I do not understand what there is in the poem to offer any insight
into how much she was hurt except the narrator's assumptions.
What allows any speculation on any "real" degree of hurt? And is
not the "I should find / some way" linked by syntax and stanza only
to the preceding "I would. . . / I would. . . / he would"? That is, "I
should find some way" to have had him leave, to have had her stand
and grieve, as the soul. . . . What is there in the poem to suggest
any other knowledge of what any actual "she" felt? As for Dido, she
does say a lot about it and she does commit suicide. And she
turns away from Aeneas.
What "real breakup" have we to do with? We have the lines of a
poem in which a narrator speaks of a weeping lady and imagines
her in specific ways and then imagines her in a scene of separation.
The language seems to make the separation extremely wrenching:
"torn and bruised," "deserts the body it has used." But there is no
language that I can see to imply any "real" event about which her
"real" degree of hurt can be determined.
Someone (Peter?) noted the way it seems posed as if for a camera.
I think that is apt in the sense that all we do have here is the
imagined scene and the narrator's "cogitations" about it. And in
these seeming stage directions, the narrator speaks to her to
"clasp" with "pained surprise," at least I cannot see how one would
assume the opening direct address is to a man rather than to the
lady of the title.
Date sent: Thu, 2 Oct 2003 23:10:50 -0400
Send reply to: "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
From: "Rickard A. Parker" <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Question about 'La Figlia che Piange'
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Steve Pollack wrote:
> "I should find some way" to do what?
To have shown that she was not hurt at all by the breakup. That is
to say that in the real breakup she didn't do so well and showed that
she was hurt more than the man was. Somewhat like Dido and
Aeneas in life. The female narrator wished to have shown less pain,
as in the stage direction and more like Dido in the underworld. Less
of the weeping of the statue of the title and more of the stony glare?
> Also, in the final stanza, how do you read the line, "I should have lost
> a gesture and a pose"?
That I'm sure I can't come up with an answer that you would accept
(maybe the pose
but I also don't think that it would kill the idea that the could
could be read ambiguously as spoken by either the man or the
Remember that I wrote:
> although the narrator ("I") most strongly appeared to be the male
> character it could also be the female character
I'm wondering if Eliot didn't do this on purpose. If so, it wasn't
done perfectly and probably not even well. Still, to me, it brings to
mind some of the later ambiguity of TWL, particularly the Hyacinth
scene which may even allude back to "La Figlia che Piange"