Analysis of the Journey of the Magi Essay

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The Journey of the Magi by TS Elliot centres around one of the three Wise Men who travelled to Bethlehem shortly after his birth bringing him gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. The poem has many different hidden meanings but they are all based around a common theme of faith. A common interpretation of the poem is that Elliot wrote about his experiences in converting to Christianity and put them into the context and mind frame of one of the Magi. This interpretation seems to fit very well. In the first section, of which there are three, the magus describes the physical aspects of the "long journey"; the "weather sharp", the "camels galled, sore-footed", "sleeping in snatches." Elliot is discussing the difficulties that he…show more content…
The second section describes what the Magus saw when he got to his destination, the place of Jesus' birth, or in Elliot's case, his baptism into Christianity. It begins with the magus entering a temperate valley - a warm place, habitable. It is below the snow line, it is away from the extremes of the weather. Things can grow here; there is the smell of vegetation, of new life. Elliot now begins to use symbolism: "Three trees on the low sky, And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow. Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel, Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver, And feet kicking the empty wine-skins." The three trees are the three crosses on Calvary Hill, the white horse is Jesus' war horse at the ending of the world, the vine leaves and wine skins hint of the Last Supper and the six hands the Roman soldiers gambling for Jesus' clothes at the crucifixion or Judas' betrayal of Jesus. One notices that all of these symbols are from times nearing the end (or at the end) of Jesus' life. (Think of a point to do with this). At the end of the section, the Magi arrive at the place of Christ's birth, only to remark upon it as "Satisfactory." Perhaps Elliot is expressing his disappointment in the Christian faith - it is not quite the revelation he had hoped for nor left
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