Essay on A Surprising Read and Analysis of Brueghel’s Two Monkeys

1241 Words Mar 3rd, 2012 5 Pages
The Monkey’s Uncle:
A Surprising Read and Analysis of Brueghel’s Two Monkeys”

Szymborska’s poem, “Brueghel’s Two Monkeys,” starts in an odd way. The reader is thrust straight into the scene of an exam, which at first seems all too familiar. However, Szymborska surprises the reader when the voice says what she dreams about as she takes the final exam, “two monkeys, chained to the floor.” This is a very odd image and one that is not easily identifiable to the reader initially. The poem contains two meanings, first in the context of the 1956 workers' riots and student demonstrations that led to the crisis and compromise of October where Poland was taken over by Stalin. These events provide a context for the reading of the poem as a
…show more content…
Another interesting thing about the first stanza is one run on sentence where the only punctuation is a colon, interspersed commas and only one period. It creates urgency, to reach the end of the line and the stanza and dive into the depths of this dream world. There is also a dual meaning here, with the descent into the Stalinist oppression being almost a parallel to the depths of the dream world. The second stanza is composed of only two lines, a couplet. However, these two lines may be the most important; even just looking at the poem from a distance makes ones eyes focus on these two lines because they are so different and central to the poem. There is no end rhyme again but the lines have masculine endings, which is in stark contrast to the feminine end rhyme used in the first stanza. Perhaps this is trying to reinforce the importance of these two lines, further differentiating them from the rest of the poem. The reader has no need to look at the painting to see a simple assertion in the image of chained monkeys; we as a species have failed the test of history. The history here is in reference to the oppressions of Stalin and how we must have failed as a species to allow his kind of hurt, pain and anguish to go on. The lines only have a dimeter, two stressed syllables in each, which further reinforces the important words,
Open Document