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Heaney has referred to the ancient tribal practices as "providing imaginative parallels to modern Irish politics" Examine punishment and two other poems in light of this statement.

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Introduction

Heaney has referred to the ancient tribal practices as "providing imaginative parallels to modern Irish politics" Examine punishment and two other poems in light of this statement. Heaney has a great love and respect for the landscape and its history and how is comparable to modern life. A popular device of his is to use the "bog people" to reflect the crisis in Ireland at the time of his writing. This brings forward many motifs such as the idea that people never change or the as humans we are at harmony with nature. In punishment Heaney skilfully compares a sacrificed women preserved in a bog since the Iron Age with the punishment to one of many anonymous young catholic Irish women dated English protestant soldiers in Ireland. The poem starts with vivid description of the sacrifice of the Danish Iron Aged women. Heaney uses emphatic language to evoke the listeners' sympathy and invite them into this act. By saying "I can feel" the listener too feels the pain of the atrocity and can then realise the stark similarity to the punishment in Ireland. ...read more.

Middle

Heaney displays to the listener the elements which cause this tribal ritual mentioning "betraying sisters" this could mean sisters in Ireland betraying each other under the war circumstances. It could also be sisters in ancient Europe as the allowed another to be sacrificed. This idea of allowing brutality in a group is paralleled between the two societies by Heaney in several of his poems. Heaney draws severe similarities between the "sacrificed" and the "punished". He refers to the bog person as "tar faced" this has a strong connection with the punishment where IRA would tar victims and the feather them. The due to the transformation in the bog the women now looks like has a "shaved head like a stubble of black corn". This lines draws the likeness with troubles in Ireland as a before killing a women she would first have her head shaved. Similarly in "Strange Fruit" Heaney uses the recurring theme of people preserved in bogs to parallel modern day attitudes. Heaney refers to Roman culture "Diodorus Siculus ...likes of this". ...read more.

Conclusion

This understanding of death is further seen in " The Tollund Man" where Heaney once more uses a bog person to parallel the modern Irish troubles with the ancient rituals in Denmark. Heaney uses sudden time shifts to emphasise the similarities in the two cultures. He starts the poem in ancient Denmark retelling the relationship between the sacrificed and the bog. He sees it as a marriage between man and the land: "Bridegroom to the goddess". Having built up a great atmosphere around the Danish culture using the native tongue "Reposes at Aarhus" Heaney suddenly turns to Ireland. He uses the real example of "four young brothers trailed for miles" to bring forth the idea that we as humans have not progressed. He is also suggesting that murder is a human quality that will always be with us. Heaney sees it in the ancient Denmark through the "Tollund Man" and he has grown up with it in Ireland. Heaney uses the bog people as a vessel to parallel the troubles in Ireland with ancient tribal practices. The similarities are stark yet subtle and Heaney writes with a remarkable use of the English language to parallel the two cultures and reflect humanity. ...read more.

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