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Sweeney


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T. S. Eliot (1888—1965) poet, critic, and publisher

 

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Symbolic character in the poetry of T. S. Eliot. representing the vulgar but vital force of life, particularly in modern man. He is introduced in “Mr. Eliot's Sunday Morning Service” (1918) as a contrast to the febrile presbyters. In “Sweeney Among the Nightingales” (1918) this ape–like man is ironically contrasted to Agamemnon, and in “Sweeney Erect” (1919) the sordid figure is further juxtaposed with great persons and ideas of cultural history. He appears incidentally in The Waste Land (1922) as a symbol of lust. Sweeney Agonistes (originally published in parts, 1926–27; combined, 1932) presents a different concept of Sweeney, who had formerly been associated with the slain Agamemnon, but who in this play becomes analogous to the slayer Orestes.

Subjects: Literature.


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