Dear Jennifer,

I certainly did not write that.  CR did, and I wrote to say the same
thing you just did--there is no reason to connect Oedipus and the

The message below from CR is presumably an answer to me.  But of course
I do not see that the blending of characters in Eliot entails the notion
that any possible character with some parallel quality can just be
inserted.  That was my point in quoting Gertrude to Hamlet.

In any case, please don't attribute the notion below to me.

On the other hand, I agree in general about "characters," but there are
some.  I think Sweeney is a "character" even outside "Sweeney
Agonistes."  And I think Lil and her interlocutor are "characters." 
Perhaps the point is that at times Eliot's poems are dramatic or have
dramatic sections, as "A Game of Chess" is.


>>> [log in to unmask] 07/20/05 5:07 PM >>>

What do you mean by Eliot's characters? I wouldn't go
so far as to say he creates any characters in his
poems (the creation of character taking place more
often in drama or novels). Would you? If so, why &
how?  I think this omission, or the shadowing of
character, is part of the essential effect of many of
Eliot's poems. Where he takes characters from
literature or history, such as Tiresias, that is
another matter, and one that can be explored along
with his approximations to the  dramatic monologue and
Eliot's remarks upon it in 'The Three Voices of
Poetry', 1953. 

On another note: unless I am mistaken, Nancy wrote a
while back on Oedipus being brought into TWL in the
lines around 'Musing upon the king my father's death'.
Why? Where is the evidence that an allusion to Oedipus
underlies that to Ferdinand in The Tempest? There is
no allusion to Oedipus in The Tempest, I think. 

Yours, Jennifer 
--- CR Mittal <[log in to unmask]> wrote:


In Eliot's poetry, expressions derived from one

are often used in another context where they gain in

and meaning. Likewise, his characters subsume several

As the poet observed in the Notes to TWL, "Just as the

merchant, seller of currants, melts into the
Phoenician Sailor, and the

latter is not wholly distinct from Ferdinand Prince of
Naples, so all the

women are one woman, and the two sexes meet in

In TWL, it is Tiresias who lives through the agony of

personages, mixing memories and blending pains.


~ CR 


>From: Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>
>Reply-To: "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum."
<[log in to unmask]>
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Re: "the king my father's death..."
>Date: Tue, 19 Jul 2005 11:31:56 -0400
>As Gertrude says to Hamlet, the death of fathers is
common:  "all that
>lives must die, / passing through nature to eternity.
 Literature, like
>life, is full of dead fathers.
>So I am confused at why this death is a likely
allusion--why would
>Ferdinand bring up Oedipus?
> >>> [log in to unmask] 07/19/05 7:23 AM >>>

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