Requiem

by Anna Andreyevna Gorenko

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In "Epilogue II" of Requiem, what is Akhmatova's view on monuments in relation to political and personal struggles?

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In “Epilogue II,” Akhmatova says that monuments can only partly commemorate the political and personal struggle in which she and a multitude of other people have participated. She want to be remembered on the anniversary of her funeral and possibly through a monument on the spot outside the prison where she waited with others for so many hours.

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In the “Epilogue II,” section of Requiem, Akhmatova mentions a monument that people might possibly erect for her after her death. She suggests that a monument in physical form is only capable of commemorating a portion of the political and personal struggle which she and a many millions of other people have shared. She mentions the anniversary of her funeral as an appropriate day to remember her, and she gives several proscriptions and desires for the location of such a monument. The only really appropriate spot would be the place spot outside the prison where she had waited in vain for so long.

Akhmatova draws a sharp distinction between the silencing that the state might impose and the collective voice that her voice also represents. She writes that from her “tortured mouth … a hundred million people shout.” If her mouth were “shut,” then her funeral anniversary would be the day to remember her. She ironically suggests that “[her] country” might one day “consider erecting to me a monument.” She names the places where it definitely should not be placed: by the sea where she was born and in the Tsar’s garden.

The place for such a monument could only be where she “stood three hundred hours”; the gate never opened, and she heard an old woman howl. The statue would be an appropriate representation of what she endured there, listening to the police wagons, if tears flooded down “from under immobile bronze lids.”

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