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Bog Queen: Heaneys Metaphor for The Rebirth of Irish Societies

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Introduction

?Bog Queen?: Heaney?s Metaphor for The Rebirth of Irish Societies ?Bog Queen,? by Seamus Heaney, is a first person account of an ancient woman, violently killed and buried in the Bogs of Ireland. The poem begins with a vivid description of the processes of both decay and preservation of a body that belongs to a predicted woman of royalty. The poem continues on to describe the woman as ?waiting? for the rise of her own body and hoping that one day she will be free from the Boglands. This sense of hope for the Bog Queen is one that continuously relates to the potential change for Ireland?s societies. Heaney uses vivid imagery to create an extended metaphor that shows the potential for Ireland to be reborn after many years of decay. Heaney uses imagery to compare the decay of the Bog Queen to the social and political unrest of Northern Ireland. In the third stanza, the first reference to decay is mentioned when the the Bog Queen describes how, ?the seeps of winter / Digested me? (10-11). ...read more.

Middle

Along with these images of decay, the Heaney begins to create images of death when the Bog Queen says, ?My sash was a black glacier? (29). Heaney?s use the ?black glacier,? creates an image of the cold death occurring to the Bog Queen. Ultimately, Heaney is creating the extended metaphor here because the Bog Queen represents Ireland. The images of the decay of the Bog Queen refers to the tensions between the Catholic and Protestant social and political issues that are causing the unrest in Northern Ireland. Each description mentioned by the Bog Queen connects to the decay of the cultures due to the fighting between the two sects. Although Heaney does use imagery to explore the similarities between the decay of the Bog Queen and Ireland, he also uses imagery to present the hope for rebirth. The first sense of hope is presented through the Bog Queen?s statement, ?I lay waiting? (1, 16). Heaney creates an image of a woman that is waiting but does not indicate what she is waiting for. ...read more.

Conclusion

Heaney adds to the extended metaphor with the images of rebirth by creating hope for the country to again unite as one sect. He is stating that he understands that the social and political tensions are high between the Catholics and Protestants; however, he is presenting the argument that society does have the opportunity to be reborn. Heaney use of an extended metaphor to compare the Bog Queen to the societal and political issues of Ireland presents a continuous process for the country has to go through to be reborn. Heaney first explains, through the Bog Queen, that at this time, the conflict between the Catholic and Protestant societies is putting tension on the possibility for an unified country. However, when the Bog Queen says, ?I rose from the dark, / hacked bone, skull-ware, / frayed stitches, tufts, / small gleams on the bank,? Heaney is exploring the idea that the rebirth of the Irish society is possible, but forgetting the problematic past is unlikely (53-56). The decay of the country has gone through its processes, but Ireland does have the potential to rise again and be a unified country containing both Catholic and Protestant Irish individuals. ...read more.

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