Week 5: Magazines and Wasteland’s Transatlantic Influence (Blog 3 of 8)

I see some connections between T.S. Eliot’s poem and the overall tone of the magazines chosen for this week. One major example from The Dial 1922, is “The Player Queen,” which has themes of royalty getting murdered (Archduke Ferdinand), mobs of people being ignorant and wanting blood (soldiers), wife and husband separation (Septimus and Decima), dark humor and drunkenness, and attempted suicide to avoid a living death. (Decima) The play takes place in an unknown country, which could be anywhere. It has influences of Christianity and the Bible (Jesus and thou shall not suffer a witch to live), but does not outright say England. By this time Christianity is the dominant form of religion all over Europe by this time. The writer is William Yeates, an Irishman playing satire with European popular sentiment and conventions of the time.  

There is also a continual mention of the Unicorn, a mythological creature that is mentioned in legend all over the world for purity and serenity. However, there is also man’s desire to constantly hunt and kill the animal, symbolically also killing the peace that man wishes to attain. This is another universal jab at the war and senseless killing that took place which could have been avoided.  

Another important character is the Queen, who believes she is a sinner and must die a martyr. The notion of sacrifice for one’s country during WWI was extraordinarily strong, which also lead to more casualties as men were forced to charge into heavy gunfire and if they deserted they were executed. (France) The idea of honor is also challenged because the war was so senseless and being lead by senseless people. (compare mob to leaders of countries) 


This is a great list of themes common to "The Player Queen" and The Waste Land. Let's be sure to weave these into the discussion.