Literary Analysis Of Paul Kelan's Death Fugue By Paul Celan
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“Death Fugue” a 1948 published poem written by Paul Celan, is one of the most prominent post World War II literary product that contributed to the illustration of the horrific and gruesome experience that the survivors of the Nazi concentration had lived through. By reading the poem, readers can sense the eventual fate and dismay building up in the text, observed in the proliferating disorientated tone in each line which ultimately comes together, creating a complete unified story at the very end. Generally, the discussion of this genocidal reality, marked in whose history is usually extremely extensive however, Celan manages to capture the attention and thoughts of his audience in his four short stanzas of this poem. It is very apparent what cruelty mankind is capable of when dealing with what they deem as inferior beings. In the case, there is a strong separation of identity between the prisoners and guards. The overall sensation of the poem heavily resembles a concentration camp and that maybe Celan’s portrayal of his eighteen-months experience in a labor camp during WWII (Olidort). Additionally, there is a clear difference between the guards and the depicted victims of the poem, with a hierarchy system set in place. In furtherance to reveal these meaning, Celan employs the utilization of symbols, dark imagery, and metonymy language to convey the dread condition and constant trepidation experience which constructs a phantasmagorical picture in our minds.
The title of the poem is itself, a symbol. “Death Fugue” or death tango predominately is a fugue, the repeat of musical sounds or a dance though in the poem, it is the repetition of “Black milk of daybreak, we drink it at sundown…drink it and we drink it” (Celan line 1) and “we dig a grave in the breezes there one lies unconfined” (Celan line 4) is something that divulge the physical and mental cycle of suffering or in other words, a slow-working poison. When a repetition of activities is done, we are all very familiar with the feeling of this slow dulling of emotion and senses that occurs. Consequently, it becomes a mechanical process that we live daily, repeating the same routine such as eat, work, sleep. But in the confinement situation described in