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English 2027-Poetry Response Paper

English 2027-Poetry Response Paper - Janie Ramrez The End...

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Janie Ramírez July 25, 2008 The End Is Near In W. H. Auden’s poem, “The Shield of Achilles”, the poet reinvents the story of the making of Achilles new shield. Achilles mother, the goddess Thetis, asked Hephaestos to create the shield. In the original story found in the Iliad, the shield is decorated with wonderful scenes depicting the earth and mankind. In Auden’s poem, Thetis witnesses the making of very different scenes on the shield. These are scenes reflecting an inglorious war and an uncaring society. The poem consists of nine stanzas, four short-line stanzas and five longer-lined stanzas. The short ones describe Thetis’ looking at the shield and what she expects to find. The stanzas lead into her dismay and then descriptions of the horror she actually sees. In stanza one, Thetis looks over Hephaestos’ shoulder and expects to find vibrant scenes of nature, and beautiful happy cities. Instead she finds desolation, “An artificial wilderness And a sky like lead” (7-8). War has destroyed everything.
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