As I understood your previous remark, it was about the meaning of "cynical." It means "scornful of the motives or virtue of others; bitterly mocking, sneering," or "pertaining to the Cynics or their doctrines." Cynics were persons "who believe all men are motivated by selfishness" or who "believed virtue to be the only good and self-control to be the only means of achieving virtue" [a view that requires knowledge, not innocence]. What has this to do with the context of the line? Words bring meanings to a context; they are not simply whatever one finds in a line. The awareness of evil and scepticism about innocence is in the word "cynicism" itself, which is not in the line but in your statement. I said nothing about any character in the poem. Cheers, Nancy >>> cr mittal <[log in to unmask]> 06/29/07 10:51 PM >>> Nancy, you wrote: To be cynical is //to be both very aware of evil and sceptical about innocence at all.// But we're talking of it in a context. Now where does one find in the following lines * We should play a game of chess * The ivory men make company between us an evidence of being "very aware of evil and sceptical about innocence at all" ? You'll agree that when we impute a motive to a character, the evidence must be in the text. One can't just implant it there. Diana had written: "The first two lines seem //anything but innocent,// but rather reeking with cynicism." Regards, CR --------------------------------- Get the free Yahoo! toolbar and rest assured with the added security of spyware protection.