Thomas Eliot

The Hollow Men
Written in 1925 further develops Eliot’s conception of modern man’s inner emptiness, The short poem describes the dry, spiritually and emotionally sterile nature of modern life seen as a desert, the sense of desolation because life and death are meaningless (last lines of the poem: “This is the way the world ends not with a bang but a whimper”). It anticipates the themes and landscapes of Beckett’s works.

The Four Quartets
Written over a period of seven years, made up of four poems published separately at the beginning and then unified. Each quartet derives its name from a place which was relevant in Eliot’s life and can be associated to the four elements (earth, air, fire, water) or the four seasons (summer, spring, winter, fall).
The structure of the poem is very similar to “The Waste Land” because of the use of free verse, references to other literatures, use of symbols and quotations.

The main theme of the poem is the relationship between time and eternity, conveyed through the image of our present civilization seen as death (silent funeral), emptiness, darkness as opposed to faith which is the only way to survive since even love and hope are limited in time and therefore imperfect.
Thus if we want to defeat Beckett’s useless waiting, we must choose the negative way that is to give up what is material and earthly and to follow the timeless life of the spirit.

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