So to get back to CR's observation about an arc of a traditionally
dtramatic character (or "type" if one prefers), I see the following
sets of perceptions by Genrontioin, which provide an over all
structure for the poem.
1.Perceptions of a Jewish element which relate to the house in which he
Should that house be read as symbolic of his whole state of mind or
thought structure or internal context? It seems to be more than just a
2. Percepions of a Chritian element including the last supper and by
3. Perceptions to do with art which reflect to some degree the use of
images in some of the paintings.
4 Perceptions of european history which roughly bridge the origins of
Christianity with the present.
5. Perdeptions to do with resurrection which Gerontius sees as not
to himself as his consiousness fades to black.
6. A comment, by whom? which seemsto associate G's mind with the house.
I think Gerontius' denial of the relevance of resurrection to himself is
cxlearly a choice, as in "I would meet you..." He has in fact reviewed the
process He is struggling with it in that it certainly makes him
and he even seems to get snide about it in his description of the meal.
So even though the poem seems to remain on the level of perception,
G. seems to be active in accepting or rejecting or struggling with those
He seems to chose unconsciousnes, for he does not see the tiger gobbling
I've tried to stick to the iconography in a very brief way.
As to the iconology or meaning, it seems to me that there
is a perception on the part of the observer who is presenting
G. to the reader, to show European Christoanity as a dead culture
and that there doean't seem to be an alternative. Either the
house or G. or both are symbolic of that dead culture.
I sense a stran of sardonic wit in the poem.
As far as the stuggle with perceptions goes, it seems to reach
a peak intenrity with the meal, then drop to a plateau and then
peak again with the pouncing of the tiger. In that that is a moment of truth
and that G. sees himself as not going along with it, I think one
can say there is a traditional dramatic element involved.
As to it's being a strictly traditional arc, I'm not so sure.
It peaks drops and peaks again.