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Will in the "Waste Land": Shakespeare and Eliot Revisited.

This paper will essentially focus on Eliot's debt to Shakespeare in The Waste Land and, since all of Eliot's explicit allusions to Shakespeare in his poem have all been duly identified and commented upon by editors and critics, I will mainly insist on a number of so far unnoticed or neglected Shakespearean sources and analogues in order to interpret them in terms of musicality and theatricality. All the more so as we may think of the five sections of The Waste Land as a miniature play in five acts with such dramatis personae as Marie, Stetson, the hyacinth girl, the Lady with bad nerves, Madame Sosostris, the typist and the clerk, Lil and Albert, Mr Eugenides, Tiresias, Phlebas the Phoenician and the Fisher King, the last voice in "What the Thunder Said." Of course, the analogy has to stop here because this rather heterogeneous collection of characters is made of voices that mingle, overlap or coruscate as the case may be in some overall chorus. They are also names in a long, collective stream of consciousness where it is sometimes difficult to know who exactly is saying "I" other than the poet himself or its various namesakes or avatars. Bearing this in mind, we will remember that the poet of The Waste Land was also the author of Murder in the Cathedral, The Cocktail Party, The Confidential Clerk as well as other plays while Shakespeare, the Elizabethan and Jacobean playwright, also wrote two epyllions (Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece), of A Lover's Complaint and 154 sonnets.

Shakespearean Echoes in The Waste Land

Eliot's 1922 poem may indeed be read as a long dramatic monologue with no narrative or plot, characterized by a technique of compression and fragmentary allusion. It brings together, rather than blends high and low culture, street ballads, jazz tunes and Wagnerian arias from Tristan and Isolde and Gottersdammerung. Such contributions may have inspired the end of Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, whose musical score ranges from a number of pop songs to Mozart's Requiem and Isolde's Liebestod for Juliet's final scene in the Capulets' vault. So, what is now often hailed as typical postmodern melange dates back to the early days of modernism, just as modernism itself is deeply indebted to the early modern period and to Shakespeare in particular. Indeed, this babble and babel of voices is a device often used by the bard in his echoic, paronymic system where superimposition is used to multiply or complicate meaning as in Hamlet's equivocations or in the Fool's off-hand association of riddles, ballads, bawdy innuendo and snatches of song in King Lear. Eliot's poem also juxtaposes fragments from the past--from classical antiquity to Dante, Shakespeare, Spenser, Day, Marvell and Webster etc--along glimpses of the present so as to enhance the inanity and sterility of the modern world. So, in the "Burial of the Dead," the moment in the Starbergersee and the Hofgarten (respectively a Bavarian lake and a public park in Munich), closing time in an East End pub, sex in a squalid bedsit all "summon up remembrance of things past" (Sonnet 30) successively evoke the double suicide of Archduke Rudolph of Habsburg and his mistress Marie Vestera in Mayerling on January 30th, 1889, Ophelia's madness and suicide in Hamlet as well as Ferdinand and Miranda in The Tempest. All these voices express their own wretchedness in a London turned into a modern, or modernist, version of Dante's Inferno, while all the historical and literary allusions form an intricate web of high culture meant to enhance the gap between a prestigious past and a rather sordid present. In other words, the fragments from Dante and Shakespeare reinforce the despondency of modern life but, to Eliot, this is part of a tradition which was part and parcel of great poetry. According to Eliot:

Tradition [...] cannot be inherited; if you want it you must obtain it by great labor. It involves, in the first place, the historical sense, which we may call nearly indispensable to anyone who would continue to be a poet beyond his twenty-fifth year; and the historical sense involves a perception, not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence; the historical sense compels a man to write not merely with his own generation in his bones, but with a feeling that the whole of the literature of Europe from Homer and within the literature of his own country has a simultaneous existence and composes a simultaneous order. (Selected Essays 60)

So, tradition is the result of hard work, and the Shakespeare tradition in Eliot is anything but inherited. Indeed, according to Eliot's mother, Charlotte Stearns Eliot, wrote in a letter dated 1905, when Thomas was only sixteen, "he ha[d] [...] read practically all of Shakespeare, whom he admires, and retains with much in memory." (1)

Section II of The Waste Land, entitled "A Game of Chess," refers to Middleton's A Game at Chess, a play built like a big chess game and which satirizes the Jesuits and King James's aborted endeavors to arrange a Spanish marriage for Prince Henry, but it also echoes The Tempest when, at the end, Ferdinand and Miranda are discovered playing chess when the latter accuses the young Prince of cheating ("Sweet lord, you play me false," 5.1.172). Then a pastiche or rewriting of Enobarbus's description of Cleopatra's "apparition" in her barge on the river Cydnus (Antony and Cleopatra, 2.2.198-233) is added to those reminiscences, thus making the whole passage a rich Shakespearean palimpsest. Incidentally, it should be remarked that the clerk and the typist's brief, sordid affair in "The Fire Sermon," placed at the geometric centre of the poem, sounds like a send-off of Shakespeare's famous purple patch (itself partly lifted from Plutarch's Life of Mark Antony) where the androgynous figure of Tiresias rolls into one the two characters of Enobarbus and Mardian, Cleopatra's eunuch. Moreover, the magnificent exotic seascape is here rendered into a claustrophobic and rather gloomy interior, the boudoir of the lady with bad nerves, both a temptress and a neurotic Cleopatra, whose oriental origins are suggested by the presence of a "seven-branched candelabra." The "strange invisible perfume" floating around Cleopatra is replaced by the "strange synthetic perfumes" used by her modern London counterpart, while Antony's "dolphin-like" "delights" (5.2.88-9) are here frozen into a "carved dolphin" "framed by the colored stone" (ll. 95-6). Now "[t]he glitter of her jewels" may further hint at Romeo's description of Juliet at the ball when he exclaims: "She hangs upon the cheek of night/As a rich jewel in an Ethiop's ear" (1.4.158-59). The jewel simile is a beautiful conceit and a felicitous quibble which, insofar as it encompasses Juliet's so far unknown name ("jewel" and "Jule," Juliet's nickname, are indeed virtually interchangeable as acoustic twins), already suggests a possible answer to Juliet's later question "What's in a name?" (2.1.86). The pun indeed provides a concrete illustration as to how signifier and signified may coincide so as to become the two sides of the same coin. All of a sudden, Romeo's artificial and heavily rhetorical poetics comes to life as it is converted into a rich hypotyposis made vibrant with meaning and real emotion. As to the "Ethiop's ear," the image seems to anticipate on the Egyptian lady, Cleopatra, since the later love tragedy can also be read as a mature, Oriental version of Romeo and Juliet. Whether T.S. Eliot had this in mind when he wrote his poem is difficult to ascertain, but it remains that the beginning of "A Game of Chess" hovers somewhere between Titus Andronicus, Romeo and Juliet and Antony and Cleopatra while also alluding to Ovid, Virgil, Milton and Pope's Rape of the Lock. Eliot's poem is thus saturated with literary references that multiply and disseminate in apparently endless echoic variations just as Shakespeare's plays and poems combine many sources and intertextual allusions which create parallel worlds, complex superimpositions and of course conflicting interpretations in a constant embarrassment of riches.

Now, the trompe-l'oeil above the antique mantel in "A Game of Chess" harks back at the Philomela episode in Ovid's Metamorphoses which Shakespeare took up and reworked in his early Senecan Roman tragedy, Titus Andronicus, where the mutilated Lavinia is the dramatic counterpart of the mythical figure raped by King Tereus. So, the rewriting or incrustation of classical and Renaissance stories into his own playtexts is definitely part of Shakespeare's use of intertextuality, a way for an author to appropriate quotations which Montaigne calls "entreglose," i.e. as mutual borrowing. In that respect, Eliot's modernist methods appear as little different from those of most or all of Renaissance poets and playwrights.

Enobarbus's description of Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra may also refer to the well-known ekphrasis in Shakespeare's Rape of Lucrece (ll. 1366-1463) where the long description of the Trojan war is represented on the "hanging piece" in Lucrece's bedroom presents a visual parallel between the wrack of the ancient city and the rape of a woman, while, at the end, Lucrece identifies with the ruined face of Priam's wife, Queen Hecuba:
   In her the painter had anatomized
   Time's ruin, beauty's wrack, and grim care's reign.
   Her cheeks with chaps and wrinkles were disguised:
   Of what she was no semblance did remain.
   Her blue blood changed to black in every vein,
   Wanting the spring that those shrunk pipes had fed,
   Showed life imprisoned in a body dead (ll. 1450-56).

The difference between Shakespeare and Eliot are quite obvious here. Leaving aside the prosodic and rhetorical aspects, it mainly lies in the fact that the bored typist is bored and remains passive in front of the young clerk's "assaults" ("Exploring hands encounter no defence") while Lucrece, the victim of Tarquin's violent lust reacts in shrill, harsh way to defend her womanly honour. With the allusions to Philomel, "so rudely forc'd" (l. 205) and, indirectly, to Queen Dido through Augustine's "To Carthage then I came" (l. 207), then to Ophelia with the possibly violated "belladonna" in "A Game of Chess," Eliot also lays stress on cruel, brutal, even barbaric forms of sexuality as well as on the fates of seduced and abandoned women. (2) Sex is totally joyless and sterile in The Waste Land, whether it is debased and neurotic among the wealthy or promiscuous and abortive among the working classes (ll. 159-64). In King Lear, the vagina is described by the delirious king as the mouth of hell ("there's hell, there's darkness, there's the sulphurous pit," 4.6.123-24), while, in the Sonnets, "none knows well/To shun the heaven that leads to this hell" (Sonnet 129). If it is true that, under the influence and at the suggestion of "il miglior fabbro," Ezra Pound, Eliot essentially uses Dante's Inferno for his London version of "Une saison en enfer," my impression remains that, with its witches' cauldron, echoed in Augustine's "cauldron of unholy loves," and its "blasted heath" (1.3.77) in Macbeth as well as in the misogynous lines quoted above, Shakespeare's presence and personal vision of hell lies not far behind.

Indeed, if The Waste Land may be regarded as a landscape poem, its landscapes are first and foremost landscapes of the mind. Their topographies are always more or less reversible and they may alternately refer to the outside world or to the human body or body parts in its generally anthropomorphic vision. For instance, at the beginning of "The Fire Sermon," "the last fingers of leaf' that "clutch and sink into the wet bank" blend a vision of early wintriness (or late autumn) with a filigree evocation of Ophelia's drowning, she whose "good night ladies, good night, sweet ladies, good night, good night" (Hamlet, 4.5.69-70) has just been heard as the closing line of the previous section (ll. 171-72). The notion of anthropomorphic as well as anamorphic landscape concealing a human head or body was a familiar one in Renaissance painting and one which Shakespeare was fully aware of. The poet resorts to it in Venus and Adonis, for instance, when Venus invites the young man to "Graze on [her] lips, and if these hills be dry,/[To] stray lower, where the pleasant fountains lie" (ll. 233-34).

In "A Game of Chess," the spectral dialogue of anonymous questions and answers seems to combine various echoes from Richard III, King Lear and The Tempest:
   "What is that noise?"
   The wind under the door,
   "What is that noise now? What is the wind doing?"
   Nothing again nothing.
   "Do You know nothing? Do you see nothing? Do you remember Nothing?"
   I remember Those are pearls that were his eyes (ll. 117-24).

Besides the line from Ariel's memento mori song in The Tempest, those lines may also echo Clarence's nightmare in the Tower in Richard III, when he dreams that he has drowned and is in hell:
   O Lord! Methought what pain it was to drown:
   [...] What sights of ugly death within my eyes!
   Methought I saw a thousand fearful wrecks [.]
   Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl,
   Inestimable stones, unvalu'd jewels,
   All scattered in the bottom of the sea.
   Some lay in dead men's skulls, and in the holes
   Where eyes did once inhabit, there were crept--As
   'twere in scorn of eyes'--reflecting gems
   That woo'd the slimy bottom of the deep,
   And mock'd the dead bones that lay scatter'd by [.]
      And for a season after
   Could not believe but that I was in hell,
   Such terrible impression made my dream (1.4.21-63)

The passage offers a good illustration of how Shakespeare's dramatic poetry gradually developed from long description to crisp, nutshell phrases by compressing ten lines of The Tempest into Ariel's single "Those are pearls that were his eyes." In this, Eliot followed the enlightened guidance of Ezra Pound who advised him to get rid of traditional syntax in favour of juxtaposition and parataxis ("These fragments I have shored up against my ruins," l. 430). Such poetry is full of holes and erasures like some broken Greek vase or some half-effaced Etruscan fresco. It is a big jigsaw for us to try to put together again. For all that, it is no game either. It is a reflection of the neurosis and mental instability of modern man, "mixing memory and desire," past and present in a sort of heterogeneous jumble or mumbo jumbo. While in Howard's End, E.M. Foster wanted to "only connect," the desperate King Lear-like speaker in "The Fire Sermon" exclaims "I can connect/Nothing with nothing" (ll. 301-302). In Shakespeare's tragedy, the old king who had answered Cordelia's "nothing" with "nothing will come out of nothing" (1.1.89-90) will later prove unable to connect anything with anything:
   Nature's above art in this respect. There's your press-money. That
   fellow handles his bow like a crow-keeper: draw me a clothier's
   yard. Look, look, a mouse: peace, peace, this piece of toasted
   cheese will do't. There's my gauntlet, I'll prove it on a giant.
   Bring up the brown bills. O, well-flown bird, i'the clout, i'the
   clout! Hewgh! Give the word (4.6.86-92).

Like Hieronimo in The Spanish Tragedy, King Lear is mad again. His is the apparently incoherent babble of insanity while the various speakers in The Waste Land prove learned ventriloquists. Accordingly, Eliot duly acknowledges his debt to Kyd's revenge tragedy as well as to Shakespeare whose texts work like a chamber of echoes in the poem.

For Eliot, "the difference between Dante and Shakespeare is that Dante had one coherent system of thought behind him" and, "in making some very commonplace investigations of the 'thought' of Donne, [he] found it quite impossible to come to the conclusion that Donne believed anything. It seemed as if, at that time, the world was filled with broken fragments of 'systems.'" (3) In other words, the notion of the "absence of a coherent system" or of a "world filled with broken fragments of systems" directly anticipates on Eliot's poetic method and it openly acknowledges his debt to Elizabethan playwrights and poets and to Shakespeare in particular.

The "Will Sonnets" in The Waste Land

Romeo and Juliet is a play notorious for its embedded sonnets as in the opening sonnet-Prologue or in the sonnet which the two lovers share after meeting at the Capulets' ball. I find it intriguing that The Waste Land should offer a similar mise en abyme of this traditional form of love poetry dating back to Petrarch's Canzoniere, since Eliot seems to have embedded a double sonnet in "The Fire Sermon." The first runs from line 235 ("The time is now propitious as he guesses") to line 248 ("And gropes his way, finding the stairs unlit ..."), and it is regular in form and rhyme pattern except for the concluding false couplet ("kiss/unlit"). The second goes from line 249 ("She turns and looks a moment in the glass") to line 263 ("And a clatter and a chatter from within") and is also regular except in the third quatrain ("waters"/"hear") which also repeats "Street" in lines 258 and 260. But the rhyming couplet ("The pleasant whining of a mandoline/And a clatter and a chatter from within") has been restored at the end. But the topic of the sonnets with their spiritless fornication and "half-formed thought" of the "lovely woman" who puts a record on the gramophone to hear Ferdinand's reaction to Ariel's "Full fathom five" seems hardly appropriate for these pseudo-Elizabethan sonnets that sound like a vain, empty parody of the original ones. We are here far from the exalted view of love or the harmony expected in the use of such traditional poetic forms.

Well, if this is probably true of such Petrarchan sonneteers as Sir Thomas Wyatt, Sidney or Spenser, it hardly applies to Shakespeare who, in the Sonnets, derides and parodies their repetitive cliches and poetic conventions, or else uses them to his own subversive ends like the expression of jealousy, same-sex love or crude eroticism if not downright obscenity, as in the "Will sonnets." "Th' expense of spirits in a waste of shame" could thus be read as Will's exploration of the Waste, or "waist" land in the tradition of the anthropomorphic landscape. This may be thought of as a cynical reduction of the poem's scope, but after all Eliot's vision of love and sex is pretty lurid and disheartening in the poem, especially as it is set against such romantic figures as those of Tristan and Isolde, or of Ferdinand and Miranda in The Tempest:
   The river bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers, Silk
   handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends Or other testimony
   of summer nights. The nymphs are departed. And their friends, the
   loitering heirs of City directors, Departed, have left no
   addresses. (ll. 177-81)

If the "silk handkerchiefs" may evoke Othello's "pledge of love" (5.2.212) to Desdemona which Iago perverted into the "ocular proof' (3.3.362) of her alleged sexual betrayal, one should also stress the indeterminate "other" in "other testimonies of summer nights", which may well refer to such discarded trash as used condoms. Moreover, the repetition of "departed" here sounds like a knell, like the gloomy burden that accompanies and suggests the fleeting copulations of summer nights with the added allusion to the merry-go-round of love in A Midsummer Night's Dream. But, just as sonnet 129 presents lust as "perjured, murderous, full of blame,/Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust" (ll. 3-4), "A Game of Chess" alludes to the rape of Philomel "by the barbarous kind/So rudely forced" (ll. 99-100). So, love and sex are not only seen as boring, sterile or tragic activities in The Waste Land, they are also grotesque as in the scene between the clerk and the typist. In the "Will sonnets", the tone is sometimes of a rather scathing, snarling misogyny in the series of jeering addresses to the Dark Lady:
   Will will fulfil the treasure of thy love,
   Ay, fill it full with wills, and my will one.
   In things of great receipt with ease we prove
   Among a number one is reckoned none.
   Then in the number let me pass untold,
   Though in thy store's account I one must be;
   For nothing hold me, so it please thee hold
   That nothing, me, a something sweet to thee.
   Make by my name thy love, and love that still,
   And then thou lov'st me for my name is Will. (Sonnet 136)

In a similar vein, Eliot does not only attack his female characters as insignificant, frivolous or predatory. He must also cut down his ideal and model, Shakespeare himself, as in the line "O O O O that Shakespeherian rag," in a downright parody which alludes to a famous 1911 jazz song by Irving Berlin and Ted Snyder, "That Shakespearean rag" by Buck, Ruby and Stamper, whose chorus goes:
   That Shakespearian rag--
   Most intelligent, very elegant,
   That old classical drag,
   Has the proper stuff, the line "Lay on Macduff,"
   Desdemona was the coloured pet,
   Romeo loved his Juliet--
   And they were some lovers, you can bet, and yet,
   I know if they were here today,

   They'd Grizzly Bear in a diff'rent way,
   And you'd hear old Hamlet say,
   "To be or not to be,"
   That Shakespearian rag, etc ... (4)

So, Shakespeare, whose word music serves Eliot as a foil or as an ironical counterpoint to enhance the seedy realities of modern love, is himself being gently mocked or rather teased through the allusion to the popular rag tune which almost everybody would have had in mind in the "roaring twenties." The rag tune that springs up "out of the blue" after two inserts from The Tempest and Webster's White Devil, two plays that deal with death and the sea-change that seems to follow it, indeed sounds as unexpected as it is disconcerting. As Scofield puts it, "Such mobility of mind and quickness of response can be jarring, nearly manic. Like Hamlet's it can modulate in an instant, from the depths of anguish to a light humour [...] because it cannot bear much reality" (121).


To close this Shakespearean excursus into Eliot's Waste Land, I can only repeat that Will's presence in the poem is no real surprise or major discovery. This is common to both Joyce's Ulysses and Eliot's poem, two major modernist texts which both appeared in the very same year, in 1922. Shakespeare is probably more important than Homer's Odyssey in Joyce's novel, partly thanks to Stephen Dedalus's "Hamlet theory," which is linked to the essential question of filiation and paternity. The difference between the two authors, who did not really like each other, is that Joyce keeps expanding, modulating, connecting when Eliot suppresses, restricts and disconnects in order to introduce breaks, gaps, holes to be filled out by his readers' imagination or personal culture. One wrote a comic Irish 24-hour Odyssey that stresses homecoming while the other indulges in a long lament over his sense of exile, depression and frustration.

My own impression is that various disseminated allusions to Hamlet, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, The Tempest and the Sonnets in The Waste Land are only the tips of a vast literary iceberg. The identifiable quotations in the poem indeed also serve to hide more important underlying quotations, some of which I have tried to unravel and clear out in this paper. If, in the notes that Eliot appended to his poem, the references to Shakespeare remain rather minimal, more is certainly to be found in that particular direction, as Eliot wrote his piece in an archaeological manner, inviting us to dig deeper and further in order to excavate unseen frescoes or sunken treasures. The memory of texts to him (what he calls the "pastness of the past") indeed remained an essential dimension of literature and of the activity of reading just like the "art of memory" was thought of as absolutely essential in the Humanist training that prevailed at the time of the Renaissance. A good and well-trained memory was a fundamental asset for the Inns of Court lawyers in order to remember important arguments as well as the examples to illustrate them, just as it was for the common players who generally had to learn their parts in less than two weeks' time. So, Hamlet's "while memory holds a seat/In this distracted globe" (1.5.96-7), where the "remembrance of things past" sounds like some sort of intellectual stronghold protecting against universal chaos and dissolution, should be set against the final paragraph of The Waste Land. Indeed, like "Soliman and Perseda," a play within the play in sundry languages at the end of Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy, the poem as a whole sounds like a desperate, panicky recapitulation of the fears of apocalyptic destruction that have filtered through some of its infernal, horrifying visions. No less than five languages (English, Italian, Latin, French, and Sanskrit) are used in the last eleven lines to end on "Shantih, shantih, shantih," a phrase which in Sanskrit means "the peace that passeth understanding"--in which we may hear a form of hope for some sort of spiritual healing--but which may also be heard as the more ominous echo of the English "shanty town." Obviously, what is "falling down, falling down, falling down" is less London bridge, as in the well-known nursery rhyme, than the "tour abolie" of Gerard de Nerval's "Desdichado" ("The Unlucky") sonnet in The Chimeres:
   Je suis le veuf, le tenebreux, l'inconsole,
   Le Prince d'Aquitaine a la tour abolie,
   Ma seule etoile est morte et mon luth constelle
   Porte le soleil noir de la melancolie. (5)

This is probably reminiscent of Elsinore's sweet, melancholy Prince dressed in his "inky cloak" (Hamlet,\.2.U) and to whom the world is nothing but "a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours" (2.2.268) while more openly alluding to the Biblical episode of the fall of the Tower of Babel after men are punished for their pride by suddenly forgetting their originally common tongue and begin to speak in sundry languages.

Shakespeare and Shakespearean allusions in The Waste Land thus serve an ambivalent function. Indeed if Shakespeare may rightly be regarded as a modern as a multiple, "myriad-minded" author in his almost systematic resorting to puns and polysemy, he remained for Eliot as for most English people as a whole, the creator of the English language and the pillar of tradition. So, if the image of Will in the "Waste Land" does echo the poem's deep pessimism, it may also restore some illusion or hope of a possible re-creation, as in the case of Leontes in The Winter's Tale, or of pardon and redemption in The Tempest.

Works Cited

Eliot, T.S. Selected Essays. London: Faber & Faber, 1932.

--. The Waste Land. Ed. Stephen Coote. London: Penguin, 1985.

Shakespeare, William. Antony and Cleopatra. Ed. David Bevington. Cambridge: CUP (The New Cambridge Shakespeare), 1990.

--. The Complete Sonnets and Poems. Ed. Colin Burrow. Oxford: OUP (Oxford World Classics), 2008.

--. Hamlet. Eds. Ann Thomson and Neil Taylor. London, Thomson Learning (The Arden Shakespeare), 2006.

--. King Lear. Ed. R.A. Foakes. Walton-on-Thames: Thomas Nelson and Sons (The Arden Shakespeare), 2005.

--. King Richard III. Ed. James R. Siemon. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013.

--. Othello. Ed. Michael Neill. Oxford: OUP (The Oxford Shakespeare), 2006.

--. Romeo and Juliet. Ed. Jill L. Levenson. Oxford: OUP (The Oxford Shakespeare), 2000.

--. The Tempest. Eds. Virginia Mason Vaughan and Alden T. Vaughan. Walton-on-Thames: Thomas Nelson and Sons (The Arden Shakespeare), 1999.

Scofield, Martin. "Poetry's Sea-Changes: T.S. Eliot and The Tempest." Shakespeare Survey 43 (1990): 121-30.

Sicker, Philip. "The Belladona: Eliot's Female Archetype in The Waste Land." Twentieth Century Literature 30.4 (1984): 420-31.

Ward, David. T.S. Eliot Between Two Worlds: A Reading of T.S. Eliot's Poetry and Plays. London: Routledge, 1973.



(1.) Letter dated 1905, qtd. in Martin Scofield, "Poetry's Sea-Changes: T.S. Eliot and The Tempest." Shakespeare Survey 43 (1990):121.

(2.) On this, see Sicker: "From the first belladona in 'A Game of Chess' to the typist, Eliot has radically simplified and consolidated his female archetype, stripped her of motive, memory, and desire until she is definable only as a single mechanical impulse. After the typist there is but one remaining step in Eliot's reduction process--the merger of the archetypal male and female, the self-castrating Fisher King and the masturbating belladona, in the figure of double-sexed Tiresias" Philip Sicker, "The Belladona: Eliot's Female Archetype in The Waste Land." Twentieth Century Literature 30.4 (1984): 429.

(3.) T.S. Eliot, "Shakespeare and the Stoicism of Seneca." Selected Essays(London: Faber & Faber, 1932)136-38.

(4.) See David Ward, T.S. Eliot Between Two Worlds: A Reading of T.S. Eliots Poetry and Plays (London: Routledge, 1973)99.

(5.) "I am the widower, the disconsolate mourner, The Prince of Aquitaine with his abolished tower. My only star has died and my constellated lute Wears the black sun of melancholy's suit." (my translation)

Francois Laroque

Institut du Monde Anglophone, Universite Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3

32, rue Cassette 75006, Paris, France

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