What does the last stanza mean in the poem "Musee des Beaux Arts"? Compare and Contrast this poem to Landscape with the Fall of Icarcus

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The last stanza of "Musee de Beaux Arts reinforces the message of the rest of the poem. Based on Bruegel's painting The Fall of Icarus, Auden points out the something amazing can be happening but people are just too busy and concerned about themselves to notice. The ship in the painting "had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on" while a young boy fell out of the sky in to his death very near the ship. The crew was so concerned with their own destination, they didn't even notice the boy's final moments. Auden's poem was written in the 1930's, as everyone became too busy to notice what was happening in Nazi Germany. The poem "Landscape of the Fall of Icarus" is based on the same painting and contains the same basic idea as both works of art but the poem uses a very different form to present its message. In "Landscape", the stanzas are very short and indicate a downward movement, to imitate Icarus' movement of falling downward from the sky. The poem ends, not with an observation on others ( the crew in "Musee de Beaux Arts") but on the tragedy of Icarus' death itself. Thus the message is the same, but the focus of both poems is a bit different. Auden focuses on observations of everyone else, Williams focuses on the death of a small boy.

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Musée des Beaux Arts

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