Poetry Analysis of 'Night of the Scorpion' by Nissim Ezekiel, and 'Sacrifice' by TaufiqRafat.
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Poetry Analysis Night of the Scorpion by Nissim Ezekiel Sacrifice by Taufiq Rafat "Night of the Scorpion" by Nissim Ezekiel is a poem about a child witnessing an event in his life. This was quite horrific, as vivid details of his mother being stung by a scorpion are portrayed in the poem. On the other hand "Sacrifice" by Taufiq Rafat (1927-1998) portrays a sacrificial ceremony, in celebration of laying the foundation of a new dwelling. The purpose of this sacrifice is to give the dwelling good luck. "Sacrifice" is by an English-language Pakistani poet who is credited with introducing a characteristically Urdu movement into original English writing by Pakistanis. The two poems are both similar in that they contain a lot of religious beliefs, but each is portraying a different religious background. They both use a circle as the symbolic gesture to their religions. In both poems a circle was created around the victims to make sure of no escape. Within the poem "Night of the Scorpion", all families in the community are concerned about each other, as everybody goes to Ezekiel's house and takes part in the rituals as if all this is part of normal family life. He learns about scorpion stings, and rites involved with them in the community. Scorpion stings maybe expected where they live, because they all seemed to know what to do.
However, Rafat's sympathy isn't much use to the goat, if he has his doubts about the ceremony, what is he doing here? Both poets want to give a feeling of what is going on. Each has their different involvement levels. Rafat tries to involve you in the characters. Nissim is more of a narrator of the event. "Night of the Scorpion" is structured in free verse, but it does have an exquisiteness when read with the right inflection. The poet's main role was that of an interpreter and guide to unfamiliar area. The stanzas within the poem, "Night of the Scorpion", are very different. The first being a very long forty-five lines in total. The second being very short only three lines. This gives the emphasis of relief from his mother at the end of the poem. Within "Sacrifice", the stanzas are set out in five different sections the three main central stanzas are six lines long with the beginning only four and a short ending of two lines. The first stanza puts you in a perspective of how the goat feels. The second explains a view around the animal to be slaughtered. The third describes the actual killing and in the last line reminds you of the goat's perspective "Four calloused hands imprison my jerking legs".
This is one of the thoughts going through the father's mind. Also there is the other thought of devotion and love for his wife. This leads him to try any thing in his power to keep the team together even thought he might be a sceptic with some of the ideas to help his wife. For something to be as vividly in Ezekiel's mind as when his mother got stung it must have been quite horrific. His Mother is glad it was not her children. As a parent it always seems that there is a stronger bond between the children and their mother, as she is pleased she was bitten and not the children. It was such a frantic poem but at least it did have a happy ending. In "Sacrifice" why did Taufiq Rafat go to his friend's house for this ceremony? This is the question I have been looking at in my endeavour to understand the poet's mentality. If I was going to a ceremony which involved such a horrific sacrifice I would turn down the invitation. Overall the poem was very disturbing and I felt like putting it down after the first stanza. The last stanza highlight exactly how I feel about the whole poem, "But another Dachau". The poems where totally opposite to each other, one showing love, panic and relief the other showing brutality, control and disgust. My favourite was the "Night of the Scorpion" at least it had a happy ending. Martin Rothwell Student ID 20040439 1/5
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