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Musee de beux arts THEME The theme of Auden's poem Muse des Beaux Arts, created in 1938, is apathy

in which to show that there are too many people who do not care about every event in their lives which is none of their business. Auden uses an allusion of Christian history, the birth of Jesus, and Greek mythology, Icarus, to describe the theme and also to make a situational irony in this poem. CONTENT From the first stanza, we found that Auden mentions the old masters, About suffering they were never wrong/The Old Masters: how well they understood/Its human position, but who or what are the old masters? From Wikipedia, we found that an old master is a term for a European painter of skill who worked before about 1800, or a painting by such a painter. So, we can conclude that the old masters are they who worked as a painter in Europe before about 1800. And he states that about suffering they were never wrong, what does it mean? It means that the old masters were very aware of humanity aspect such as suffering. Then he asks, how it takes place/While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along; without question mark as if he doesn't need the answer to remind us, the readers, about the human position in our daily life. In the second stanza, Auden asksand seem does not need to be answered againHow, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting/For the miraculous birth, there always must be/Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating /On a pond at the edge of the wood. Who are 'the aged' and what is 'the miraculous birth' and why does he compare 'the children' with 'the aged'? The aged are the old people who have so many experiences in their life. The miraculous birth is the birth of Jesusmiraculous because he was born by a virgin, Mary. The aged are waiting for the birth because they are full of experience of the evil deeds in this world, and hoping that the birth of Jesus the messiah would bring peace to the world. But, in contrast with, the children are they who are lacked in experience; they do not know much about life, which is right and which is wrong, so, they don't wait to that special moment because they think it's just an usual event; a mother bears a sona virgin mother though. He illustrates this children apathy by skating on a pond at the edge of the wood. Then, still in the second stanza, he adds, They never forgot/That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course/Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot/Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse /Scratches its innocent behind on a tree. They, here, refer to the old masters. It means that the old masters, for they are so aware of human position, never forgot that even there's a martyrdom, anyhow in a corner, in some untidy spot, they still showed the innocent of animals (the dogs and the torturer's horse) in the paintingin which this refers to the painting of Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Massacre of Innocents. In the last stanza, Auden writes, In Brueghel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away/Quite leisurely from the disaster. In this, he tries to figure out the apathy of people by another Brueghel's painting, The Fall of Icarus. Then he adds his own opinion; the plowman may/Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry/But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone/As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green/Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen/Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,/Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on. Here, he tries to include another story, the Greek mythology, Icarus, to show the human apathy; the plowman and the ship may have seen or even have heard the falling of Icarus, but for them, it's just an usual thing because they think, those who are able to fly must not be a human, it's a kind of Godin Greek, Gods are figured as humanand they cannot die, moreover, it's none of their business taking care to the falling boy. As to conclude, Auden uses two different stories to bring his readers into a full understanding about human apathy and to compare the stories to their daily life. IMAGERY

Even though this poem uses paintings as an object to prove or to support the theme, Auden just uses a few of imageries, they are: a) visual imagery; white legs; the green water; and the expensive delicate ship, and b) auditory imagery; the forsaken cry. FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE Personification Personification consists of giving attributes of a human being to an animal, an object, or a concept. In this poem, the personifications are: a) the torturer's horse scratches its innocent behind on a tree that means the horse acts as if it was a human by scratching its innocent, and b) the expensive delicate ship that must have seen something amazing that means the ship has eyes to see an event of life as if it was a human. Irony This poem is using situational irony because there's a discrepancy exists between the actual circumstances and those that would seem appropriate or between what one anticipates and what actually comes to pass. We can see it from the second stanza, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting/For the miraculous birth, there always must be/Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating /On a pond at the edge of the wood, while some people were waiting for the miraculous eventsomething amazing that should have to get more attentionbut the others seemed not to take care at all, and from the last stanza, the plowman may/Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry/But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone/As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green/Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen/Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,/Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on, that as a human, we must help another who is in a danger or in an unexpected situation, but in this poembased on the paintingshows the vice versa in which there's nobody helped the drowning Icarus, although they may have heard his cry and the splash when he fell into the green water.

Allusions An allusion is a brief, usually indirect reference to another work or to a real or historical event or person, traditionally as a way of drawing connections between those elements as well as enriching the meaning of the current work through associations with the other. Allusions imply a shared cultural experience or at least understanding. Auden successfully expands the theme of Muse des Beaux Arts by using an allusion. Here are the allusions: The old masters and Pieter Brueghel the elder the old masters are they who worked as a painter in Europe before about 1800. They are the artists in renaissance era who began with Leonardo da Vinci's era. Pieter Brueghel the elder is one of the artists. He, born in c.1525 September 9, 1569, is a Flemish/Dutch Renaissance painter and printmaker known for his landscapes and peasant scenes (Genre Painting). He is nicknamed 'Peasant Brueghel' to distinguish him from other members of the Brueghel dynasty, but is also the one generally meant when the context does not make clear which "Brueghel" is being referred to. From 1559 he dropped the 'h' from his name and started signing his paintings as Bruegel. His paintings such as, The Fall of Icarus, Massacre of Innocents, and Numbering at Bethlehem are the most influences of Auden's Muse des Beaux Arts. The miraculous birth and The dreadful martyrdom The miraculous birth is the birth of Jesus the messiah. This called miraculous because the mother who bore Jesus is a virgin, Mary. This is noted in bible like this, And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. "And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end." And Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God. "And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also

conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. "For nothing will be impossible with God." And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:26-38; NASB). The dreadful martyrdom is one of Christian tragedy in which the Christians were threatened by. This relates to the paintings of Bruegel, Massacre of Innocents and Numbering at Bethelehem. Icarus Icarus was a son of Daedalus, a great architect. He, Daedalus, built king Minos a labyrinth, but the king then lost favor to him. So, his son, Icarus, and he were imprisoned into the labyrinth by king Minos. To make a great escape, Daedalus used his ability to create artificial wings. He taught and reminded his son to fly in medium height because if it was too high; the sun would melt the wax, and if it was too low; it would be broken by the wave. But, Icarus was overjoyed because he could fly and he got nearer to the sun. The sun melted the wax of the wings and then he fell to the sea After great pain

Summary The speaker notes that following great pain, a formal feeling often sets in, during which the Nerves are solemn and ceremonious, like Tombs. The heart questions whether it ever really endured such pain and whether it was really so recent (The stiff Heart questions was it He, that bore, / And Yesterday, or Centuries before?). The feet continue to plod mechanically, with a wooden way, and the heart feels a stone-like contentment. This, the speaker says, is the Hour of Lead, and if the person experiencing it survives this Hour, he or she will remember it in the same way that Freezing persons remember the snow: FirstChillthen Stuporthen the letting go. Form After great pain is structurally looser than most Dickinson poems: The iambic meter fades in places; line-length ranges from dimeter to pentameter; the rhyme scheme is haphazard and mostly utilizes couplets (stanza-by-stanza, it is AABB CDEFF GHII); and the middle stanza is five lines long, rather than Dickinsons typical four. Like most other Dickinson poems, however, it uses the long rhythmic dash to indicate short pauses. Commentary Perhaps Emily Dickinsons greatest achievement as a poet is the record she left of her own inwardness; because of her extraordinary powers of self-observation and her extraordinary willingness to map her own feelings as accurately and honestly as she could, Dickinson has bequeathed us a multitude of hard, intense, and subtle poems, detailing complicated feelings rarely described by other poets. And yet, encountering these feelings in the compression chamber of a Dickinson poem, one recognizes them instantly. After great pain, a formal feeling comes describes the fragile emotional equilibrium that settles heavily over a survivor of recent trauma or profound grief. Dickinsons descriptive words lend a funereal feel to the poem: The emotion following pain is formal, ones nerves feel like Tombs, ones heart is stiff and disbelieving. The feets Wooden way evokes a wooden casket, and the final like a stone recalls a headstone. The speaker

emphasizes the fragile state of a person experiencing the formal feeling by never referring to such people as whole human beings, detailing their bodies in objectified fragments (The stiff Heart, The Feet, mechanical, etc.).

Analysis
Emily Dickinson is such a unique poet that it is very difficult to place her in any single traditionshe seems to come from everywhere and nowhere at once. Her poetic form, with her customary four-line stanzas, ABCB rhyme schemes, and alternations in iambic meter between tetrameter and trimeter, is derived from Psalms and Protestant hymns, but Dickinson so thoroughly appropriates the forms interposing her own long, rhythmic dashes designed to interrupt the meter and indicate short pausesthat the resemblance seems quite faint. Her subjects are often parts of the topography of her own psyche; she explores her own feelings with painstaking and often painful honesty but never loses sight of their universal poetic application; one of her greatest techniques is to write about the particulars of her own emotions in a kind of universal homiletic or adage-like tone (After great pain, a formal feeling comes) that seems to describe the readers mind as well as it does the poets. Dickinson is not a philosophical poet; unlike Wordsworth or Yeats, she makes no effort to organize her thoughts and feelings into a coherent, unified worldview. Rather, her poems simply record thoughts and feelings experienced naturally over the course of a lifetime devoted to reflection and creativity: the powerful mind represented in these records is by turns astonishing, compelling, moving, and thought-provoking, and emerges much more vividly than if Dickinson had orchestrated her work according to a preconceived philosophical system. Of course, Dickinsons greatest achievement as a poet of inwardness is her brilliant, diamond-hard language. Dickinson often writes aphoristically, meaning that she compresses a great deal of meaning into a very small number of words. This can make her poems hard to understand on a first reading, but when their meaning does unveil itself, it often explodes in the mind all at once, and lines that seemed baffling can become intensely and unforgettably clear. Other poemsmany of her most famous, in factare much less difficult to understand, and they exhibit her extraordinary powers of observation and description. Dickinsons imagination can lead her into very peculiar territorysome of her most famous poems are bizarre death-fantasies and astonishing metaphorical conceitsbut she is equally deft in her navigation of the domestic, writing beautiful nature-lyrics alongside her wild flights of imagination and often combining the two with great facility.
The river merchants

Lines 1-6 This opening stanza of 6 lines is organized around a central image of the rivermerchant and his wife as a child, confirmed by the first component of the central image: the picture of a little girl with her hair cut in bangs. (The mark of an adult woman in the ancient Chinese culture was elaborate arrangements of uncut long hair.)Each line contributes to a clearer understanding of the central image of the

children. The repetition in three separate lines of the verb "playing" to describe the little girl's activity at the front gate, as well as the little boy's presence on stilts and his circling around where she sits, emphasizes the natural, contented activity of children almost as a part of the natural world referred to here by "flowers" and "blue plums." This stanza establishes the presence of the "I" and the "you" in the world of the poem. Lines 7-10 The second stanza places the girl and the boy, the "I" and the "you," as a woman and man in the adult world. In ancient cultures, and in some cultures today, early marriages are customary, and it is often also the custom for the wife to refer to her husband by a respectful title. In the case of this poem the formality of the title is softened by the direct address of "you" added right after it. Lines 8-9 establish the child-wife's shyness in this formal adult situation by offering a picture of her bent head and averted eyes, a shyness so extreme that she could not respond to her husband, no matter how many efforts he made. Lines 11-14 The central image of this stanza is the growth of love between the young husband and wife. Her face, which in the first stanza has the bangs of childhood across her forehead, in the second stanza is averted and unsmiling, "stops scowling" in the third stanza. The vows of the marriage ceremony, "till death us do part," are evoked in lines 12 and 13 and poignantly reinforced by the triple repetition in line 13 of "forever." It is unclear whether "climb the lookout" in line 14 is a reference to a ritual performed in this culture by a wife after death, perhaps to look for other offers to marry that might come her way. If it is, it means that the wife as a widow does not want to do this. In any case, it is clear that there is nothing she wishes for after the death of her husband, so deep is her love for him now. Lines 15-18 An image of separation is developed in these lines as the husband takes on his role as a river-merchant and travels the waters, conducting his work in the world on a distant island. The wife's statement of the length of his absence is expressed in one line, giving it full and emphatic force. And in line 18 the effect of this long absence is brought to full comprehension by the use of the natural image of the sounds of the monkeys that reflect back to her the sound of her own sorrow. The sounds that monkeys make are generally interpreted as chirping, happy sounds, but the weight of the wife's sorrow is so great that she can only hear the monkeys' noise as "sorrowful."

Lines 19-21 The first three lines of this final 11-line stanza are centered on the image of the rivermerchant's absence. Line 19 indicates that he was as averse to this separation as she was. In line 20 the phrase "by the gate" (perhaps the same gate they played about as children), indicates that she has returned to this gate and in her memory sees him reluctantly leaving again. For her it is the scene of the beginning of his absence. And evidently she knows this scene well: not only is there moss growing there, but she is aware that there are different kinds of mosses, which she has not cleared away since his departure. They are now too deep to clear away. Lines 22-25 In line 22 the sadness of the river-merchant's wife is again reflected back to her by the natural world, by the falling leaves and wind of autumn. This image becomes more defined with her observation of the butterflies in the garden, for they are "paired" as she is not, and they are becoming "yellow" changing with the season, growing older together. The butterflies "hurt" her because they emphasize the pain of her realization that she is growing older, but alone, not with her husband. Lines 26-29 In these closing lines of the poem and the "letter" the river-merchant's wife reaches out from her lonely world of sorrow to her husband in a direct request: Please let me know when and by what route you are returning, so that I may come to meet you. This, however, conveys more than it would at first appear. Her village is a suburb of Nanking and she is willing to walk to a beach several hundred miles upstream from there to meet her husband, so deeply does she yearn to close the distance between them.
Ah mah

In writing Ah Mah, Shirley Lim has drawn upon her Chinese background to reveal to us how powerfully a culture shapes the ideals and life of its society as an entity and the individuals, be it familial or the single persons. The idea is borne out in the poems contrast between the treatment of men and women and the disparity that exists. The theme is conveyed through the rich use of imagery and symbolism steeped in cultural connotations.

Ah Mah introduces its subject and begins to develop its theme through the title and the first stanza. The title refers to a woman, usually the mother of ones father, that is more frequently used by Chinese of Fujian and Cantonese descent. This reference to the Chinese culture is repeated throughout the whole poem. In effect, the poets use of these cultural references invites one to delve beneath the superficial in order to understand what it means to be born a woman, in a culture which not only enchained her within the bounds of the patriarchal household but also debilitating customs exerted through societal pressure. In the first stanza, the grandmothers stature is compared to a child of eight. As a child symbolizes weakness and helplessness, the poet has liken her grandmother to the same vulnerable state. By posing a question in the second line, one is invited to contemplate the sort of life the old lady might have led, controlled and manipulated such as that of a child. In the second stanza, the true state of the grandmother is revealed to us. She is helpless (and) hopeless. This bleak outlook is described by chin sharp as a knuckles. She has not, by all means, led a fulfilled life and this is made known through the fan half-opened. Her unhappiness and futility to lead a fruitful life is recounted further in the third stanza when the cause is made known to us; her movements are dependent upon handmaids. Through another cultural reference brought on by the poet, foot binding, readers witness the most blatant and poignant example of the inequality faced by Chinese women in the past. In stanzas five to six, the foot binding process is described. Foot binding was an ancient custom in China, lasting from the 10th century until 1911, when it was made illegal by the government. This tradition involved tight, painful binding of the feet and toes using bandages in order to keep the feet as small as three inches, known as Golden Lotus. This is alluded to in like lotus in the tight hollows of celestial lakes. The practice of foot binding started when a girl was anywhere from four to six years old, during which time a mother would bend her daughter\'s toes under her feet and tightly tie bandages around the feet to keep them from growing. As a result, the toes would grow into the sole of the foot in a

misshapen manner, like yellow petals of chrysanthemum, destroying the normal arch and making normal use of the feet totally impossible. The practice rendered the feet practically useless, confining the woman to her home. This process took several painful years to finish, and often caused infection, gangrene, and even death. Girls were finally unbound when the feet stopped growing, leaving them with useless three-inch "Lotus Feet." In exploring the relationship between the poets grandfather and grandmother, readers get a glimpse of another example of the Chinese culture which favour males over females. In traditional Chinese culture, the relationship between father and his sons is considered to be the most important relationship in the family. This could explain why the grandfather waited until his sons were married to obtain a wife. The poem does not say about the grandfathers previous wife but we can assume that she is deceased as it is considered inappropriate in the culture to divorce ones wife without good reasons. But there is an old Chinese saying which states that it is alright for a man to have three wives and four concubines thus making it possible for an older man, especially if he is rich, to obtain a young girl as a second or third wife. We are made aware that the grandfather is a well to do man as he could afford handmaids for the grandmother to lean on. The grandmother in this poem is described as a girl, and it appears that she is young and has never been married. One clue that points to this is that the poem states that the grandfather bought the young face, (with) small knobby breasts. The grandfathers decision to not have children, he swore hed not dress (her) in sarong of maternity bespoke the tyrannical influence a man has over the decision-making process. This may be due to the fact that having more children after all of ones children are grown is looked down upon in Chinese culture. This is because it is thought that the duty of continuing the family line is passed on to the mans children when they are grown.

Thus far, we have come to a better understanding of the unhappiness evinced by the grandmother. Relieved of the role to provide continuity to the family name, she is destined for a life of non-fulfillment due to the barrenness enforced upon her. Through the word bought and the descriptions in the last stanza, we now see that her husbands treatment towards her veered on the side of male selfishness. He sees her mainly as a sexual object to satisfy his lust more than anything else. This is in conformation to the notion of eroticism linked to foot binding as well as that women are secondclass citizens in the Chinese male-centered society, denied of the opportunity to education and independence, to be bought and sold as servants or consorts. In addressing foot binding, a bold issue, as for many Chinese people the practice is so linked to sex and sexuality that it makes them uncomfortable to discuss it or talk about it seriously, Shirley Lim has reaches back in time, tracing her roots to ancient China and delving into her childhood experiences growing up in 1940s Malaysia Malacca, to address issues of gender, race and complex relationships. The many cultural references used by the poet in Ah Mah reflect a desire on the poets part to find a voice for her work and her worth as a woman through a deeper understanding of her cultural background. Through her poetry, with Ah Mah being a notable example, Shirley Lim is searching for an identity for herself as she does not want to be a woman like my absent mother or silent stepmother, not the punitive nuns or my friends mothers, nor the rubber woman my bothers laughed hysterically at, not jealous Mandy or acquiescent Kim. This is very important to her as she offered in her memoir, From Among The White Moon Faces (1996) : My name birthed me in a culture so ancient and enduring I might as well have not been born. Instead, we were daughters, members of a family that placed its hope in sons. Something condescending and dismissive, careless and anonymous, accented the tones in which we were addressed. Unnecessary as individuals, girls need concern nobody, unlike sons, especially first sons, on whose goodwill mothers measured their future.

Ode on a Grecian Urn


Summary In the first stanza, the speaker stands before an ancient Grecian urn and addresses it. He is preoccupied with its depiction of pictures frozen in time. It is the still unravishd bride of quietness, the foster-child of silence and slow time. He also describes the urn as a historian that can tell a story. He wonders about the figures on the side of the urn and asks what legend they depict and from where they come. He looks at a picture that seems to depict a group of men pursuing a group of women and wonders what their story could be: What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape? / What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy? In the second stanza, the speaker looks at another picture on the urn, this time of a young man playing a pipe, lying with his lover beneath a glade of trees. The speaker says that the pipers unheard melodies are sweeter than mortal melodies because they are unaffected by time. He tells the youth that, though he can never kiss his lover because he is frozen in time, he should not grieve, because her beauty will never fade. In the third stanza, he looks at the trees surrounding the lovers and feels happy that they will never shed their leaves. He is happy for the piper because his songs will be for ever new, and happy that the love of the boy and the girl will last forever, unlike mortal love, which lapses into breathing human passion and eventually vanishes, leaving behind only a burning forehead, and a parching tongue. In the fourth stanza, the speaker examines another picture on the urn, this one of a group of villagers leading a heifer to be sacrificed. He wonders where they are going (To what green altar, O mysterious priest...) and from where they have come. He imagines their little town, empty of all its citizens, and tells it that its streets will for evermore be silent, for those who have left it, frozen on the urn, will never return. In the final stanza, the speaker again addresses the urn itself, saying that it, like Eternity, doth tease us out of thought. He thinks that when his generation is long dead, the urn will remain, telling future generations its enigmatic lesson: Beauty is truth, truth beauty. The speaker says that that is the only thing the urn knows and the only thing it needs to know. Form Ode on a Grecian Urn follows the same ode-stanza structure as the Ode on Melancholy, though it varies more the rhyme scheme of the last three lines of each stanza. Each of the five stanzas in Grecian Urn is ten lines long, metered in a relatively precise iambic pentameter, and divided into a two part rhyme scheme, the last three lines of which are variable. The first seven lines of each stanza follow an ABABCDE rhyme scheme, but the second occurrences of the CDE sounds do not follow the same order. In stanza one, lines seven through ten are rhymed DCE; in stanza two, CED; in stanzas three and four, CDE; and in stanza five, DCE, just as in stanza one. As in other odes (especially Autumn and Melancholy), the two-part rhyme scheme (the first part made of AB rhymes, the second of CDE rhymes) creates the sense of a two-part thematic structure as well. The first four lines of each stanza roughly define the subject of the stanza, and the last six roughly

explicate or develop it. (As in other odes, this is only a general rule, true of some stanzas more than others; stanzas such as the fifth do not connect rhyme scheme and thematic structure closely at all.) Themes If the Ode to a Nightingale portrays Keatss speakers engagement with the fluid expressiveness of music, the Ode on a Grecian Urn portrays his attempt to engage with the static immobility of sculpture. The Grecian urn, passed down through countless centuries to the time of the speakers viewing, exists outside of time in the human senseit does not age, it does not die, and indeed it is alien to all such concepts. In the speakers meditation, this creates an intriguing paradox for the human figures carved into the side of the urn: They are free from time, but they are simultaneously frozen in time. They do not have to confront aging and death (their love is for ever young), but neither can they have experience (the youth can never kiss the maiden; the figures in the procession can never return to their homes). The speaker attempts three times to engage with scenes carved into the urn; each time he asks different questions of it. In the first stanza, he examines the picture of the mad pursuit and wonders what actual story lies behind the picture: What men or gods are these? What maidens loth? Of course, the urn can never tell him the whos, whats, whens, and wheres of the stories it depicts, and the speaker is forced to abandon this line of questioning.

In the second and third stanzas, he examines the picture of the piper playing to his lover beneath the trees. Here, the speaker tries to imagine what the experience of the figures on the urn must be like; he tries to identify with them. He is tempted by their escape from temporality and attracted to the eternal newness of the pipers unheard song and the eternally unchanging beauty of his lover. He thinks that their love is far above all transient human passion, which, in its sexual expression, inevitably leads to an abatement of intensitywhen passion is satisfied, all that remains is a wearied physicality: a sorrowful heart, a burning forehead, and a parching tongue. His recollection of these conditions seems to remind the speaker that he is inescapably subject to them, and he abandons his attempt to identify with the figures on the urn. In the fourth stanza, the speaker attempts to think about the figures on the urn as though they were experiencing human time, imagining that their procession has an origin (the little town) and a destination (the green altar). But all he can think is that the town will forever be deserted: If these people have left their origin, they will never return to it. In this sense he confronts head-on the limits of static art; if it is impossible to learn from the urn the whos and wheres of the real story in the first stanza, it is impossibleever to know the origin and the destination of the figures on the urn in the fourth. It is true that the speaker shows a certain kind of progress in his successive attempts to engage with the urn. His idle curiosity in the first attempt gives way to a more deeply felt identification in the second, and in the third, the speaker leaves his own concerns behind and thinks of the processional

purely on its own terms, thinking of the little town with a real and generous feeling. But each attempt ultimately ends in failure. The third attempt fails simply because there is nothing more to sayonce the speaker confronts the silence and eternal emptiness of the little town, he has reached the limit of static art; on this subject, at least, there is nothing more the urn can tell him. In the final stanza, the speaker presents the conclusions drawn from his three attempts to engage with the urn. He is overwhelmed by its existence outside of temporal change, with its ability to tease him out of thought / As doth eternity. If human life is a succession of hungry generations, as the speaker suggests in Nightingale, the urn is a separate and self-contained world. It can be a friend to man, as the speaker says, but it cannot be mortal; the kind of aesthetic connection the speaker experiences with the urn is ultimately insufficient to human life. The final two lines, in which the speaker imagines the urn speaking its message to mankind Beauty is truth, truth beauty, have proved among the most difficult to interpret in the Keats canon. After the urn utters the enigmatic phrase Beauty is truth, truth beauty, no one can say for sure who speaks the conclusion, that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. It could be the speaker addressing the urn, and it could be the urn addressing mankind. If it is the speaker addressing the urn, then it would seem to indicate his awareness of its limitations: The urn may not need to know anything beyond the equation of beauty and truth, but the complications of human life make it impossible for such a simple and self-contained phrase to express sufficiently anything about necessary human knowledge. If it is the urn addressing mankind, then the phrase has rather the weight of an important lesson, as though beyond all the complications of human life, all human beings need to know on earth is that beauty and truth are one and the same. It is largely a matter of personal interpretation which reading to accept. Gods grandeur Summary The first four lines of the octave (the first eight-line stanza of an Italian sonnet) describe a natural world through which Gods presence runs like an electrical current, becoming momentarily visible in flashes like the refracted glintings of light produced by metal foil when rumpled or quickly moved. Alternatively, Gods presence is a rich oil, a kind of sap that wells up to a greatness when tapped with a certain kind of patient pressure. Given these clear, strong proofs of Gods presence in the world, the poet asks how it is that humans fail to heed (reck) His divine authority (his rod).

The second quatrain within the octave describes the state of contemporary human lifethe blind repetitiveness of human labor, and the sordidness and stain of toil and trade. The landscape in its natural state reflects God as its creator; but industry and the prioritization of the economic over the spiritual have transformed the landscape, and robbed humans of their sensitivity to the those few beauties of nature still left. The shoes people wear sever the physical connection between our feet and the earth they walk on, symbolizing an ever-increasing spiritual alienation from nature.

The sestet (the final six lines of the sonnet, enacting a turn or shift in argument) asserts that, in spite of the fallenness of Hopkinss contemporary Victorian world, nature does not cease offering up its spiritual indices. Permeating the world is a deep freshness that testifies to the continual renewing power of Gods creation. This power of renewal is seen in the way morning always waits on the other side of dark night. The source of this constant regeneration is the grace of a God who broods over a seemingly lifeless world with the patient nurture of a mother hen. This final image is one of God guarding the potential of the world and containing within Himself the power and promise of rebirth. With the final exclamation (ah! bright wings) Hopkins suggests both an awed intuition of the beauty of Gods grace, and the joyful suddenness of a hatchling bird emerging out of Gods loving incubation. Form This poem is an Italian sonnetit contains fourteen lines divided into an octave and a sestet, which are separated by a shift in the argumentative direction of the poem. The meter here is not the sprung rhythm for which Hopkins is so famous, but it does vary somewhat from the iambic pentameter lines of the conventional sonnet. For example, Hopkins follows stressed syllable with stressed syllable in the fourth line of the poem, bolstering the urgency of his question: Why do men then now not reck his rod? Similarly, in the next line, the heavy, falling rhythm of have trod, have trod, have trod, coming after the quick lilt of generations, recreates the sound of plodding footsteps in striking onomatopoeia. Commentary The poem begins with the surprising metaphor of Gods grandeur as an electric force. The figure suggests an undercurrent that is not always seen, but which builds up a tension or pressure that occasionally flashes out in ways that can be both brilliant and dangerous. The optical effect of shook foil is one example of this brilliancy. The image of the oil being pressed out of an olive represents another kind of richness, where saturation and built-up pressure eventually culminate in a salubrious overflow. The image of electricity makes a subtle return in the fourth line, where the rod of Gods punishing power calls to mind the lightning rod in which excess electricity in the atmosphere will occasionally flame out. Hopkins carefully chooses this complex of images to link the secular and scientific to mystery, divinity, and religious tradition. Electricity was an area of much scientific interest during Hopkinss day, and is an example of a phenomenon that had long been taken as an indication of divine power but which was now explained in naturalistic, rational terms. Hopkins is defiantly affirmative in his assertion that Gods work is still to be seen in nature, if men will only concern themselves to look. Refusing to ignore the discoveries of modern science, he takes them as further evidence of Gods grandeur rather than a challenge to it. Hopkinss awe at the optical effects of a piece of foil attributes revelatory power to a man-made object; gold-leaf foil had also been used in recent influential scientific experiments. The olive oil, on the other hand, is an ancient sacramental substance, used for centuries for food, medicine, lamplight, and religious purposes. This oil thus traditionally appears in all aspects of life, much as God suffuses all branches of the created universe. Moreover, the slowness of its oozing contrasts with the quick electric flash; the method of

its extraction implies such spiritual qualities as patience and faith. (By including this description Hopkins may have been implicitly criticizing the violence and rapaciousness with which his contemporaries drilled petroleum oil to fuel industry.) Thus both the images of the foil and the olive oil bespeak an all-permeating divine presence that reveals itself in intermittent flashes or droplets of brilliance. Hopkinss question in the fourth line focuses his readers on the present historical moment; in considering why men are no longer God-fearing, the emphasis is on now. The answer is a complex one. The second quatrain contains an indictment of the way a cultures neglect of God translates into a neglect of the environment. But it also suggests that the abuses of previous generations are partly to blame; they have soiled and seared our world, further hindering our ability to access the holy. Yet the sestet affirms that, in spite of the interdependent deterioration of human beings and the earth, God has not withdrawn from either. He possesses an infinite power of renewal, to which the regenerative natural cycles testify. The poem reflects Hopkinss conviction that the physical world is like a book written by God, in which the attentive person can always detect signs of a benevolent authorship, and which can help mediate human beings contemplation of this Author.
God sees the truth but waits

Ivan Dmitrich Aksionov is a merchant living in a town in Russia, Vladimir. Although Aksionov is prone to drinking, he is not violent, and he is responsible and well liked by people that know him. One day he decides to go to a fair as a business venture, but his wife pleads for him not to go because of a nightmare she had the previous night. Aksionov doesn't consider his wife's dream and leaves for the fair. Aksionov meets another merchant on his way, and the two decide to travel together. They check into an inn and have a good time drinking, then they retire separately. Aksionov wakes early in the next morning to get to the fair and leaves without the other merchant. Not far down the road, Aksionov is stopped by some policemen. They explain a merchant was just murdered and robbed, and then they search Aksionov's bag. They find a bloody knife, and despite Aksionov's claims that he is not the murderer, he is sentenced and sent to Siberia. After his trial flogging, his wife can finally visit him, and she sees that Aksionov's hair has begun to go gray from the stress. Aksionov spends twenty-six years in Siberia, and, resigned to his fate, he dedicates his life to God. He becomes a mediator of sorts in the prison, and he is well respected by the other prisoners and also guards alike. One day some new prisoners, one of them being Makar Semyonich, are transferred to the prison. After overhearing several conversations, Aksionov is convinced that Makar Semyonich is the man who committed the murder for which

Aksionov was blamed. Eventually Aksionov confronts Makar Semyonich, but he denies committing the murder. One day the guards notice that someone had been strewing dirt around the grounds, and they search the prison and find a tunnel. Aksionov had found out earlier that it was Makar Semyonich that was digging the hole, but after being questioned by the police, Aksionov declares that it is not his place to speak about the matter. Makar Semyonich approaches Aksionov later that day in a terrible state, and he eventually admits to Aksionov that it was he who killed the merchant. Aksionov forgives Semyonich, and he feels as if a terrible weight had been lifted. Makar Semyonich confesses to the authorities, and the process for Aksionov to be cleared is begun. Unfortunately, Aksionov dies before he can reach home, but he dies in peace. The cask Montresor tells the story of the day that he took his revenge on Fortunato, a fellow nobleman. Angry over some unspecified insult, he plots to murder his friend during Carnival when the man is drunk, dizzy, and wearing a jester'smotley. He baits Fortunato by telling him he has obtained what he believes to be a pipe (about 130 gallons,[1] 492 litres) of a rare vintage of Amontillado. He claims he wants his friend's expert opinion on the subject. Fortunato goes with Montresor to the wine cellars of the latter's palazzo, where they wander in the catacombs. Montresor offers wine (first Medoc, then De Grave) to Fortunato; at one point, Fortunato makes an elaborate, grotesque gesture with an upraised wine bottle. When Montresor appears not to recognize the gesture, Fortunato asks, "You are not of themasons?" Montresor says he is, and when Fortunato, disbelieving, requests a sign, Montresor displays a trowel he had been hiding. Montresor warns Fortunato, who has a bad cough, of the damp, and suggests they go back; Fortunato insists on continuing, claiming that "[he] shall not die of a cough." During their walk, Montresor mentions his family coat of arms: a foot in a blue background crushing a snake whose fangs are embedded in the foot's heel, with the motto Nemo me impune lacessit ("No one insults me with impunity"). When they come to a niche, Montresor tells his victim that the Amontillado is within. Fortunato enters and, drunk and unsuspecting, does not resist as Montresor quickly chains him to the wall. Montresor then declares that, since Fortunato won't go back, he must "positively leave [him]". Montresor walls up the niche, entombing his friend alive. At first, Fortunato, who sobers up faster than Montresor anticipated he would, shakes the chains, trying to escape. Fortunato then screams for help, but Montresor mocks his cries, knowing nobody can hear them.

Fortunato laughs weakly and tries to pretend that he is the subject of a joke and that people will be waiting for him (including the Lady Fortunato). As the murderer finishes the topmost row of stones, Fortunato wails, "For the love of God, Montresor!" Montresor replies, "Yes, for the love of God!" He listens for a reply but hears only the jester's bells ringing. Before placing the last stone, he drops a burning torch through the gap. He claims that he feels sick at heart, but dismisses this reaction as an effect of the dampness of the catacombs. In the last few sentences, Montresor reveals that it has been 50 years since that night, he has never been caught, and Fortunato's body still hangs from its chains in the niche where he left it. The murderer, seemingly unrepentant, ends the story by remarking: In pace requiescat! ("May he rest in peace!"). [edit]Publication

history

"The Cask of Amontillado" was first published in the November 1846 issue of Godey's Lady's Book[2] which was, at the time, the most popular periodical in America. [3] The story was only published one additional time during Poe's life.[4] [edit]Analysis Although the subject matter of Poe's story is a murder, "The Cask of Amontillado" is not a tale of detection like "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" or "The Purloined Letter"; there is no investigation of Montresor's crime and the criminal himself explains how he committed the murder. The mystery in "The Cask of Amontillado" is in Montresor's motive for murder. Without a detective in the story, it is up to the reader to solve the mystery.[5] Montresor never specifies his motive beyond than the vague "thousand injuries" to which he refers. Many commentators conclude that, lacking significant reason, Montresor must be insane, though even this is questionable because of the intricate details of the plot.[5] Though Fortunato is presented as a connoisseur of fine wine, his actions in the story make it questionable. For example, he comments on another nobleman being unable to distinguish Amontillado from Sherry when Amontillado is in fact a type of Sherry to begin with and treats De Grave, an expensive French wine, with very little regard by drinking it in a single gulp.[1] Poe may have known bricklaying through personal experience. Many periods in Poe's life lack significant biographical details, including what he did after leaving the Southern Literary Messenger in 1837.[6] Poe biographer John H. Ingram wrote to Sarah Helen Whitman that someone named "Allen" said that Poe worked "in the brickyard 'late in the fall of 1834'". This

source has been identified as Robert T. P. Allen, a fellow West Point student during Poe's time there.[7] [edit]Inspiration An apocryphal legend holds that the inspiration for "The Cask of Amontillado" came from a story Poe had heard at Castle Island (South Boston), Massachusetts, when he was a private there in 1827.[8] According to this legend, while stationed at Castle Island in 1827 he saw a monument to Lieutenant Robert Massie. Massie had been killed in a sword duel on Christmas Day 1817 by Lieutenant Gustavus Drane, following a dispute during a card game.[9] According to the legend, other soldiers then took revenge on Drane by getting him drunk, luring him into the dungeon, chaining him to a wall, and sealing him in a vault[10] (though the last part is untrue, as Drane was courtmartialled and acquitted,[11] living until 1846[12]). A report of a skeleton discovered on the island may be a confused remembering of Poe's major source, Joel Headley's "A Man Built in a Wall" (1844), which recounts the author's seeing an immured skeleton in the wall of a church in Italy.[13] Headley's story includes details very similar to "The Cask of Amontillado"; in addition to walling an enemy into a hidden niche, the story details the careful placement of the bricks, the motive of revenge, and the victim's agonized moaning. Poe may have also seen similar themes in Honor de Balzac's "Le Grande Bretche" (Democratic Review, November 1843) or his friend George Lippard's The Quaker City; or The Monks of Monk Hall (1845).[14] Poe may have borrowed Montresor's family motto Nemo me impune lacessit from James Fenimore Cooper, who used the line in The Last of the Mohicans (1826).[15]

Thomas Dunn English

Poe wrote his tale, however, as a response to his personal rival Thomas Dunn English. Poe and English had several confrontations, usually revolving around literary caricatures of one another. Poe thought that one of English's writings went a bit too far, and successfully sued the other man's editors at The New York Mirror for libelin 1846.[16] That year English published a revenge-based novel called 1844, or, The Power of the S.F. Its plot was convoluted and difficult to follow, but made references to secret societies and ultimately had a main theme of revenge. It included a character named Marmaduke Hammerhead, the famous author of "The Black Crow", who uses phrases like "Nevermore" and "lost Lenore",

referring to Poe's poem "The Raven". This parody of Poe was depicted as a drunkard, liar, and an abusive lover. Poe responded with "The Cask of Amontillado", using very specific references to English's novel. In Poe's story, for example, Fortunato makes reference to the secret society of Masons, similar to the secret society in 1844, and even makes a gesture similar to one portrayed in 1844 (it was a signal of distress). English had also used an image of a token with a hawk grasping a snake in its claws, similar to Montresor's coat of arms bearing a foot stomping on a snake though in this image, the snake is biting the heel. In fact, much of the scene of "The Cask of Amontillado" comes from a scene in 1844 that takes place in a subterranean vault. In the end, then, it is Poe who "punishes with impunity" by not taking credit for his own literary revenge and by crafting a concise tale (as opposed to a novel) with a singular effect, as he had suggested in his essay "The Philosophy of Composition".[17] Poe may have also been inspired, at least in part, by the Washingtonian movement, a fellowship that promoted temperance. The group was made up of reformed drinkers who tried to scare people into abstaining from alcohol. Poe may have made a promise to join the movement in 1843 after a bout of drinking with the hopes of gaining a political appointment. "The Cask of Amontillado" then may be a "dark temperance tale", meant to shock people into realizing the dangers of drinking.[18] Poe scholar Richard P. Benton has stated his belief that "Poe's protagonist is an Englished version of the French Montrsor" and has argued forcefully that Poe's model for Montresor "was Claude de Bourdeille, Count of Montrsor, the 17th-century political conspirator in the entourage of King Louis XIII's weak-willed brother, Gaston d'Orlans".[19] The "noted intriguer and memoir-writer" was first linked to "The Cask of Amontillado" by Poe scholar Burton R. Pollin.

Odyssey

Synopsis
[edit]Exposition The Odyssey begins ten years after the end of the ten-year Trojan War, and Odysseus has still not returned home from the war. Odysseus' son Telemachus is 20 and is sharing his absent fathers house on the island of Ithaca with his mother Penelope and a crowd of 108

boisterous young men, "the Suitors", whose aim is to persuade Penelope to marry one of them, all the while enjoying the hospitality of Odysseus' household and eating up his wealth. Odysseus protectress, the goddess Athena, discusses his fate with Zeus, king of the gods, at a moment when Odysseus' enemy, the god of the sea Poseidon, is absent from Mount Olympus. Then, disguised as a Taphian chieftain named Mentes (otherwise known as Mentor), she visits Telemachus to urge him to search for news of his father. He offers her hospitality; they observe the Suitors dining rowdily while the bard Phemius performs a narrative poem for them. Penelope objects to Phemius' theme, the "Return from Troy"[4] because it reminds her of her missing husband, but Telemachus rebuts her objections. That night Athena, disguised as Telemachus, finds a ship and crew for the true Telemachus. The next morning, Telemachus calls an assembly of citizens of Ithaca to discuss what should be done with the suitors. Accompanied by Athena (still disguised as Mentor), he departs for the Greek mainland and the household of Nestor, most venerable of the Greek warriors at Troy, now at home in Pylos. From there, Telemachus rides overland, accompanied by Nestor's son, Peisistratus, to Sparta, where he finds Menelaus and Helen, now reconciled. He is told that they returned to Sparta after a long voyage by way of Egypt. There, on the island of Pharos, Menelaus encountered the old sea-god Proteus, who told him that Odysseus was a captive of the nymph Calypso. Incidentally, Telemachus learns the fate of Menelaus brother Agamemnon, king of Mycenae and leader of the Greeks at Troy: he was murdered on his return home by his wife Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus.

Charles Gleyre, Odysseus and Nausica

[edit]Escape

to the Phaeacians

Then the story of Odysseus is told. He has spent seven years in captivity on Calypso's island, Ogygia. Calypso falls deeply in love with him but he has consistently spurned her advances. She is persuaded to release him by Odysseus' great-grandfather, the messenger god Hermes, who has been sent by Zeus in response to Athena's plea. Odysseus builds a raft and is given clothing, food and drink by Calypso. When Poseidon finds out that Odysseus has escaped, he wrecks the raft, but Odysseus swims ashore on the island of Scherie (helped by a veil given by the sea nymph Ino), the home of the Phaeacians, where, naked and exhausted, he hides in a pile of leaves and falls asleep. The next morning, awakened by the laughter of girls, he sees the young Nausicaa, who has gone to the seashore with her maids to wash clothes, after Athena appeared to her in a dream and told her to do so. He appeals to her for help. She encourages him to seek the hospitality of her parents, Arete andAlcinous, or Alkinous. Odysseus is welcomed and is not at first asked for his name. He remains for several days, takes part in a pentathlon, and hears the blind singer Demodocus perform two narrative poems. The first is an otherwise obscure incident of the Trojan War, the "Quarrel of Odysseus and Achilles"; the second is the amusing tale of a love affair between two Olympian gods, Ares and Aphrodite. Finally, Odysseus asks Demodocus to return to the Trojan War theme and tell of the Trojan Horse, a stratagem in which Odysseus had played a leading role. Unable to hide his emotion as he relives this episode, Odysseus at last reveals his identity. He then begins to tell the story of his return from Troy.

Odysseus Overcome by Demodocus' Song, byFrancesco Hayez, 1813-15

[edit]Odysseus'

account of his adventures

After a piratical raid on Ismaros in the land of the Cicones, he and his twelve ships were driven off course by storms. They visited the lethargic Lotus-Eaters who gave two of his men their fruit which caused them to forget their homecoming, and then were captured by the Cyclops Polyphemus, escaping by blinding him with a wooden stake. While they were escaping, however, Odysseus foolishly told Polyphemus his identity, and Polyphemus told his father, Poseidon, that Odysseus had blinded him. Poseidon then curses Odysseus to wander the sea for ten years, during which he would lose all his crew and return home through the aid of others. After their escape, they stayed with Aeolus, the master of the winds and he gave Odysseus a leather bag containing all the winds, except the west wind, a gift that should have ensured a safe return home. However, the sailors foolishly opened the bag while Odysseus slept, thinking that it contained gold. All of the winds flew out and the resulting storm drove the ships back the way they had come, just as Ithaca came into sight. After unsuccessfully pleading with Aeolus to help them again, they re-embarked and encountered thecannibalistic Laestrygonians. All of Odysseuss ships except his own entered the harbor of the Laestrygonians Island and were immediately destroyed. He sailed on and visited the witch-goddess Circe. She turned half of his men into swine after feeding them cheese and wine. Hermes warned Odysseus about Circe and gave Odysseus a drug called moly which gave him resistance to Circes magic. Circe, being attracted to Odysseus' resistance, agreed to bargain with him. She agreed to change his men back to their human form in exchange for Odysseus' love. They remained with her on the island for one year, while they feasted and drank. Finally, guided by Circe's instructions, Odysseus and his crew crossed the ocean and reached a harbor at the western edge of the world, where Odysseus sacrificed to the dead and summoned the spirit of the old prophet Tiresias to advise him of how to appease the gods upon his return home. Next Odysseus met the spirit of his own mother, who had died of grief during his long absence. From her, he learned for the first time news of his own household, threatened by the greed of the Suitors. Here, too, he met the spirits of famous women and famous men. Notably he encountered the spirit of Agamemnon, of whose murder he now learned, and Achilles, who told him about the woes of the land of the dead (for Odysseus' encounter with the dead, see also Nekuia). Returning to Circes island, they were advised by her on the remaining stages of the journey. They skirted the land of the Sirens, who sang an enchanting song that normally caused passing sailors to steer toward the rocks, only to hit them and sink. All of the sailors except for Odysseus, who was tied to the mast, had their ears plugged up with beeswax.

They then passed between the six-headed monster Scylla and the whirlpool Charybdis, and landed on the island ofThrinacia. There, Odysseus men ignored the warnings of Tiresias and Circe, and hunted down the sacred cattle of the sun god Helios. This sacrilege was punished by a shipwreck in which all but Odysseus drowned. He was washed ashore on the island of Calypso, where she compelled him to remain as her lover for seven years before she was ordered by Zeus to release Odysseus. [edit]Return

to Ithaca

Having listened with rapt attention to his story, the Phaeacians, who are skilled mariners, agree to help Odysseus get home. They deliver him at night, while he is fast asleep, to a hidden harbour on Ithaca. He finds his way to the hut of one of his own former slaves, the swineherd Eumaeus. Athena disguises Odysseus as a wandering beggar in order to learn how things stand in his household. After dinner, he tells the farm laborers a fictitious tale of himself: he was born inCrete, had led a party of Cretans to fight alongside other Greeks in the Trojan War, and had then spent seven years at the court of the king of Egypt; finally he had been shipwrecked in Thesprotia and crossed from there to Ithaca. Meanwhile, Telemachus sails home from Sparta, evading an ambush set by the Suitors. He disembarks on the coast of Ithaca and makes for Eumaeuss hut. Father and son meet; Odysseus identifies himself to Telemachus (but still not to Eumaeus) and they determine that the suitors must be killed. Telemachus gets home first. Accompanied by Eumaeus, Odysseus now returns to his own house, still pretending to be a beggar. He is ridiculed by the suitors in his own home, especially by one extremely impertinent man named Antinous. His son is beaten up by the larger men to show his "transition to manhood", and Odysseus attempts to stop the fight; as a result, Antinous throws a chair at him and laughs at him. Odysseus meets Penelope and tests her intentions with an invented story of his birth in Crete, where, he says, he once met Odysseus. Closely questioned, he adds that he had recently been in Thesprotia and had learned something there of Odysseuss recent wanderings. Odysseuss identity is discovered by the housekeeper, Eurycleia, as she is washing his feet and discovers an old scar Odysseus had received during a boar hunt. He had received the scar when he was hunting with the sons of Autolycus. They had been told to go boar hunting so that they could prepare a meal with the meat. The three climbed Mount Parnassus and eventually came across a boar in a large and deep meadow. Because of the meadow's depth, the three hunters were ambushed by the seemingly invisible boar and when Odysseus first saw the animal, he rushed at it but the animal was too fast and slashed him in the right thigh. Despite being gored by the boar, Odysseus still hit his mark and stabbed the boar through the shoulder. Odysseus' bleeding was staunched

by a spell that was chanted by the sons of Autolycus and he received great glory and treasure for his bravery.[5] Having seen this scar, Eurycleia tries to tell Penelope about Odysseus' true identity, but Athena makes sure that Penelope cannot hear Eurycleia. Meanwhile, Odysseus swears her to secrecy, and she promises not to tell. [edit]Slaying

of the Suitors

The next day, at Athenas prompting, Penelope maneuvers the Suitors into competing for her hand with an archery competition using Odysseus' bow. The man who can string the bow and shoot it through a dozen axe heads would win. Odysseus takes part in the competition himself: he alone is strong enough to string the bow and shoot it through the dozen axe heads, making him the winner. He then turns his arrows on the Suitors and with the help of Athena, Telemachus, Eumaeus and Philoteus the cowherd, he kills all the Suitors. Odysseus and Telemachus hang twelve of their household maids, who had betrayed Penelope or had sex with the Suitors, or both; they mutilate and kill the goatherd Melanthius, who had mocked and abused Odysseus. Now at last, Odysseus identifies himself to Penelope. She is hesitant, but accepts him when he mentions that their bed was made from an olive tree still rooted to the ground. Many modern and ancient scholars take this to be the original ending of the Odyssey, and the rest to be an interpolation. The next day he and Telemachus visit the country farm of his old father Laertes, who likewise accepts his identity only when Odysseus correctly describes the orchard that Laertes had previously given him. The citizens of Ithaca have followed Odysseus on the road, planning to avenge the killing of the Suitors, their sons. Their leader points out that Odysseus has now caused the deaths of two generations of the men of Ithaca: his sailors, not one of whom survived; and the Suitors, whom he has now executed. The goddess Athena intervenes and persuades both sides to give up the vendetta, a deus ex machina. After this, Ithaca is at peace once more, concluding theOdyssey.