The Burial of the Dead - The Waste Land
The burial of the dead is a metaphor for the condition of contemporary man, whose life is meaningless, empty, alienating, and as a result quite similar to death. Traditional myths and symbols are used in an original way and acquire different and sometimes difficult connotations. The lines don't actually have a regular scheme, and the metre isn't traditional. Furthermore there aren't even classical divisions in stanzas, and the lines can be either be composed by two words or normal and short-length sentences which makes them free lines. Even if the poem lacks traditional features, it contains some alliterations here and there, which give it a kind of musicality. Moreover, repetitions of sounds and words are used in order to emphasize a particular aspect of the situation E.G. ''so many…so many''referred to the crowd. Since Eliot is quoting Dante's lines, he's trying to make the city (which is caught during its rush hour) look like Dante's Inferno.
In this passage spring is regarded as a cruel season, since it breaks the illusion of safety and protection created by winter. This unique view of the coldest season of the year is definitely odd, as it breaks with the traditional stereotype of a hostile and glacial period. In this poem winter acquires a positive connotation.
People who are part of the crowd in the City often sigh and continuously fix their eyes before their feet, so it is possible to understand how frustrated they feel.
Stretson is one of the people Eliot meets in the crowd, and he's likely to be identified with Ezra Pound (who used to wear the Stretson hat).
The reference to the First Punic War metaphorically stands for the universal issue due to the dismay of contemporary society (which came from the first World War). Similarly the corpse is a metaphor for the contemporary man, who feels useless, empty and overwhelmed by and alienating reality, which can be compared to death. The sprout probably means a new beginning, like a rebirth, so it represents the victory of life over death.
The Dog the author mentions is probably three-headed Cerbero, which guards the entrance of Hades, the ancient greek god of underworld.
Eliot calls the reader "mon semblable,—mon frère!" (quoting Baudelaire) as they both share the same situation.