Monday, February 18, 2008

Hyperion: A Fragment- Summary

Hyperion: A fragment is the masterpiece of John Keats. The poem is usually called as Hyperion. Hyperion is in blank verse. It is in unrhyming iambic pentameter lines. Hyperion narrates the war between two groups of gods, the Titans and the Olympians.

The Olympians have defeated the Titans. The absolute ruler of the Titans, Saturn, is sadly sitting alone like a stone. There is no stir in the air. He has lost his divinity. He has his head bowed and he seems to be listening to the earth, his old (ancient) mother.

1. Then Thea, the consort of the sun god, Hyperion and the goddess of the newly created world, came. Thea’s description: In stature, she was like on Amazon, the Trojan here, by the hair. Her face was large like the Egyptian Sphinx. Thea put her one hand on heart and the other on Saturn’s neck and roused the defeated god from his drowsiness. She spoke in melancholy tones and offered no comfort to Saturn. Then she began to weep besides Saturn.

2. There is stillness in the air except for an occasional gust of breeze. Saturn and Thea, Hyperion’s consort, are there silent like the statues or “natural sculpture in cathedral cavern”. At last Saturn speaks to Thea and talks of the last kingdom and their power over men, winds, seas, sky, planets etc. He wants to know if there could be any other chaos which they could fashion into a new creation to “overhear and crumble” the world won by the Olympians. Thea feels somewhat encouraged and leads Saturn to the place where the fellows Titans are lying. She wants Saturn to export his fallen companions.


3. We further learn about the miserable condition of the gods. They had never before seen or head of such a fall. (That was what the French Revolution had done.) . Saturn goes with Tea “step for step” “through the woods”. Hyperion is also one of the Titans. He has not yet been defeated. He lies in a state of splendor. He wants Saturn’s ruled to be continued only for self-interest, as he does not want to lose his luxurious way of living. Hyperion’s speech here is very much in the manner of Saturn’s speeches in Paradise Lost. Then we have the voice of Coelus, who is the father of the Titans, as Telhus is their mother. Coelus was one of the earlier gods before the Titans. Now, he is only a voice. He is dismayed as he sees that his children have lost their divine qualities and have become like mortal human beings with the emotions and characteristics such as fear, hope, wrath, “actions of rage and passion”, etc.

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