious conviction is juxtaposed against an act hat is emblematic Of the redemption Of mankind. The image depicted here is a travesty of Chrism’s ordeal.

The claustrophobia of confinement and enslavement is referred to in the line: “Barbed Wire enclosed an arbitrary spot. ” The people of the world are cheated by the so-called commander into the logic of their reason. Little did the common people comprehend that though they were small in comparison, nothing could be done without their acceptance. They could not hope for help, and therefore, no help came. Nevertheless, redemption lay in their own hands. They die before their bodies as their self-respect is crushed ender the totalitarian forces.

She looks for athletes at their games, and men and women in dance rhythmically swaying their limbs to the beat to the music. However, in the reflective shield that she held there were no such ‘healthy’ images but only those of decay and decomposition – “a weed-choked field’ What one is finally left with is aimless, impulsive people out to hurt each other for no reason at all just as the ‘ragged urchin’ mentioned People regress into primitivism and develop animal-instincts. Unwarranted violence, rape, broken promises and lack of humanity was the order of the day.


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