I will pay for the following essay T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland. The essay is to be 4 pages with three to five sources, with in-text citations and a reference page.
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“What Tiresias sees,” Eliot tells us, “is the substance of the poem.” But it is the nature of Tiresias’ vision that is our concern.
There are three principal stories about Tiresias, all of them relevant. In Oedipus Rex, sitting “by Thebes below the wall” he knew why, and as a consequence of what violent death and what illicit amour, the pestilence had fallen on the unreal city, but declined to tell. In the Odyssey he “walked among the lowest of the dead” and evaded predicting Odysseus’ death by water. the encounter was somehow necessary to Odysseus’ homecoming, and Odysseus was somehow satisfied with it, and did get home, for a while. In the Metamorphoses he underwent a change of sex for watching the coupling of snakes: presumably the occasion on which he “foresuffered” what is tonight “enacted on this same divan or bed.” He is often the prophet who knows but withholds his knowledge, just as Hieronymo, who is mentioned at the close of the poem, knew how the tree he had planted in his garden came to bear his dead son, but was compelled to withhold that knowledge until he could write a play which, like The Waste Land, employs several languages and a framework of allusions impenetrable to anyone but the “hypocrite lecteur.” It is an inescapable shared guilt that makes us so intimate with the contents of this strange deathly poem. it is also, in an age that has eaten of the tree of the knowledge of psychology and anthropology (“After such knowledge, what forgiveness”), an inescapable morbid sympathy with everyone else, very destructive to the coherent personality, that (like Tiresias’ years as a woman) enables us to join with him in “fore suffering all.” These sciences afford us an illusion of understanding other people, on which we build sympathies that in an ideal era would have gone out with a less pathological generosity, and that are as likely as not projections of our self-pity and self-absorption, vices for which Freud and Frazer afford dangerous nourishment. Tiresias is he who has lost the sense of other people as inviolably other, and who is capable neither of pity nor terror but only of a fascination spuriously related to compassion, which is merely the twentieth century’s special mutation of indifference.
The “dissociation of sensibility” cataloged by Eliot’s imagery traces the dissociation of individual senses from each other in the absence of any intellectual Aufhebung into a logos. There is a great irony, for example, in Eliot’s assertion that “what Tiresias sees, in fact, is the substance of the poem.” Tiresias’ blindness should, according to myth, grant him a vision of the truth. What he “sees” in Eliot’s poem is a troping of the primal scene in the mechanical copulation of the typist and the young man carbuncular. The metric, the rhyme scheme, and the ending sight of the “automatic hand” that “puts a record on the gramophone” enforce a feeling of remorseless repetition of a scene “foresuffered” a thousand times in memory and desire. Tiresias endlessly sees the scene of the crime, the origin of his own “blinding” or castration in witnessing the difference between men and women. What Tiresias sees is “substance” itself, physical life (or signifiers) unredeemed by spirit (or a transcendental signified). Eliot’s note plays on the philosophic sense of “substance” as essence and tacitly reminds us of its declension into mere matter. In some legends, Tiresias loses his eyes in retaliation for looking upon the naked body of the bathing Athena, goddess of wisdom.