Camera Three: W. H. Auden Introduction (03:36)
In addition to composing poetry, Auden wrote "The Age of Anxiety," three plays in collaboration with Christopher Isherwood, and the libretto for "The Rake's Progress." In "The Shield of Achilles," the poet wanted to juxtapose Homeric epics with modern warfare.
"The Shield of Achilles" (03:48)
Auden explains that the characters within the poem are Thetis and Hephaestus. He recites an excerpt from his poem.
Heroic Actions (02:56)
Auden compares modern day heroes to the acts of St. George and the "Iliad" main characters. Dropping a bomb on an individual is not as personal as slaying a dragon. William Butler Yeats wrote about modern warfare because he knew the people and places.
Shakespearean Heroes (02:31)
Auden compares Homeric heroes to William Shakespeare's main characters. In "Henry V," Shakespeare wanted to celebrate the Elizabethan Age.
Changing Concept of Heroism (02:22)
In the 18th century, the hero was a man who used logic to guide his decisions. Today, a hero is a person who remains true to his convictions despite societal pressures.
"In Memory of W.B. Yeats" (05:12)
Auden admired Yeats because his poetry combined relationships between the writer, his time, and his audience. Yeats died in January 1939. Auden recites his poem.
What is a Hero? (03:56)
A hero is a person who remains true to own convictions despite societal pressures and understands his identity. Auden describes how modern poetry demands more effort to comprehend than previous works and cautions that heroes must be humble.
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