Thanks for your thought-provoking comments, Barnwell.To me, Ophelia too is swayed by the "waters" of passion-- and her death by drowning reveals the destructive aspectof "water" (her passion). The allusion to her at the end of"A Game of Chess" helps to place the tragedy of Lil and thelady (with her nerves) in a historical perspective. "Water"(passion/love) has proved fatal in all these cases.Then, there is the daily "death" of the Thames daughters -- the water(the passion) which should be life-giving is vitiated -- it has becomedestructive.Well, that's how I read it.As for reading Heraclitian flux in the image of Thames, yes, a senseof the flux of history and time is certainly evident in the image of"the turning tide" -- "The nymphs are departed" -- "The river bearsno...testimony of summer nights" -- "Southwest wind / Carried downstream / The peal of bells / White towers / Weialala leia...", as alsoin the image of "A current under sea...the whirlpool".Regards,CR
Barnwell, thanks for the pertinent comments on Eliot's use of water. However, I think as a symbol in TWL it does not point clearly to any interpretation. I'll have to go back to the mss version to see if some transitions were deleted that might make it more clear.
One can extrapolate many interpretations from the juxtaposition of water as a
cause of fear and death, something that dissolves the body of the sailor, and
the later symbolizing of water as life-bringer, but I do not see sufficient
evidence in the poem for anything but speculation. Diana