• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent do you regard 'The Shield Of Achilles' as characteristic of Auden's work as whole?

Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  • Essay length: 1019 words
  • Submitted: 06/06/2005
Share this essay:
AS and A Level Classics

The first 200 words of this essay...

To what extent do you regard 'The Shield Of Achilles' as characteristic of Auden's work as whole?

At first glance Auden's poem the 'Shield of Achilles' appears to be focused on the classical world. The poem's classical nature is first indicated by the title- Achilles was of course a famous Greek hero, and throughout the poem there are further classical references, many of which Auden has taken from Book XVIII of Homer's Iliad- 'Marble well-governed cities' (l.3), '...athletes at their games' (l.46), 'Hephaestos, hobbled away' (l.61). However, the poem also combines these classical details with the modern world- 'Proved by statistics' (l.17), 'Barbed wire enclosed an arbitrary spot' (l.31). Although there is this unusual combination of classical and modern, the poem can be seen as timeless:

Column by column in a cloud of dust

They marched away enduring a belief

Whose logic brought them, somewhere else, to grief.

('The Shield of Achilles' ll.21-23)

Here the army who are 'enduring a belief' (l.21) that they are doing good can be as easily applicable to the modern day (i.e. the situation in Iraq) as to classical times. The timeless nature of the poem

Read more
The above preview is unformatted text

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • Over 150,000 essays available
  • Just £6.99 a month

  • "
    Markedbyteachers.com is the most informative, easy to navigate site that I have used, acquiring a wealth of information to assist with my degree.
    "
    Natalie. Criminology, Politics, Psychology and Economics. University Student.
  • "
    I believe that www.markedbyteachers.com provides a resource which most students would find highly beneficial.
    "
    John Plowright. Teacher. Repton School. Derbyshire.

Marked by a teacher

This essay has been marked by one of our great teachers. You can read the full teachers notes when you download the essay.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review on the essay page.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review under the essay preview on this page.