Harpies In Oliver Wendell Holmes's Poem 'Old Ironsides'

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A firm and unbroken belief in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. To overcome all objects in the way. This is perseverance. As a New Critic, this line can be broken down and analyzed for its use of allusions, word choice, and importance as a whole to the theme of the poem. In this line, the word “harpies” has a significant meaning to the poem. Through the use of this word, Oliver Wendell Holmes is creating an allusion. Harpies were evil monsters that are half woman and half bird from Greek Mythology. They were charged with the duty of stealing food before King Phineus of Thrace could eat it. The Harpies were also associated with strong, deadly, and destructive winds. When the sentences is saying “harpies of the shore” we can infer that the evil harpies are apart of the shore or the land. We know that this poem “Old Ironsides” is…show more content…
The definition of pluck is to take hold of something and quickly remove it from its place. This word can also be associated with the rapid and painful destruction of a certain object or thing. With the inclusion of this particular word to the sentence, a sense of destruction and evil is being introduced into the poem. If a certain object or ship is to be plucked apart by the evil “harpies” of the shore, a negative shroud will be cast upon the poem. One final phrase with paramount significance to Oliver Holmes poem “Old Ironsides” is “eagle of the sea”. An eagle is a very large dominant bird of prey that is known to gracefully soar high up in the blue sky. Eagles are very dominant and commanding creatures that are symbols of patriotism. Someone who possesses patriotism is known to persevere and overcome all conflicts in their way. We have already come to the conclusion that this poem is about a ship. When “eagle of the sea” is being used, it is creating the image that there is a dominant ship in the poem, and one of the most commanding of the high
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