Analysis “La Figlia Che Piange”

Analysis “La Figlia Che Piange”, which means “young girl weeping”, is the last poem of T. S. Eliot’s “Prufrock and Other Observations”, the first collection of poems published by him. Even though Elliot wrote a relatively small number of poems throughout his life, he believed that each of them “should be perfect in their kind, so that each should be an event”. This short poem was written in 1917 and it describes two lovers parting. From the title of the poem we can tell that the content will be an emotional one, even though the origin of it has nothing to do feelings.

The title comes from the name of a stele that one of Eliot’s friends asked him to look at when he visited a museum in Itlay. The poem starts with an epitaph in Italian, from Aeneas’ greeting to Venus disguised as a huntress in the “Aeneid”, which is addressed to an unknown lady. The speaker in the poem plays a double role: he describes his lover and the feelings that overcome him when he remembers her image, but he also addresses her with imperative verbs that suggest strong commands ( “stand”, “lean”,”clasp”,”fling” and “wave”).

It appears that the girl whom he is addressing exists now only in his memory, therefore it seems that the speaker is talking to his memory. From the first stanza we can conclude that the speaker is the one who has initiated the breakup with his lover, an idea underlined by her “resentment”.

Moreover, the speaker doubts the intensity of her pain, hence the use of the adjective “fugitive”. Also, the first six lines of this stanza rhyme in the following way: ABA CBC, while the end-word for the first line rhymes with the end-word for the seventh line, giving the stanza a feeling of compactness.

The rhythm we encounter in this stanza is an iambic meter, a rhythm that is kept throughout the entire poem. While the theme of the first stanza was the portrait of the lady, who is the main theme of the poem, the second stanza is more inclined towards the speaker. Here, the speaker splits himself into an “I”, who narrates the scene, and a “him”, who actively takes part in the breakup of the two lovers. This idea is sustained by the following verses: “So I would have had him leave,

So I would have had her stand and grieve, So he would have left. ” Here the speaker talks about an unknown “him” who abandons her. The speaker uses a metaphor through which he implies that the soul of a female is a male and vice versa, given by the verses: “So he would have left As the soul leaves the body torn and bruised, As the mind deserts the body it has used. “ The parting described here by the speaker is tragic, yet beautiful, although the tone he uses is sarcastic.

The complex conditional used in the beginning of the second stanza is an indicator of willingness, and it makes a smooth transition to from the past and imaginative situation to the actual present one, given by “should. ”The lines of this stanza rhyme in the following way: AA B CC B DD and the rhythm is the same as in the previous stanza, iambic. In the third stanza, the speaker remembers his lover in a different manner than in the two previous ones. Even the tense used in this stanza- the past indicative- is the one used to describe a recalled event.

Here, the speaker remembers his former lover performing a simple yet powerful gesture (“She turned away”), suggesting perhaps the pain for which he is responsible. The speaker punishes himself by remembering her gesture over and over again for “many days and many hours”. The speaker’s regret is present throughout the whole stanza, culminating in the middle with the verse “And I wonder how they should have been together! ” After this climax, the tone settles down and captures the form of iambic pentameter. Also, it seems that the speaker s somewhat grateful to have lost his lover, because otherwise he would have not had the opportunity to enable his creativity. All in all, the poem “La Figlia Che Piange” is a dramatic illustration of the author’s feelings, masked by the speaker who Eliot uses in order to escape from his own emotions and personality. The poem can also be linked to Eliot’s statement in his essay entitled “Tradition and the Individual Talent” that “poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. ”