What Is The Meaning Of The Grauballe Man By Seamus Heaney

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The Grauballe Man, a literary composition from North by Seamus Heaney, meticulously scrutinizes the iconic ‘bog body’ on display and presents his response towards the violence and chaos revealed in the piece of artifact. The level of detail provided by the poet is very intricate, almost as if he is venerating the bog queen. Throughout the poem, Heaney uses various literally devices to create vivid images, as well as expressing his distinction between the dead and alive. He uniformly alters the context of the poem through noun phrases and striking terminology. The notions of a man’s barbaric actions, expressed within the poem are then associated with the contemporary events happening between the borders of Northern Ireland and the South of England.…show more content…
The author starts off with an image of the bog body weeping ‘the black river of himself’. This personification evokes the sorrow and suffering the Grauballe Man has been through over the millennia. It also vitalizes the remains laying in front of him, providing long departed feelings and emotions to an empty corpse. ‘Weep’ also connotes suppurating, providing a detailed image of the state the corpse was in. On the other hand, Heaney delineates the skin of the Grauballe man as having ‘tanned and toughened’. The author delves into the lexical field of processing hide to dehumanize the bog body and presents it as an object, rather than a living being. Heaney further displays this by using adjectives such as ‘rusted’ and ‘mat’ to compare the Grauballe man’s hair to inorganic objects. This is quickly apposed through a simile…show more content…
“The chin is a visor raised above the vent” provides an image of a knight’s visor and is used to describe the unnatural shape of the head caused by a vicious action. The hair of the Grauballe Man is described as ‘rusted’, the same rust which appears on ancient metal weapons. ‘Slashed’ is also used to describe the throat and could refer to the slashing of swords. These medieval imagery refers to a period whereby knights were forced to fight and protect their lord’s kingdom from invasions of the barbarians. It is also the period of the crusades, another sectarian war between two major religions, Christianity and Islam. The poet proceeds to admire and complement the bog body by comparing it to the Dying Gaul, an ancient Roman statue. The piece of art, reminiscent to the pose of the Grauballe man, is a dignified sculpture of a mortally wounded Gallic warrior regarded by the Romans as a barbarian but portrayed as a ‘noble savage’. Heaney uses this image of a heroic death at the hands of imperialists to emphasize the brutal political reality. Through the lines ‘hung in the scales’, Heaney refers to another Roman statue, Lady Justice. The roman goddess is an allegorical personification of the moral force in judicial systems. The forces weighed in this case refers to the beauty of the visual artworks versus the victims of atrocity caused by the sectarian conflict. Any balance in favor of

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