Describe the emotional condition of the speaker in "The Waste Land." Does his mental state remain static?

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There is no one speaker in "The Waste Land"; the poem is spoken through many different voices. Some of those voices are recognizably from the past, such as real-life figures from history and characters from Western literature, most notably from Dante's Divine Comedy.

These figures...

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There is no one speaker in "The Waste Land"; the poem is spoken through many different voices. Some of those voices are recognizably from the past, such as real-life figures from history and characters from Western literature, most notably from Dante's Divine Comedy.

These figures provide a counter-balance to what Eliot sees as the babble of discordant voices that characterizes life in the modern era, especially in the modern city. With the breakdown of all the old certainties, there is no longer the same degree of cultural unity as there once was. Society has become atomized and fragmentary, and the depiction of many different voices in the poem, each with its own unique form of expression—working-class London dialect, song, and so on—is meant to drive this point home.

Given Eliot's use of polyphony, there is no static voice and therefore no static mental state. The mental state of society, if it can be so described, is chaotic and disordered, as the foundations of Western civilization collapse under the strain of modernity. Eliot's own voice may briefly be heard in his stated intention to shore the fragments of Western civilization—for fragments are all that's left—against the ruins of modern life. But ultimately he's engaged in a losing battle, and he knows it. His mind, like that of the society in which he lives, is disordered and as such cannot remain stable in the face of overwhelming change.

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