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In a message dated 2/17/03 12:50:44 AM !!!First Boot!!!, [log in to unmask]
writes:

>
> Hello everyone, I am new to this list. I am high school student and I need
> help analyzing Eliot's "Sweeney Among the Nightingales." Specifically, I
> need help with theme and symbolism (including allusions). I am really lost
> with this one. If anybody can help me with the meaning of this poem or help
> point out any symbolism or allusions, I would be most grateful. Thank you.
>

What you first need to understand is that Eliot did not have a very positive
"outlook" on life in general. He did not think highly of people.   All of the
actions and intrigue taking place in the "modern" bar in which Sweeney is
frequenting is compared to the lifestyle of the Greek legend, Agamemnon.
Agamemnon cried out only at the end, at his own death and the death of his
slave/mistress, Cassandra, brought about by the intrigues of his wife,
Clymenestra, who was not exactly a kind and caring lady herself.   He did not
cry out when he willingly sacrificed his youngest daughter in order to
persuade the gods (and goddesses) to give him a good tide.  It was nothing to
him.  He sailed on to Troy without a second thought for his dead daughter and
once in Troy, helped ravage the place and then took the booty he wanted, the
beautiful and prolific daughter of King Priam, who probably wasn't much older
than the daughter he had sacrificed.
I believe what Eliot is saying is that Mr. Sweeney, a businessman perhaps, is
just as uncivilized, insenseive and boorish as Agamemon, that nothing has
changed in thousands of years.