Land By EliotIn T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land there are several allusions. The most profoundallusion in the poem is relayed through the character of Tiresias.
Tiresias is ablind prophet who shows up in several different literary works. In The WasteLand Tiresias is an allusion to Christ. This allusion is best illustrated insection 3 of The Waste Land “The Fire Sermon”. The first descriptioninvolving Tiresias occurs in “The Fire Sermon”, “I Tiresiasthough blind, throbbing between two lives, / Old man with wrinkled femalebreasts I can see (ll 218-219).
” The first impression the reader is givenof Tiresias is of a blind man who is old and wrinkled, but able to see things.Tiresias sees many things throughout the poem. According to J.G. Keogh in, OCity, O City: Oedipus in The Waste Land, “Tiresias can imagine how thingslook from what he hears: the clatter of breakfast things, the thudding of tins,the sounds of the typist’s young admirer as he gropes his way downstairs in thedark (pg.194).” Tiresias is able to use his other senses to see what isgoing on around him.
He becomes an observer of everything around him. Tiresiasis used in the poem as the observer of the typist and her young lover. He seesall of the hurt going on between the characters.
Tiresias states that, “AndI Tiresias have foresuffered all / Enacted on this same divan or bed(ll.243-244).” Tiresias seems most Christ like at this moment in the poem.According to Steven Helmling in The Grin of Tiresias: humor in the Waste Land,”Tiresias participates in the suffering he sees, like Christ; and he hasforesuffered all like Christ (pg.148).” Tiresias sees and feels all thatthe typist and her lover are going through.
God is a common figure throughoutthe poem The Waste Land. Tiresias is most God like in his emotions towards thelovers. According to Sukhbir Singh in Eliot’s The Waste Land, “TheChristian doctrine of suffering and sacrifice for others is rooted in themessage that the savior delivered to his disciples before the crucifixion(pg.47).” Tiresias shows his suffering for the typist and her lover when hestates that he has, “foresuffered all.
” Tiresias states that, “Iwho have sat by Thebes below the wall And walked among the lowest of the deadBestows one final patronizing kiss, And gropes his way, finding the stairs unlit(ll. 245-248).” Tiresias admits that he has seen the suffering of thelovers and he feels great compassion for them but he must leave them to fend forthemselves. He only sees the future. He is not able to make them do the rightthing he is only able to show them their errors. Thus the reason that hepatronizingly kisses them because he can only show them their mistakes.
Throughout the poem The Waste Land there are several different allusions. Themost complex allusion is that of Christ shown through the character of Tiresias.During the poem Tiresias exhibits many God like qualities. In conclusionTiresias is used in The Waste Land as a allusion to God by not being able tovisibly see the world around him but by emotionally looking at all the thingsaround him.English Essays