The poem, "Musee des Beaux Arts" written by Auden, is a poem that explores how people respond to tragedy and the struggles that they go through in life experiences. The poem's title is French for 'Museum of Fine Arts' which is located in Brussels. The poem is written in a way that it seems that it is two separate poems.
"Musee des Beaux Arts" is a poem written in free verse. This means that the poem is "free" of meter, regular rhythm, or a rhyme scheme. This poem has varying line lengths and an irregular rhyme pattern. In Auden's poem, his long irregular lines, subtly enforced by the irregular end rhyme pattern, create a casual, conversational air more prosaic than poetic. The casual, easy-going argument the tone suggests is ironic for the topic of discussion, the human position and its seeming indifference to suffering, is anything but light and easygoing. Auden's poem is distinguished by two parts which relate to one another much like the octave and sestet of a sonnet. The poem is marked by a definite break or turn in thought. The first thirteen lines of the poem introduce the poem's theme and discuss it in general term, while the second half of the poem develops and illustrates the general idea with a specific example. In the poem "Musee des beaux arts," the line which starts "In Brueghels's Icarus....." seems to interrupt the flow of the whole poem, nearly making it two separate poems. The poet mentions in his poem that most great artists only notice the details they want and what is pleasing to their eyes. These artists put there focus only on what they find important and not the whole story. The poet observed that the focus of the painting was on the sun, the delicate ship and the green water, with Icarus in the background drowning. In "Musee des Beaux Arts", Auden is comparing Icarus to a martyr suffering, or is making a point about suffering itself, that suffering takes place while someone else is eating, or opening a window, like the farmer in the...
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