The Late Decalogue Analysis

701 Words3 Pages
Inverted values for Victorian society in the Clough’s Latest Decalogue

“The Latest Decalogue” (1862) by Arthur John Clough is an indirect criticism of the Victorian society, a satire, in which the values promoted are inverted, in order to emphasize the religious and social unrest. The context is also relevant in understanding the poem; this means that the Victorian Age was influenced by the revolutions, which came up with new ideas, new values such as freedom, social mobility, industrial and social development.
The title of the poem is formed by an adjective (”the latest”) and a noun (”Decalogue”). Intertextuality comes up here, because Decalogue is another term for the Ten Commandments appearing the Bible in Exodus 20:2-17 and in Deuteronomy 5:6-21. The Latest probably signifies that the Decalogue given by the author is representative for the society in which he lives, as there is not the first, the second or the latest
…show more content…
At the very beginning, in the second line, he added “tax” in order to show that the society is more interested in money, in taxes than in the word of God. This irony emphasizes the demands of religion, which appears less credible. So you must be careful who you worship; the “God’s image” is perhaps “in the currency” (3-4). Moreover, in this time, the religion is a way to “keep the world thy friend” (8) and it is necesary only one day to prove your “holliness” and your loyalty: “At church on Sunday to attend” (7). This means that the relationship between people is more important than the connection between man and God. The religion looses its spiritual value and this lack of spirituality can be “thine worse enemy” (6).
The family does not mean pure affection or love, it becomes a way to manipulate in order to gain more money or a better social status: “Honor thy parents; that is all/ From whom promotion may befall”
Open Document