A Study of Unresolvable Meaning in The Waste Land

Dr. Sajjad Ali Khan


Eliot’s The Wasteland is an ambiguous poem. It suggests more than one meaning. It represents the spirit of modern literature, and modern literature is suggestive. He makes use of irony as a mode of representation. The poem is multi-voiced and not a consistent utterance. The form of the poem is a pastiche. The poem seems to have a dream like logic. However, the poem, in spite of an apparent disjuncture of form, signifies a structure of unity when all parts are taken together. Tiresisas is the protagonist of the poem and he is the one who could show others the way out of damned existence. He narrates what he views in the wasteland as a detached spectator but he is not the only speaker of the poem. The wastelanders are given a way out of their circular existence: to give, sympathize and control. Nevertheless, the vision of destruction looms large over the inhabitants of modern wasteland. Therefore, Tiresias undertakes to seek deliverance for himself. He plunges into the purgatorial fire. The ending of the poem indicates two diametrically opposed directions: one which Eliot implies, and the other one which the Wastelanders bring upon themselves as a consequence of their own lack of spiritual values.

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