Free Essay: The Journey of the Magi Analysis

Published: 2023-02-13
Free Essay: The Journey of the Magi Analysis
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Poem Analysis Christianity
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 910 words
8 min read

In the poem The Journey of the Magi, composer T. S. Eliot utilizes moving pronouns and the use of differentiating diction and also the theme of Christianity. These may pass as a general paltry. However, the documentation of the journey the Magi takes on an educational tone. For the poem, the composer uses symbolism, monologues, metaphors, and imagery to pass the message of life, death, and Christianity.

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The composer utilizes symbolism as a means of foreshadowing the coming events. In one section, the writer states, "three trees against a low sky." The symbolism of the trees predicts a future where crucifixion will take place.


The composer utilizes the use of monologue as a means of remembering a past event. The composer uses the phrase "I remember as a means of reflection.


The Journey of the Magi is about travel, age, Christmas, birth, and death. In many cases, diction is used. The poem utilizes the first, second, and third persona. In the first verse, the person uses the pronoun "we." From this, the reader may conclude that the person was part of the traveling group and had made direct observations and emotional feelings that he had recorded throughout the poem. The composer utilizes the pronoun "their" as a means of separating himself with others. Looking toward the end of the poem, the speaker withdrew from the group that called him a stranger. The pronoun "I" is also used by the speaker to separate his actions and thoughts from those of the group to which he is touring with.

One of the literary tools which the poem employs is the use of symbolism. At the center of symbolism is the theme of Christianity. Throughout his life, Eliot went through depression which prompted him to question his beliefs in Christianity and the beliefs of others concerning Christianity. The start of the poem states "A cold coming we had of it, Just the worst time of the year, For a journey, and such a long journey: The ways deep and the weather sharp, The very dead of winter" (Eliot, 1927). The symbolism of the cold weather highlights some of the challenges which the composer was about to go through. One can imagine the doubts and confusion which Eliot had to undergo when trying to figure out Christianity. The first stanza mirrors the confusion that was within Eliot. The journey to Christianity was a long journey full of challenges and confusion. From lines 20 to 22, the symbolism of the three trees and the darkness symbolizes the death of Christ when he is crucified (Eliot, 1927). In line 35, the composer ponders on the idea of birth and death. This symbolizes the birth of Christ, which brought about the death of other religions such as Judaism and the Jewish religion (Eliot, 1927).

The poem employs the use of both positive and negative diction which aims to decipher the concept of life and death. The first stanza ropes in the reader to perceive the Magi's journey as a negative experience. The stanza depicts the journey as tedious and unpleasant.

The second stanza, however, takes an opposite direction as the diction assumes a positive tone. The stanza focusses more of life which contrasts differently from the first stanza. The composer uses keywords such as 'running valley,' 'water mill beating the darkness,' and 'dawn.' The third stanza, however, takes the diction a notch higher as the composer begins to compare birth and death. The speaker concludes that the birth of one thing means the death of another. In line 36 to 38, the composer used to believe that birth was always better compared to death (Eliot, 1927). However, the cause and effect of birth and death led to the composer believing that both life and death are equally destructive.

The first stanza creates a mood of sadness and pessimism. The speaker highlights some of the challenges which they went through their journey. The composer employs the use of a sad tone in lines 7, 8, and 13, which tends to elucidate a sympathetic feeling from the speaker. The second stanza has a mood of relief and gives hope to the speaker that the Magi have finally arrived at their destination. The composer resumes with his theme of birth which brings a happy tone. The composer uses words such as 'dawn' to deliver a happy feeling to the readers and a sense of achievement. Stanza three brings a mood of disappointment as the composer struggles to come to terms with the concept of birth and death.

The title of the poem remains to the central them of life and death. The title The Journey of the Magi is a reflection of the struggles which people go through their daily lives coming to terms with reality. The poem also shows the journey which humans go through to self-actualization: the pain, the struggles, and the joy humans' experience. The title also adapts to the Bible story, which describes the birth of Christ the new Messiah and the death of the other religion (Bible Study Tools, 2019). The writer's identity is apparent as he assumes the role of the narrator, which logically is one of the travelers as he provides a first-hand account of the events that transpired.


Bible Study Tools. (2019). The Birth of Jesus - Nativity Story Bible Verses & Meaning. Retrieved 12 September 2019, from

Eliot, T. S. (1927). The journey of the Magi. Retrieved from

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