The Shield of Achilles.
Wystan Hugh Auden.
Between the years 1933 and 1938, Auden was a dedicated follower of communism and, as die hard supporter of communism, warned against the dangers of totalitarianism through his some poetry and plays. After 1938, he was disillusioned of his ideology of communism and came back to Christianity. After that, he composed poetry and literal activities usually against the false doctrine of communism and totalitarianism.
While he was in Austria, He wrote this poetry in 1955 and published it in the collection of his poetry, “The Shield of Achilles’, and then again in the “Collected Shorter Poems”. The poetry “The Shield of Achilles” is the principal poems in both the publication.
The poet imagines that the mother of the greatest of the Greek heroes, Achilles, is viewing the shield that Hephaestus, the lame blacksmith and armorer of the gods, has made for her son. She expects to see something different in the shield but sees a contrast. Instead of the civilised world, she sees a rough and uncivilized world. The poet actually wants to mean that had the armorer been asked to make the shield of her son in the perspective of the present day world, he would have made the shield that she sees at present contrary to her expectation.
There are three parts in the poetry, each of which begins with an octet and follows by septet. There is a set of expectations in the first four lines and the contrast she found is narrated in the next four lines and following two stanzas of seven lines except in the last set, where the expectations are narrated in the first five lines.
Achilles, in Greek mythology, was the son of the mortal Peleus, king of the Myrmidons, and the Nereid, or sea nymph, Thetis. He was the bravest, handsomest, and greatest warrior of the army of Agamemnon in the Trojan War.. One of the non-Homeric tales of his childhood relates that Thetis dipped Achilles in the waters of the River Styx, by which he became...