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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

Like he does with "Canto I," Pound decides not to worry too much about unstressed syllables in "Canto II." The only syllables he counts out for each line are the stressed ones, which is a type of m...

Speaker

For the most part, Pound's speaker spends "Canto II" in the third-person omniscient. He gives himself the power to jump between different classical stories from different historical periods. For ex...

Setting

Where are we? In the great, big sea—that's where. Naw, we're not talking about the band by the same name. We're talking about the actual ocean here. From the very get-go, Pound plunges us into a...

Sound Check

When Pound mentions that the Greek poet Homer had an "ear for the sea-surge" (13), it's not just some throwaway comment. He's giving us a hint about the entire sound of "Canto II," which is suppose...

What's Up With the Title?

"Canto" is the Italian word for "song." It comes from classical Italian poetry, where poets would divide long poems up according to "cantos," much like novels have chapters. By using the word "cant...

Calling Card

Throughout his career—but especially in The Cantos—Pound shows a great devotion to the tradition of classical art, especially when it comes to stories about gods and beauty. Further, there migh...

Tough-o-Meter

There might be a reference or two you need to Google, but for the most part, you should be able to stick with this poem. The middle section (lines 40-129) is way easier to follow than the opening (...

Trivia

When Pound was young, he made a promise to himself to learn more about poetry than "any man living." This makes sense once you've read a bit of his poetry. (Source.) Unfortunately for his fans, Pou...

Steaminess Rating

Although he never mentions it directly, Pound alludes to the myth of the sea god Poseidon raping a nymph named Tyro. Apart from that, the poem doesn't really have anything to do with sex. It's more...

Allusions

Robert Browning, Sordello (2-4)Homer, The Iliad (11-22)Ovid, The Metamorphoses (19, 40-129)Pablo Picasso (8)Lir (7)Tyro (23, 135)Pentheus (59, 114)Acoetes (62-101)Lyaeus (95)Tiresias (115)Cadmus (1...
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