An Analysis Of Wystan Hugh Auden’s Poem Musee Des Beaux Arts Essay

Everyone goes through some sort of pain that can be caused by someone or something. Suffering is a heart wrenching pain. Everyone has suffered through things, and people get used to it. Wystan Hugh Auden’s poem, “Musee des Beaux Arts,” shows that suffering is a part of life and sometimes nothing can be done about it other than moving on. The poem is a hard truth that we don’t want to hear, but we can’t reject the truth because it’s the reality. In “Musee des Beaux Arts,” the voice of the poem is undramatized. The author doesn’t identify a particular person.

However, the voice is coming from someone observing his surroundings. This person sees that the people are suffering, and everyone is ignoring their suffering. The title of the poem in English is translated to “Museum of Fine Arts,” and people usually observe things in a Museum. The poem states, “when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting. ” The observer notices how the elders are suffering through their timely deaths. The voice reflects an attitude that conveys realistic suffering. This is used to show that one cannot solve everyone’s problems, and people have to grieve.

The poem states, “For the miraculous birth, there always must be/Children who did not specially want it to happen. ” These lines express Auden’s attitude with the poem by alluding that the children who don’t want to be born have to cope with issues in their life. The overall tone of the poem is depressed. The poem illustrations how the kids and elderly are going through their suffering. The poem was published in 1938, which was near the end of the Great Depression. This is was a time when people were hopeless.

This shaped the observer’s perspective because he sees everyone suffering around the world, and there was nothing anybody could do to help. The perspective takes a political approach. The poem states, “About suffering they were never wrong, /The Old Masters: how well they understood/ Its human position; how it takes place. ” The old masters are interpreted as the snobby upper class because the observer sees the old masters as higher up. Since the upper class is seen to have power, they are more likely to have more benefits than the lower class. The upper class people see the lowers class as less fortunate.

The human position for the lower class is to suffer because they have no power. These lines give an example of the undramatized voice used in the poem because Auden accepts the lower class position. Furthermore, the main subject of “Musee des Beaux Arts” is that people deal with bad situations in their life and learn that they can’t do anything to make things better. Even though the characters of the poem have no name, they struggle through internal and external conflicts. In “Musee des Beaux Arts” states, “They never forgot/That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course.

These lines express how the children and elderly never forget about their suffering, and death is an outside force that they can’t control. Kids and old people have to deal with whatever life throws at them whenever they catch an illness, get physically abused, or have a loved-one die. In general, people have to cope with their problems. The situation cannot be fixed, but people can move on. As a result of the great depression, people around the world were unable to feed themselves or their family. Due to the low income, people lost hope of restoring their lives.

The poem states, “how everything turns away/Quite leisurely from the disaster. ” Since Auden used the word leisurely, it shows how people are use to disasters. People in the poem have survived disasters, and they have accepted the end result as a way of life. Moreover, imagery is used in Mr. Brueghel’s Icarus painting to describe the people ignoring disasters. The poem states, “As it had it was not an important failure; the sun shone/ As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green/Water. ” The ploughman and the ship witness Icarus descend to the earth.

Because Icarus fell from a great height, those people believed there was nothing that could be done to save Icarus. The imagery of Icarus disappearing into the sea illustrates his death, and the people ignore him because they believe there is nothing that they can do to help him. Also, the ship is personified as a person. The poem states, “and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen/something amazing(…)/Had somewhere to go to and sailed calmly on. ” Even though we know that the ship contains people inside, the ship is still personified as a person viewing Icarus’s death.

The ship is described as expensive and delicate, which means the ship represents the upper class that are delicate towards suffering. The imagery in the poem shows that people choose to ignore disasters because they believe they can’t do anything to help. Identically as important is the rhyme of the poem. The poem contains rhyme and assonance that further describes the characters anguish. The poem states, “when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting. ” The assonance of the words reverently and passionately expresses the elderly’s suffering that is respected by others for the aged waiting for their deaths.

Also the poem contains a rhyme of words that contribute to the poems message. The poem states, “disappearing into the green/(…)ship that must have seen. ” These lines rhyme adds to the poems theme of moving on. The death of the boy in the green sea was watched by people, but they couldn’t do anything to save Icarus. The sound if the poem contributes to its realistic theme. Moreover, the language has a negative connotation because the language reflects the depressing tone. Words such as martyrdom, miraculous, and leisurely have a negative connotation. Martyrdom means death and suffering, but it can also mean to obtain sympathy.

In “Musee des Beaux Arts,” people suffer, but the reader and society can feel sorry for the elderly. Even though leisurely means relax, but the word is meant to be relax during a disaster. Leisurely is used to be calm during someone’s death instead of being concern upon Icarus’s death. The word’s connotation changes to be negative. The connotation is negative because the poem sees society as depressing and the language must fit the tone of the poem to connect the message of the poem. Moreover, the poem’s allusion to Brueghel’s Icarus painting is used to express the theme of the poem.

The painting shows the geek mythology of Icarus flying with handmade wings, but he doesn’t maintain his balance and falls to the ocean. In the painting it shows how people ignored his death. The poem states, “a boy falling out of the sky/ Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on. ” These lines uses the painting that expresses the poem’s sorrow message. At times one will face what life throws at them and people are unable to do anything about it but move on. Furthermore, the poem does not have a specific cultural setting, but the time it was publish paves way to its historical meaning.

Since the poem was publish during the late 1930, Auden must have wrote his poem near the end of the great depression. Auden observe a time of great famine and misery. Auden saw the whole world was affected by the great depression and many people were unable to feed themselves or their families. Some suffered more than others during the great depression. The wealthy that kept their money saw how the rest of the world was distraught. Over a span of nine years the whole world understood that in times people will suffer and there is nothing that one can do to help.

The great depression mostly shaped the poem’s theme. To reiterate, the theme of the poem is a realistic truth about moving on when nothing can prevent people suffering. The theme is shown to this day. There are gangs killing people in Mexico, LGBT community is being targeted in Russia, and a cruel dictatorships control people in North Korea. There is the mindset to try your best to help people who are less fortunate. However, the truth is sometimes you can’t save them. The observer and the victim have to realize that in order to move on in life.