The Shield of Achilles – a poem of our time?

I have posted a handful if poems to this blog, but I note, with no a little puzzlement, that The Shield of Achilles by W. H. Auden is the one most often visited in recent times.

Here is the original entry

The Shield of Achilles (which for copyright reasons cannot be reprinted here) is one of my own personal favourites from among the later poems of W. H. Auden. Although poem, written in 1952,  alludes to scenes from Iliad, it is actually a depiction  of the contemporary world as Auden saw it. In the Iliad, Achilles lends his armour to Patroclus who is subsequently killed Hector. Achilles has new armour made for him by Hephaestus

In the poem Thetis, Achilles’ mother, notices that contrary to her expectations the shield has scenes that horrify emblazoned on it. The world Thetis sees is not what she expects. Instead of an ordered civilized world where there is harmony in everything, what she sees is a cruel and uncaring world. Read on

I wonder why so many people search out this poem.


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