Analysis of "The Age of Anxiety" by W.H. Auden

2680 WordsOct 8, 199911 Pages
Analysis of "The Age of Anxiety" by W.H. Auden The themes and ideas in Auden's "The Age of Anxiety" reflect his belief that man's quest for self actualization is in vain. I. Auden's background A. As a 1930's poet 1. Views of Society 2. Diagnosis of the industrial society B. Major conflicts of his works II. "The Age of Anxiety" overview A. As a quest poem 1. Characters' search for self-actualization 2. Characters' inevitable failure in the quest B. Characters' views on the general situation 1. Their belief to be in Purgatory when they are allegorically in Hell 2. Their disbelief in impossibility III. "The Age of Anxiety" character analysis A. Quant B. Malin C. Rosetta D.…show more content…
As they realize that life has no meaning, the desert becomes the real world, thus ending this stage with their awakening VII. The remaining three parts A. Follows the characters from the bar to their homes B. The four remember the despair of the conclusion of "The Seven Stages" rather than the journey itself In Auden's lengthy poem, "The Age of Anxiety", he follows the actions and thoughts of four characters who happen to meet in a bar during a war. Their interactions with one another lead them on an imaginary quest in their minds in which they attempt, without success, to discover themselves. The themes and ideas that Auden's "The Age of Anxiety" conveys reflect his belief that man's quest for self-actualization is in vain. W. H. Auden was born in York, England, in 1907, the third and youngest son of Constance and George Auden (Magill 72). His poetry in the 1930's reflected the world of his era, a world of depression, Fascism, and war. His works adopt a prose of a "clinical diagrostician [sic] anatomizing society" and interpret social and spiritual acts as failures of communication (Magill 74). They also put forth a diagnosis of the industrial English society among economic and moral decay in the 1930's (Magill 72). Conflicts common in his works are those between war and peace, corruption of modern society, and the "dichotomy between the rich and the
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