Poem: The Enemy Essay Example & Outline

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Poem: The Enemy

poemCharles Baudelaire’s poem “The Enemy” shows the challenges the persona faced during his youthful days. The persona explains the tough situations he had to deal with in order to accomplish his dreams. Further, the persona expresses his dissatisfaction with life as he has hardly achieved anything he worked for in his youthful days.

The translation of the poem by William Aggeler entails several artistic expressions and poetic devices that portray his artistic skills. For example, the translator brings out the attitude of the poem, which is melancholic, well. In the last paragraph of the translated poem, the author uses the expression “Alas! Alas!” to show the disappointment of the persona who does not accomplish his dreams. This brings out the attitude of the persona different from other translations.

In addition, Roy Campbell’s translation of the poem also portrays different artistic styles from the original poem. The poet defines death as “the dark foe that nibbles our heart’s root.” The imagery “the dark foe” artistically explains the misfortunes brought about by death after facing life struggles and hardships. Further, the poet adds a rhetorical question in his poem to engage the audience in thought. For instance, in the third stanza, the author uses a rhetorical question to explain the mood of the poem, which is hopeless.

Consequently, the third translation by Robert Lowell is quite different from the original poem. The poet uses a different approach in translating the poem, but they carry the same message. For example, the poem is not called “The Enemy” rather; it is called “The Ruined Garden.” The poet translates the poem to explain life as a garden, which was made unfertile by huge rains, sleet and brilliant heat. The artistic device employed by the poet is rhyme. The poem has different aspects of rhyme such as take, rake, lives, sides, heat and sleet that bring rhythm to the poem.

Read also about the poem: Sonnet 116


Allen Ginsberg

I do agree that Allen Ginsberg’s poem is indeed an affirmation and enlightenment of mystical experience. This is evident from his choice of words, experiences and themes in the poem. From part I, one can easily tell that Ginsberg does not hold an orthodox view on life, religion and society as a whole. His different yet intriguing view is centered on the “best minds” of the society. He makes it very clear that these are not the typical academic achievers such as doctors and lawyers, but are instead drug users, bums, world travelers, musicians, poets and artists (Morgan 1995). To Ginsberg, their ability to resist conformity as prescribed by society is true genius, because it allows them to think beyond the society’s walls of conformity.

The activities and experiences of these individuals are mystical in nature. This is partly due to the fact that they are almost always high on alcohol and drugs, coupled with seemingly endless sex. Their lives are a representation of seeking higher purpose in life-purpose beyond social conformity (Morgan 1995). Their ability to break away from the conformity that “Moloch” demands allows them to live a life that is socially incomprehensible. This makes them live ‘mystical’ lives. The poem affirms the reality that the lives of these individuals are extraordinary experiences.

The poem is also an enlightenment of mystical experience. The reference to religion and God through the poem is a representation of the Beatnik culture of which Ginsberg was part of in his life. The poem enlightens the readers on religion, without supporting any single religion. Yet the belief in religion among these “best minds” cannot be doubted. Without a doubt, the mystical experiences of Ginsberg and other Beatnik poets and artists are manifested clearly in “Howl” (Morgan 1995).


Morgan, B. (1995). The works of Allen Ginsberg, 1941-1994: A descriptive bibliography. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press.