Perplexing Symbolism in “Muse’e Des Beaux Arts”

Topics: Meaning of life, Art, Life Pages: 3 (912 words) Published: April 4, 2013
Perplexing Symbolism in “Muse’e des Beaux Arts”

Thesis: However diminutive Auden’s poem may be, the exquisite example of Auden’s uses of symbolism ironically have little to do with French art, as one might initially deduce, and everything to do with life, death, and the careless world that persists on after each expiration of life.

I. Symbolism in the title
A. Translation of the title and irony in the symbolism of title.
B. Excerpt from poem.
C. Linking the title to Breughel’s artwork.
II. Symbolism of life and death
A. Birth and joy, death and mourning.
B. Ease of life persisting on after one’s death.
C. Arguments of Auden symbolizing Jesus’ persecution.
III. Symbolism in Icarus reference
A. Auden’s use of Breughel’s Icarus to create symbolism.
B. Life, death, progression in artwork symbolized.
C. Connection between symbolism and moral in artwork and symbolism in poem. IV. Conclusion
A. The truth behind the symbolism Auden uses.
B. How this truth relates to the humanity of mankind.

Perplexing Symbolism in “Muse’e des Beaux Arts”
W.H. Auden is deemed to be one of the most majorly influential poets of the twentieth century by Contemporary Authors (1). Auden’s poem “Musee’ des Beaux Arts” although diminutive, creates a wonderfully strategized poem which few literary devices are contained. However diminutive Auden’s poem may be, the exquisite example of Auden’s uses of symbolism ironically have little to do with French art, as one might initially deduce, and everything to do with life, death, and the careless world that persists on after each expiration of life.

The title of the poem is titled “Musee’ des Beaux Arts”, translated from French to English is defined as meaning “The Museum of Art”. At a glance of the title alone as earlier stated, a reader might deduce that the poem’s subject will speak of, describe, or depict some aspect of a French art museum. Contrarily, the writer Auden’s labeling...

Cited: Contemporary Authors Online. Gale. Web. 2004.
Delbanco, Nicholas, and Alan Cheuse. "Muse 'e des Beaux Arts." Trans. Array Engl 1302. Michael Ryan. 1st. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010. 159-160. Print.
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