"T.S. Eliot's "The Hollow Men", A Portrait of Human Conditions: Malaise, Disillusionment, Weakness, Frustration and Anguish"

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Dr. Abdel Elah Al-Nehar


    The Hollow men" is dramatic monologue, Soliloquy, choric ode, lyric, elegy, and meditation. The simplicity and seeming transparency of the title serve as an ironic indicator of Eliot's complex texture. The two epigraphs – one from Joseph Conrad's novel, Heart of Darkness (1899), and the other a child's line from the yearly observance of Guy Fawkes Day (Novembers) in England – serve a similar purpose; they contextualize the poem literarily and historically while underscoring the poem's schematization of spiritual hollowness and failure of will, emphasizing that the human condition is overwhelmed with disillusionment, weakness and a anguish. The poem is chiefly narrated in the first – person plural, a "we" that serves to broaden the speakers' predicament beyond the individual to encompass a more   universal figure who is emblematic of his age and who may well be speaking for, as well as to, the reefer, A gains the dying Kurtz's last words "The horror! The horror!" in Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Eliot's narrator can only rouse himself to utter a "quiet" and meaningless" "Alas" of resignation and despair. Key words: hallow, horror, malaise, English, eyes, weakness.

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