Critical analysis of “Personal Helicon” Written by “Seamus Heaney”


This poem was first published in 1966 in the book “Death of Naturalist”. The poem is dedicated to Michael Longley who is a poet and friend of Seamus Heaney.

Definition of title


Personal means the poet’s own life and experiences/Autobiographical elements.


Helicon is the  name of a mountain in Greek mythology where nine muses live. The streams run down from this mountain gives the power to write poetry who drink from it, means poetic inspiration. Poet was inspired by this myth. So, the title suggest that “Personal Helicon ” means The poet’s own inspiration.

Literal meanings of the poem

In Ireland there were many wells with names of saints and poet was inspired by the wells. In his childhood he plays near the wells and watched the drawing of water with the help of bucket from wells. Wells as the way of personal reflection and understanding of natural world. Wells are doorways to underground world. Poet saw the reflection of sky in well and think it that sky trapped in a well. Now poet is older and wiser. His thirst for knowledge increases.

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Tess as a pure woman


A pure woman is the subtitle of the play as used by hardy.

Pure in  attention and soul, not physically

Tess is not pure physically as Hardy himself calls her “maiden no more” but the loss of virginity under the circumstances like rape does not loss the purity. She is pure in her attention and soul.

Tess’s association with Alec

Tess’s association with Alec shows her unwillingness at every point. When Alec seduced her she was in sleep. She becomes his mistress when her family out of shelter. Murder of Alec also shows her unwillingness of this association.

Tess’s irritation at Alec‘s progresses

When Alec tries to put strawberries into her mouth she tells him that she eat herself and also shows irritation from this type of behavior of Alec. Then on the way to Trantridge Alec tries to kiss her but she tries to avoid him she dropped the hat and came down and pass the remaining way by foot. As  his employee she reserved her but Alec advances.

Seduction under situations

When Alec seduced her at that time she was physically tired,  mentally drowsy due to clash with mates and In half sleep condition. Tess says to Alec when leaving Trantridge:                                                                                                                         “My eyes were dazed by you for little, and that was all. I didn’t understand your meaning till it was two late”.

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Use of Irony in “The King Lear”


“The contrast between appearance and reality is called irony“.  There are many types of irony like irony of dialogue, irony of situation and irony of character etc. What a character says and what he actually means? is the irony of dialogue. What a character thinks himself and what he actually is? What he desires but what actually occurs? are the irony of character. What a character believes and what the readers know? What we had expected and what actually happens? are the irony of situations.


Why the writers used irony in the plays or other kinds of literature? Actually irony intense the effect of tragedy or comedy. In tragedy irony served to heighten the tragic effect and in comedy it served to heighten the comic effect. In this play “King Lear” it is used to intensify both the effects according to their situations. Some times it Heightens the tragic effect and some times heightens the comic effect.

Goneril and Regan’s words for King Lear

Goneril says her father that he is dearer to her “than eyesight, space and liberty”. Regan says that all joys in life are meaningless to her beside the joy which her love for him. After division of kingdom we find that these  two daughters making the adverse comments for their father.

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