Beware Reality

Eliot’s use of the play in The Waste Land is rather peculiar, since he only lets it appear once just to make a quick reference. He cleverly names his second section after Middleton’s most famous play, but uses the chess scene from Women Beware Women where the wife is being seduced, unbeknownst to her mother-in-law.

In his essay, he talks about the realism in Middleton’s plays, apparent from Women Beware Women where there is a lot of struggles with sex, class, self identity, and all the ugly issues we deal with on a day to day basis. Eliot tries to emulate that in The Waste Land at times, coming down from his high pedestal. The Game of Chess section is a rather realistic part of the whole poem, with dialogue and couples and human interaction. It shows the non-aristocratic struggles during and after the war, which could be reffered to as a game of chess, just like the war itself.

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