The Importance of Being Earnest eText - eText

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  • “they forgave not…wanton to his ruin” – a reference to the Judgment of Paris, the event which set in motion the abduction of Helen [See Reading Pointers for Sharper Insights for the whole story.]
  • stinted – limited, restricted
  • impart – to communicate or inform
  • sombre [somber] – serious, grave
  • amity – friendship
  • discourse – a discussion
  • vestments – robes or gowns, especially ones worn in rituals or ceremonies
  • unerring – certain, unmistaken
  • ken – knowledge
  • opportunely – fortunately
  • mien – a person's appearance, demeanor
  • sepulchre [sepulcher] – a tomb
  • chalice – a cup, goblet
  • defraud – to deceive or cheat
  • “The old man went straight into the house…” – The poem ends very much like it began, with a father crossing enemy lines to get back his child. In Book I, it was Chryses who begged Agamemnon to return his daughter. Now, it is Priam who begs Achilles to return the body of Hector. This is an example of ring composition, a literary technique in which a scene or theme at the beginning of the story returns at the end of the story. In other words, the story is structured like a circle.
  • “Think of your father…on the threshold of old age.” – Priam's plea for Achilles to think of his father sparks some compassion and sympathy in Achilles for the first time in the entire poem. Just as Priam has lost his son, Achilles knows that his own father will lose a son as well. This is because Achilles knows that he is fated to die soon. It is this knowledge which gives rise to Achilles' compassion.
  • sated – full
  • unburthened [unburdened] – relieved of a heavy load
  • plenitude – abundance
  • weltering – soaked in liquid
  • Cassandra – Priam's daughter; Apollo gave her the gift of the ability to tell the future, but because she would not repay him, Apollo made it so that her prophecies would never be believed; she predicted the fall of Troy but no one paid attention to her.
  • asunder – apart in position; in separate parts
  • dirge – a funeral song
  • razed – destroyed
  • “some Achaean will hurl you…from our walls” – a foreshadowing of the terrible death of Astyanax, which will occur shortly after the fall of Troy