top-rated free essay

The Forge by Seamus Heaney

By niamhshaw Jan 08, 2013 748 Words
The Forge by Seamus Heaney 1969
‘The Forge' is a sonnet with a clear division into an octave (the first eight lines) and a sestet (the final six lines). While the octave, apart from its initial reference to the narrator, focuses solely on the inanimate objects and occurrences inside and outside the forge, the sestet describes the blacksmith himself, and what he does. Heaney begins with the line All I know is a door into the dark. This can be interpreted as the blacksmith stepping out of reality; into the ignorance of darkness. As he steps through the door it brings him back in time via his memories, as can be seen in the next line as he goes on to tell of the old axles and iron hoops rusting outside. The adjectives old and rusting create the impression of age; that they have been affected by time. Heaney portrays the scene inside the hammered anvils short-pitched ring... He wants to depict to the reader what a true forge was like. Also, he creates the idea that the anvil was necessary and vital in metal production by describing the anvil as hammered. The writer attempts to prove to the reader how useful and, in turn, well used it was. The unpredictable fantail of sparks... Heaney uses this line to contrast with the order of today’s manufacture which is quite the opposite of his idyllic memory. He tries to persuade the reader that the forge, when in the height of its success, was a picturesque and almost perfect entity.

Hiss - Heaney uses the literary device of onomatopoeia throughout the poem. This is incredibly effective and, perhaps, unrivalled in its ability to incorporate the auditory sense into any piece of literature. This also portrays the noisy, busy environment of the forge. Furthermore, he uses hard and sharp vowels and consonants to further the illusion of authenticity. Another literary device used by Heaney is that of sibilance; this adds to the realism of the poem. Moreover, the use of the word toughens creates the impression of firmness and hardness. This is insulting cheap, modern automobiles and other such mass-produced items by contrasting them with the sturdiness, reliability and individuality of those produced in the forge.

The following line The anvil must be somewhere in the centre, is added to explain the importance of the anvil in the blacksmiths work. Heaney goes on to further depict the anvil Horned as a unicorn. The mythical reference emphasises and praises the blacksmith, whilst this simile also represents strength and incorruptibility.

Heaney’s ensuing line Set there immoveable an altar is phenomenally effective. The punctuation, in this case a colon, creates a pause which is critical in concocting the climax of the piece. The metaphor an altar portrays the reverence which it is to be viewed with; it immediately makes the anvil appear holy. The blacksmiths profession is Godlike and his everyday tasks become religious acts The blacksmith expends himself in shape and music at this anvil, the art of poetry is compared to that of the blacksmith. This shows the creativity involved in his profession.

Realism is furthered in the proceeding line Leather-aproned, hairs in his nose. Heaney attempts to personalise the blacksmith by adding unimportant details of his appearance.

Recalls a clatter of hoofs... The blacksmith obviously does not welcome many customers and so he reminisces about the forges thriving past. Heaney describes modern traffic as flashing in rows. He embraces the romantic image of a bygone era but views modern traffic with contempt. His whole profession is automatically opposed to this; the shoddy tin of todays automobiles contrast with the toughness of the iron produced and manipulated at the forge. Earlier in the poem, Heaney depicted the unpredictable fantail of sparks. These are now compared to the rows of modern traffic; stereotyped vehicles and a lack of individuality.

The blacksmith then grunts and goes in. This onomatopoeia shows his disgust, the next lines further this impression as he enters with a slam and a fick to beat real iron out, clearly showing his anger and rage in this aggressive behaviour. The fact that he states that he will be beating real iron out further describes his distaste towards the cheap, flimsy production of today as opposed to what he considers to be real iron; that produced in the forge. The final line to work the bellows portrays the manual necessity in the forge, again contrasting with modern, robotic production.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Critical Analysis to the Forge by Seamus Heaney

    ...ritical Analysis of The Forge by Seamus Heaney 'The Forge' is a sonnet with a clear division into an octave (the first eight lines) and a sestet (the final six lines). While the octave, apart from its initial reference to the narrator, focuses solely on the inanimate objects and occurrences inside and outside the forge, the sestet describes t...

    Read More
  • Analysis of the Forge by Seamus Heaney

    ...The Forge The title of the poem means a blacksmith.The line presents a contrast between the dark, the older time period of his profession, and the outside, modern world, in which his profession is less visible and honored.The poem uses the image of a blacksmith and the nature of the profession. “Old axles and iron hoops” show that he has ...

    Read More
  • Seamus Heaney

    ...‘Bye Child’ by Seamus Heaney are poems that evoke the casualties of sexual and emotional repression in Ireland, as well as and the oppression of both women and un baptized children, in a time where religion was most prominent and people were confined to the guidelines of the church and it’s community, as it was the ruling power. Both poems...

    Read More
  • Seamus Heaney

    ...Write a close analysis of ‘Death of a Naturalist’ explaining how the poet uses natural imagery and the structure of the poem to convey the themes of the loss of childhood innocence and the formulation of adult identities. ...

    Read More
  • Seamus Heaney

    ... You have been asked to read a collection of Seamus Heaney’s poems to a 5th year class. Select 4 poems you would read and explain why. Seamus Heaney is widely recognised as one of the major poets of the twentieth century. Heaney's Poems are based on real life experiences, which can be related to in only so many ways, because of the...

    Read More
  • Seamus Heaney

    ...The book "Open Ground", by Seamus Heaney, is a book of poems.  In the book, Heaney promotes a variety of different poems he has written.  From this rich variety of great poems, "Punishment" and "First Kingdom" will be analyzed on imagery, theme, and rhythm throughout this paper.  In both poems, Heaney uses words to portray great details ...

    Read More
  • Seamus Heaney

    ...Dear Seamus Heaney … Write a letter to Seamus Heaney telling him how you responded to some of his poems on your course. Support the points you make by detailed reference to the poems you choose to write about. Lauren Carr, 8 White Road, Stefanstown, Clonsilla, Ohio. Mr Seamus Heaney, 1864 Forbes Rd, Piercetown, Amara, Dubli...

    Read More
  • Seamus Heaney Tribal Practices

    ...Seamus Heaney: Tribal Practises Heaney has referred to ancient tribal practices as ‘providing imaginative parallels to modern Irish politics’. Examine Punishment and at least two other poems in light of this statement. Throughout both ‘North’ and ‘Wintering Out’ Heaney uses his chief poetic value as a ‘tribal poet’ to ex...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.