Seamus Heaney Research

Good Essays
Seamus Heaney’s North is a collection of poems which examine the poet’s native Ulster from both a historical and contemporary viewpoint. The book is divided into two sections. Part one examines Ulster in terms of historical and geographical connections to the Viking and those individuals sacrificially buried in Danish Bogs. Part two an eloquent series of personal poems which yield the poets more direct reactions to the violence and helplessness which have engulfed his land. Heaney can be seen to have drawn inspiration for his work from both early and lifelong influences, primarily the childhood building blocks of language and environmental surroundings. "His poetry shows a powerful devotion to the earth, particularly to the landscape and soil of his native Northern Ireland. But Heaney is equally dedicated to language." Not only is Heaney devoted to his subject matter and sources of stimulation, his poems are also seen to be very inspirational and relevant to general life issues. His connection to nature and the rural areas of Ireland are quite extraordinary.
As Heaney scrutinizes the mortuary of the past he also interrogates the myths of the past, he also interrogates the myths that motivate or sanction those acts which fill its halls with corpses. Heaney continually dwells on the innocents who are compromised by such myths. He communes with the defeated and the banished. Antaeus killed by the ‘hero’ Hercules. Heaney poses examples of the vicious sacrifice, of violence provoking more violence and delivers a protest that wavers between moral outrage and stoical resignation. The 1966 poem ‘Antaeus’ which, though printed in North, belongs to Door into the Dark, is sympathetic to Antaeus, who was refreshed in strength whenever he touched the earth. Only at the end of this youthful poem does Antaeus envisage a destroyer who might ‘plan, lifting me off the earth/my elevation, my fall’

Hercules represents the balanced rational light while Antaeus represents the

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