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Thomas Stearns Eliot


Life


He is born in USA from an English, very serious and religious family. He escape to Paris, where there is an opener mentality. He transfers to London where, in the 1915, he marries a ballet dancer. His family isn’t agree for this marriage, and decides to don’t give him money any more to live, and so he starts to work. He know Joyce and the intellectuals of the period, being agree with their ideas. He write in these years Proufrock, who represents the ant – hero. In 1927 he becomes an English man refusing to be American, and he converts to the catholic church. His wife, in these years, becomes crazy, and he leaves her in an asylum. From this moment he changes the theme of his production, and he is left form the circle of Joyce, seen as a traitor.

Works


Waste land (1922): land is seen as the desert

The love song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1915).

Journey of the magi

Cocktail Party (1950)


After the conversion he writes about the problems of modern man, but he proposes another solution (with hope, that is another level from Prufrock). He modifies the form, the genre: he begins to write plays, to reach, to communicate to every one. The starting point of this play is the crisis, common theme of al the character. It is the description of the moment in winch they are facing a serious problem of their life. Every character lives an Epiphany, a personal epiphany. Every character has a past full of betrays, of sins and errors. But, in different with Prufrock and Joyce’s characters, they can speak with another person, they can reveal their secret and so take conscience of their trouble, limit, situation, and decide to solve it. He overcomes paralisys.
Every character ha a personal limit:
-Edward isn’t able to decide anything;
-Lavinia thinks she’s a victim;
-Celia is passionate, che loves loving, but she isn’t the wife, she build her life on a dream. She can’t accept a middle way, a compromise; she needs something enough, something total.
Edward & Lavinia: at the start between them there isn’t love, but is an habit. Lavinia’s leave provokes, opens the way to a new possibility. Edward at the start is like Prufrock, but he has the possibility to change. His problem is that he doesn’t know who is himself; rather his wife knows it but here, in different with Prufrock, there’s hope, the possibility to go out from their situation, and to find a solution. Edward in front of reality recollects good and nice past. His attitude is escape from reality. Edward and Lavinia betray each other, they accuse each other, thinking to know perfectly and completely each other. When doctor Reilly speaks to them the y discover that they aren’t able to love and to be loved: they’re isolated. Their reaction stars again facing the problem, not considering the last event happened. They consider again their relation and their situation: the troubles remain but now they’re able to face them. Crisis: how to solve this situation? Reality con help you, you can solve your problem only if you involve in this question: you have to live your problem.
Peter: with him starts the problem of what is reality, of what is truth of the past. He thinks about love, but doesn’t live it his reactions built by his mind thoughts, thinking some events, some signs.
Celia: she is in love with Edward. At the starting point she considers doctor Reilly like a devil (because he was against her scheme, because he is helping Edward’s marriage): so what is against her thoughts is negative. Theme of dream: in front of negative things (the impossibility to remain with Edward), she becomes attaches to the dream (that is remain with Edward). Her change happens when she meets doctor Reilly. She asks him if she can love something that exist only in her mind. She asks him if she can ever love and to be loved by someone; if she can heal from the hungry of something that she can’t belong. Doctor Reilly answers that there are two ways: the first is the known and normal way, the marriage, the relation with a man; the second is the faith born from desperation, that is true but unknown, so it needs faith. She chooses the second way (she become a nun and goes to mission).
Doctor Reilly: he doesn’t say to any characters what they have to do, but he helps theme to consider what they’re already thinking; he proposes ways to solve the situations (Celia for example would work for her salvation). The proposes of doctor Reilly are something from which start, it isn’t a jump in the empty. There isn’t a better way than another, both are good, but you have to choose completely one, to live in a compromise.
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