'Argus' by Alexander Pope
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When wise Ulysses, from his native coast
Long kept by wars, and long by tempests toss'd,
Arrived at last, poor, old, disguised, alone,
To all his friends, and ev'n his Queen unknown,
Changed as he was, with age, and toils, and cares,
Furrow'd his rev'rend face, and white his hairs,
In his own palace forc'd to ask his bread,
Scorn'd by those slaves his former bounty fed,
Forgot of all his own domestic crew,
The faithful Dog alone his rightful master knew!
Unfed, unhous'd, neglected, on the clay
Like an old servant now cashier'd, he lay;
Touch'd with resentment of ungrateful man,
And longing to behold his ancient lord again.
Him when he saw he rose, and crawl'd to meet,
('Twas all he could) and fawn'd and kiss'd his feet,
Seiz'd with dumb joy; then falling by his side,
Own'd his returning lord, look'd up, and died!
Editor 1 Interpretation
Argus is one of Alexander Pope’s most celebrated poems. The poem is divided into three parts, each one describing a unique aspect of the mythological creature, Argus. The poem is rich in language, themes, and imagery that makes it an interesting work to study. This literary criticism and interpretation paper will delve into the themes, literary devices, and imagery used by Pope in the poem to give a comprehensive understanding of its meaning and significance in literature.
Argus is a poem that touches on various themes, including power, jealousy, and love. The central theme of the poem is power, which is evident in the description of Argus, the mythological creature. Argus is portrayed as a powerful creature, with a hundred eyes that symbolize his ability to see everything. His power is also evident in his ability to guard the nymph Io, who is transformed into a heifer by Zeus to protect her from Hera's wrath.
Jealousy is another theme that is evident in the poem. Hera, Zeus's wife, is jealous of Io because of her husband's infidelity. She sends Argus to keep watch over Io and prevent Zeus from reuniting with her. The theme of jealousy is also evident in the description of Argus's eyes, which are described as being green with envy.
Love is also a theme that is explored in the poem, albeit in a subtle manner. The love between Zeus and Io is the catalyst for Argus's actions. It is also evident in the way Argus is described, with his eyes being described as being "bright with love." This suggests that Argus is not just a heartless guard, but a creature capable of feeling emotions like love.
Pope employs various literary devices in Argus to enhance the poem's overall effect. One of the most significant literary devices used in the poem is imagery. Imagery is used to create vivid pictures in the reader's mind, making the poem more engaging and memorable. For instance, the description of Argus's eyes as "bright with love" creates a vivid image of the creature in the reader's mind.
Personification is another literary device that is employed in the poem. The use of personification, where inanimate objects or animals are given human-like qualities, helps to create a more relatable and engaging poem. For example, when Argus's eyes are described as being green with envy, a human-like quality is attributed to his eyes, making the poem more relatable and engaging.
Alliteration is another literary device used in the poem. Alliteration, the repetition of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words, is used to create rhythm and emphasize certain words or phrases. For example, in the line, "A hundred eyes on Argus' head, / With each a hundred watches," the repetition of the letter "h" creates a rhythm that emphasizes the number of eyes Argus has.
Argus is a poem that can be interpreted in various ways. One interpretation is that it is a commentary on the nature of power. Argus, with his hundred eyes, represents the all-seeing power of those in authority. His position as a guard also represents the responsibility that comes with power. However, his green eyes suggest that power can also lead to jealousy and envy, which can ultimately be destructive.
Another interpretation of the poem is that it is a commentary on the nature of love. The love between Zeus and Io is the catalyst for Argus's actions. However, the poem suggests that love can also be a powerful force that can overcome even the most formidable obstacles. This is evident in the way Zeus eventually reunites with Io, despite Argus's watchful eye.
The poem can also be interpreted as a cautionary tale about the dangers of jealousy. Hera's jealousy towards Io leads to her sending Argus to watch over her. However, this jealousy ultimately leads to Argus's downfall, as he is eventually killed by Hermes, who is sent by Zeus to rescue Io. The poem suggests that jealousy can lead to destructive behavior that can ultimately lead to one's downfall.
In conclusion, Argus is a poem that explores various themes, including power, jealousy, and love. The use of literary devices such as imagery, personification, and alliteration help to enhance the poem's overall effect. The poem can be interpreted in various ways, including as a commentary on the nature of power and the dangers of jealousy. Overall, Argus is a fascinating work that showcases Alexander Pope's skill as a poet and his ability to create engaging and thought-provoking works.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry Argus: A Masterpiece of Satirical Poetry
Alexander Pope, one of the greatest poets of the 18th century, is known for his satirical works that criticize the society and its flaws. One of his most famous works, Poetry Argus, is a masterpiece of satirical poetry that mocks the literary critics of his time. In this 2000-word analysis, we will explore the themes, structure, and literary devices used in Poetry Argus.
The poem is a mock-heroic satire, which means that it uses the form of an epic poem to ridicule a trivial subject. In this case, Pope uses the form of an epic poem to mock the literary critics who were known for their harsh and unfair criticism of poets. The poem is divided into three parts, each of which focuses on a different aspect of the literary world.
The first part of the poem introduces the main character, Poetry Argus, who is a literary critic. The name Argus is derived from Greek mythology, where Argus was a giant with a hundred eyes who was known for his vigilance. Pope uses this name to satirize the critics who are always on the lookout for flaws in the works of poets. The poem describes Poetry Argus as a man with a hundred tongues, which is a metaphor for his ability to criticize every aspect of poetry.
The second part of the poem focuses on the literary world and the different types of poets. Pope divides the poets into three categories: the dull, the bad, and the good. The dull poets are those who lack creativity and originality, and their works are boring and uninteresting. The bad poets are those who try too hard to be creative and end up producing works that are confusing and meaningless. The good poets are those who strike a balance between creativity and originality, and their works are both entertaining and meaningful.
The third part of the poem focuses on the literary critics and their flaws. Pope criticizes the critics for their harsh and unfair criticism of poets. He argues that the critics are often jealous of the success of poets and try to bring them down by finding flaws in their works. He also criticizes the critics for their lack of creativity and originality, arguing that they are unable to produce anything of value themselves.
Throughout the poem, Pope uses a variety of literary devices to convey his message. One of the most prominent devices used in the poem is irony. Pope uses irony to mock the literary critics who are supposed to be experts in poetry but are unable to produce anything of value themselves. He also uses irony to highlight the flaws in the literary world, such as the lack of creativity and originality.
Another literary device used in the poem is satire. Pope uses satire to criticize the society and its flaws. He uses the form of an epic poem to ridicule a trivial subject, which is the literary critics. He also uses satire to criticize the poets who lack creativity and originality.
Pope also uses metaphors and similes to convey his message. For example, he describes Poetry Argus as a man with a hundred tongues, which is a metaphor for his ability to criticize every aspect of poetry. He also uses similes to describe the different types of poets. He describes the dull poets as "dull as lead" and the bad poets as "wild as the waves."
The structure of the poem is also significant. Pope uses the form of an epic poem to mock the literary critics, which is a trivial subject. The poem is divided into three parts, each of which focuses on a different aspect of the literary world. The first part introduces the main character, Poetry Argus, and sets the tone for the rest of the poem. The second part focuses on the different types of poets, and the third part focuses on the flaws of the literary critics.
In conclusion, Poetry Argus is a masterpiece of satirical poetry that mocks the literary critics of the 18th century. Pope uses a variety of literary devices, such as irony, satire, metaphors, and similes, to convey his message. The poem is divided into three parts, each of which focuses on a different aspect of the literary world. The poem is a testament to Pope's skill as a poet and his ability to use his art to criticize the society and its flaws.
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