Shield of Achilles

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The Shield of Achilles
W.H.Auden

1. Central Feeling/Themes
A Juxtaposition between the cultured and civilized world and the corrupt and oppressed world War
A Lack of freedom and independence
Drawing the line between reality and the image one chooses to see The irony of what something that looks marvelous (what Thetis sees) is actually disastrous (what Hephaestos portrays on the shield)

2.What happens
- Thetis goes to Hephaestos to create a shield for her invincible, "iron-hearted", "man-slaying" son, Achilles. - She expects to see prosperous "well-governed" cities, but she sees a lack of freedom and an artificial sense of wilderness. - There is a place, which is "bare and brown", with no sense of life on which where many people who lacked the ability to think for themselves, had gathered to listen to the orders of a "voice without a face" - She expects to see a celebration, a ritual complete with libation an d a sacrifice, but instead, on the altar she watched as three prisoners, bound and gagged were to be publicly executed. - An accepted and silent sight, the prisoners had given up much before they died. They didn't expect help and they didn't get it. - She sees a young men and women, growing, enjoying themselves and dancing, but they had no dance floor, no nurture, no support, only an uncared for "weed-choked field" - A homeless man takes rape and betrayal for granted and can't imagine a life with love, compassion and friendship - Thetis sees all this and is dismayed. As the epitome of motherly love and nurture, she cannot accept the shield which portrays the reality and shows the truth about her "iron-hearted, man-slaying" son who has bound to "not live long"

3.Images/Metaphors
1. The first image is that of the well-governed city. At first the city looks prosperous (the abundance of vines and olive trees) and "well-governed" (spic and span marble buildings). Ships sail on "untamed seas" -- the quest for knowledge. The word "untamed" also refers...
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