Monday, June 17, 2013

Matilda by Hilaire Belloc

Matilda by Hilaire Belloc
Matild Hilaire Belloc's poem Matilda relates the tragic end of a foolish young woman, supposed to be 'A notorious liar' although the poem does not bear the form or pattern of a tragedy the poet has carefully woven it in humorous manner, though it contains a tragic episode. Even the sad situations are presented evoking humour with an elegant background. The girl's foolish and stubborn nature, resulting in her own disaster, subjugating her own weakness lying to its extremes brings to her an extremely tragic end burnt to death. Matilda being a born liar never even attempted at being truthful. She achieved self satisfaction by lying and seeing her lies proving successful. Her lies were so frightening that one looked at her with widened eyes, believing her dreadful episodes.
The whole poem revolves round the character of Matilda. Curiosity, tension and a strain of laughter evoke throughout the poem. Like the peasant boy in the local story, who shouted "wolf, wolf! to frighten the others deriving self satisfaction and ending up in his own death, with the actual wolf coming up on the scene and gulping down the boy. In similar manner Matilda with her gullible lies persuading the others to believe her lies brings about her own destruction. There's some kind of elasticity in Matilda's lies, dangerous as they are made people stare at her in suspicious manner. Matilda's anxiety to tell lies and derive pleasure appears to be some kind of mental mobility.
Matilda's lying reaching its climax when she called the London's Noble Fire Brigade. Bellac has used the epithet "noble' subjecting the Fire Brigade to ridicule and highlighting Matilda's ability to lie. Matilda seems to derive pleasure by lying to display her ingenious nature, her walk to the telephone is suggestive of her peculiar mannerism, "And finding she was left alone went tip toe to the telephone. And summoned the immediate aid of London's Noble Fire Brigade."
The epithet Noble highlights the entire operation carried out by the Fire Brigade, and the arrival of the Fire Brigade collecting their members from various places and the 'Frenzied crowd' gazing at the moving Fire Brigade.There's the most dreadful episode the house actually getting succumbed to fire and nobody coming to help Matilda, Belloc has expressed in dramatic manner the plight of Matilda when the actual fire broke out.
There's irony tragic and pathetic. 
"For everytime she shouted 'Fire' 
They only answered Little Liar.'
Hilaire Belloc has used a simple diction style with the rhyming pattern to suit the musical rhythm running throughout the poem, conveying to the reader a moral and gentle humour reigning in exemplary style highlighting Bernard show's wise words "The greater punishment aliar, would get is that nobody believes him/her."
Sources: www.sundayobserver.lk/2008/01/27/mag05.asp-16.06.2013

D.N. Aloysius

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