Explain the title of the poem Journey of the Magi by T. S. Eliot.

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The title of the poem Journey of the Magi by T. S. Eliot is based on the main action within the poem. The narrator of the poem is one of the three magi who visit the infant Jesus. The dramatic situation is that the magus is now old and remember the journey he took many years ago:


"A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The was deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter."

There are two reasons for the title. First, the majority of the poem is about the journey. Second, and more important, Christian life is often described as a journey towards God. Thus the difficulty of the literal journey of the wise men is a symbol of the journey all Christians take which is both to birth (baptism, which is birth into the Christian community) and death, which is then end of a journey in this world and the beginning, more importantly, of a journey to the next.