"St. Stephen" and Eliot's "Journey of the Magi" Comparison Essay

"St. Stephen" and Eliot's "Journey of the Magi"
A comparison of the themes in the traditional ballad 'St. Stephen and King Herod' and T.S. Eliot's 'Journey of the Magi'.
# 128363 | 1,064 words | 0 sources | 2010 | US
Published on Jul 16, 2010 in Literature (English) , Literature (Poetry) , English (Comparison)

$19.95 Buy and instantly download this paper now


A critical analysis of the themes in 'St. Stephen and King Herod' and T.S. Eliot's 'Journey of the Magi' with a focus on structure, form, language, and imagery. Both poems are centered around the birth of Christ, and the writer describes how this theme is treated and portrayed in each of the poems. In 'St. Stephen,' the birth of Christ seems to be an intensely, commandingly happy event that inspires people, and to this extent, the poem may be an expected response to this event. In contrast, Eliot's poem is much darker in tone and appears to foreshadow Christ's death as well. The paper concludes that 'Journey of the Magi' is probably the more effective of the two, as it presents the birth of the Christ as an unsettling event, and this distortion of expectations renders the poem all the more interesting.

From the Paper:

"The first poem, St. Stephen, describes the actions of Stephen, a servant of King Herod, when he sees the star of Bethlehem, signaling Christ's birth. Firstly, in the introductory two stanzas of the poem, Stephen leads a repetitive and possibly boring life serving King Herod; we can see this as Stephen is described as ''a clerk in King Herod's hall'' who ''served him of bread and cloth/ As every king befall''. We are not told anything of Stephen's disposition of life outside of being Herod's servant, so we may deduce that his life revolves around making sure Herod is given everything he wants. This monotony is reflected in the structure of the poem, which is extremely regular in both stanza and line length, to the point that the number of syllables in each line of each stanza are almost identical to each other."

Cite this Comparison Essay:

APA Format

"St. Stephen" and Eliot's "Journey of the Magi" (2010, July 16) Retrieved June 06, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/comparison-essay/st-stephen-and-eliot-journey-of-the-magi-128363/

MLA Format

""St. Stephen" and Eliot's "Journey of the Magi"" 16 July 2010. Web. 06 June. 2020. <https://www.academon.com/comparison-essay/st-stephen-and-eliot-journey-of-the-magi-128363/>