II. Depersonalization of the Poet in The Waste Land
III. The Metamorphosis of Cleopatra and the Anxious Woman
IV. Ladies in the Pub and Ophelia’s Goodbye
T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, published in 1922, depicts two kinds of females: traditional legendary females and contemporary present females. The poem’s theme, as Marja Palmer puts it, is “primarily on women, unhappy and doomed women from Classical Antiquity to modern times” (175). Former females namely as Cleopatra, Philomel, and Ophelia are part of legendary characters that influence the present conception of readers by incorporating the binary categorization of virgin or the temptress. Later females are mostly contemporary working class women who deliver the sterile sexuality and the harsh reality of post-war period. Instead of separating and marking differences between them, Eliot places traditional female figures and present living females in sequence, creating an effect of confining both females under the phallocentric tradition. By examining how Eliot facilitates literary female figures in the second section of The Waste Land, “A Game of Chess” in relation to his essay “Tradition and the Individual Talent”, this paper argues that the poet conveys the misogynistic representation of females that shape the Western literary “tradition”.
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