Journey to Christianity
â€śJourney of the Magiâ€ť can be read and perceived on many different levels. The imagery, while when first read is easy to understand, may be researched to find deeper meaning. Since the poem was written in the year of Eliotâ€™s own conversion to Christianity, the quest of the Magi for the Christ child can be seen as a parallel to Eliotâ€™s own religious quest.
The first five lines of â€śJourney of the Magiâ€ť describe the hardships of their journey (Barbour 190-191). I think these five lines also refer to the difficulty of Eliotâ€™s conversion to Christianity. Lines 2-4 express the hardships that have been endured through Eliotâ€™s life and the Magiâ€™s journey. â€śWinterâ€ť expresses a feeling of death and despair. It shows that the Magi are losing or have lost all hope throughout life. The camels lying down in the melting snow reinforces the enormous difficulties the Magi face.
Line 8 refers to things they had endured and would like to change. Palaces on slopes, terraces, and silken girls bringing sherbet represent a loss of accommodation. The Magi were use to the luxuries of their lifestyles. The description of â€śthe men cursing and grumblingâ€ť, â€śand wanting their liquor and womenâ€ť represent the shame and regret of sinful ways.
The â€śtemperate valleyâ€ť indicates that a change has come about. The Magi go from a feeling of despair to finally reaching their destination. â€śBeating the darknessâ€ť represents the Magi overcoming their hardships. Michael P. Dean points out the early morning descent into a â€śtemperate valleyâ€ť evokes three significant Christian events: â€śThe nativity and all the attendant ideas of the dawning of a new era...the empty tomb of Easter...as well the image of the Second Coming and the return of Christ from the East, dispelling darkness as the Sun of Righteousness (Confrontation with Christianityâ€ť 77). James A. Wohlpart adds that the Magi...