The Rubaiyat Essay

4044 words - 17 pages

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam: Summary & Analysis
The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam presents an interesting challenge to any reader trying to sort through its heavy symbolism and not-so-obvious theme. Not only does the poem provide us with a compelling surface story, but a second look at the text can reveal a rich collection of seperate meanings hidden in the poem’s objective descriptions and sprawling narrative-which in the space of a few pages includes such disparate characters as the Moon, God, the Snake (and his traditional Christian neighborhood, Paradise), the “Balm of Life”, not to mention nearly every animal and sexual symbol the human mind can come up with.
Obviously, on one level, ...view middle of the document...

” Later the narrator compares the Grape to an angel. It’s clear this person has something of an obsession.
But all of these seemingly transparent references to drinking beg for a deeper analysis. Writing a really great poem about blowing off the next day to get trashed does not get you into the literary canon. Of particular interest is the symbol of the “Cup” or “Bowl” (or even “Pot” at one point in the poem), and the “Wine” that the narrator seems to be drawing out of it on every occasion.
The “Cup”, in Western society, is nearly always synonymous with some sort of prize or contest. Besides the Cup being semi-obviously equated with the vagina and therefore a kind of sexual conquest in our society’s male-driven history, there is also the legend of the Holy Grail-The Cup of Life, which grants eternal life to anybody lucky enough to find it. There is a parable in the Bible about a woman who, having been married several times out of either lust or financial necessity, goes to the well for water and finds Jesus there, dispensing wisdom in his usual manner. As she gets water, Jesus tells her, “Whosoever drinks from that well will thirst again.” Whether or not this convinces the woman to renounce worldly pleasures and become a Christian is never made clear.
So what then is this “Cup” that the poet makes twenty-five references to throughout the poem (including “Vessel”,”Urn”,”Bowl”, and “Glass”)? It’s fairly easy to argue that the cup is a symbol for life and the act of living. It’s also a curse-no cup is bottomless, so it follows that:
a) you can’t enjoy the wine unless you drink it, but
b) the more you drink, the quicker it ends.
Now a different theme arises from the symbols the author is using. Is it really time to “Seize the Day” and drink it up while we have the chance? The sixty-third stanza uses another symbol to explain it: “One thing is certain and the rest is Lies/ The Flower that once has blown for ever dies.” Throughout the poem death is seen as being an empty cup (Stanza 72): “And that inverted Bowl they call the Sky,/ Whereunder crawling coop’d we live and die,” and in the fortieth stanza: “Do you devoutly do the like, till Heav’n/ To Earth invert you- like an empty Cup.” In the twenty-second stanza, “some we loved. . . Have drunk their Cup a Round or two. . . And one by one crept silently to rest.” The author seems to recognize that once the drinking’s over, so is life.
Later the author converses with several pots of different sizes (Stanzas 82-90). This highly metaphorical description of the philosophical “pots” giving their opinion on their “potter” (i.e. people talking about God) further emphasizes the idea that human souls are finite vessels that, once emptied, have served their use. In Stanza 89, a pot says, “My Clay with long Oblivion is gone dry:/ But fill me with the old familiar Juice,/ Methinks I might recover by and by.”
Which brings us to the question of that “Juice”. One could say that the “wine” that the poet praises for a...

Other Papers Like The Rubaiyat

Holidays In Albania Essay

1636 words - 7 pages Have you ever thought about having exciting and incredibly cheap vacations? Albania might be the right choice. According to My Travel Guide, Albania is ranked the fourth among ten places worth visiting in Eastern Europe (“Top 10 Eastern European Destinations”). One can encounter three kinds of vacations in this Mediterranean country: winter, summer, and cultural. The ideal places to spend your winter vacations are the Albanian Alps. They are

A Heart Of Darkness Essay

1748 words - 7 pages In this short story, there are frequent significant subject and ideas that make the story, "A Heart of Darkness," by Joseph Conrad, and haunting novel. The main theme is absolute white power over the natives. The theme validates the corruption, and the dependence caused by the white people as they took over the Congo. White men were giving all the power; they had no self-control, and in the end they did not use wisely. The white men became

The Aspects Of Vulnerability Among The Exploited In Medical Research

2287 words - 10 pages Essentially, everyone is in some state of vulnerability. However, some of us are more susceptible to harm due to our vulnerabilities. The susceptible are the individuals with the greatest risk. These individuals risk the loss of their autonomy, and maybe even their lives. Vulnerable populations can be found in every subset of society. However, as previously mentioned, there are some vulnerable populations that are at an even greater risk than

The Hitchhiker’S Guide To The Galaxy

1171 words - 5 pages The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy As the human race makes life-changing discoveries, it is made apparent that there is always more to learn as the universe, instead of becoming familiar, is becoming absurd. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, written by Douglas Adams, as well as the 2005 film adaption, portrays absurdity to be an all-encompassing system in the universe. Through the introduction and attempt to understand lack of reason

The Ford Motor Company Wage Increase Of 1914 And The Theory Of Incentives And Efficiency Wages

1252 words - 6 pages ‘It’s not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages’ (Henry Ford, cited in Johnson and Weinstein 2004, p. 2). When the Ford Motor Company announced that it would more than double the wages of its workers in January 1914 to a ‘five-dollar day’ minimum, was this a contradiction to Henry Ford’s statement? If customers are actually the ultimate payers of wages, then more than

Historical Analysis Of The Economical Breakthroughs Of The Industrial Revolution

1396 words - 6 pages A Historical Analysis of the Economical Breakthroughs of the Industrial Revolution During the Industrial Revolution, many elements of society experienced huge breakthroughs that would change the way they functioned forever. Economics were definitely one of them. With many new inventions and many factories appearing, many, many, more resources were being created than ever before. Also, all of the revenue from these resources was being given

Leadership Portrayed in Monologue from Shakespeare’s Henry V

1214 words - 5 pages Leadership is defined as a socially constructed process and which also affect organizational future outcomes. Leader is someone at high position who have overall duty for an organization, she or he decide what to do and the way how to achieve it. (Carter and Greer, 2013)The role of leader is extremely important for an organization, leader use their own power to influence the followers though many different ways such as motivation in order to

Cuba Civil Rights

1906 words - 8 pages Picture a country that has limits on how much you can make random government imprisonments and more what do you do. That is the situation for the eleven million seventy-five thousand two hundred forty-four people of Cuba since the takeover of Fidel Castro. The US is opposed to Castro taking control of Cuba. Castro managed to ease the United States nerves when he said that Cuba was against all forms of communism. According to Lana Wylie the Union

US Freight System

1273 words - 6 pages General Environment Each American requires the movement of approximately 40 tons of freight per year across the freight network. This includes everything from shirts to lawn mower to orange juice. • As the U.S. population expands, the U.S. freight system will be called upon to meet the demands of a larger population • Between 2010 and 2035, the system will experience a 22 percent increase in the total amount of tonnage it moves • By 2050, with

Democratic Peace Theory

1852 words - 8 pages Intro: US Presidents have made it a goal during their term(s) in office to establish a good relationship with foreign countries and even try to improve upon existing connections with our allies. Some believe it is to prevent conflicts between the countries while others dispute that it is a threat assessment by the United States to pick and choose their friends and enemies. Preventing conflict between two democracies or countries that practice

Booker T. Washington

1621 words - 7 pages “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome” –Booker T. Washing. Booker Taliaferro Washington was born in Hale’s Ford, Virginia on April 5th, 1856 to Jane Burroughs and an unknown White man. Washington was married three times. His first wife was Fannie N. Smith from Malden, West Virginia. Booker and Fannie were married in the summer of 1882 and had one child

Related Essays

Brand Entry In Bangladesh Nike Essay

3639 words - 15 pages 1. Background: In Bangladesh, people are sports loving and the popularity of football and cricket creates huge market for the sports brand. That is why brands like Adidas, Puma, Reebok, CA etc. brands are becoming prominent here. In case of Nike, BATA is the only authorized shop in Bangladesh. But due to its high brand image Nike can operate directly in this country and acquire market share. For this reason, we conducted this research to find

Freedom And Responsibility Essay

2141 words - 9 pages Built within the Constitution of the United States are specifically defined freedoms that are guaranteed to all citizens. Conversely, with every constitutional freedom there comes a corresponding responsibility. On September 25, 1789, the state legislature’s twelve proposed amendments were transmitted by congress, the first two dealing with congressional representation and congressional pay. The following numbers three through twelve were

Hate Crime Laws Essay

2348 words - 10 pages On June 7, 1998, 49-year-old James Byrd Jr. of Texas accepted a ride from three white men, who then beat him severely, urinated on him, chained him by his ankles to the back of their pick-up truck, dragged him for three miles into the countryside, and dumped his corpse in front of an African-American cemetery (Graczyk). A little over a year later, a jury sentenced ring leader John King to death by lethal injection (“Man Executed for Dragging

Rational Emotional Behavior Therapy Case Study Conceptualization And Treatment Plan

2140 words - 9 pages Rational Emotional Behavior Therapy Case Study of Sarah: A Conceptualization and Treatment Plan Rational emotive behavior therapy, REBT, was developed by Albert Ellis and holds the central belief that the events in our lives do not cause our disturbances but that they are instead caused by our view of the events (Murdock, 2009). Murdock (2009) states that “people are seen as responsible for their behavior” (p. 279) but, because they are