Seamus Heaney - Antaeus - Poetry Analysis


Antaeus A ‘giant’ figure from Greek/ North African mythology, Antaeus was invincible in combat as long as he retained contact with the earth that renewed his strength whenever he fell. Antaeus clarifies the myth but foresees the advent of a more skilful combatant who will find the means to bring him down. Antaeus knows that earth-contact renews his life-force: I rise flushed as a rose each day. He is a practised wrestler; in combat he cunningly contrives a fall in the (wrestling-) ring to replenish his strength; sand acts as a magic potion: operative/ As an elixir. This ‘child’ giant is suckled by Earth; he cannot, dare not be weaned/ Off, live separate from earth’s long contour and the living blood of her river veins. His environment is more Irish than African: a womb-like cave Girded with root and rock. The narrative is enriched with the vocabulary of child-rearing: wombed/ […read more….]