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Themes

The birth of Jesus, the three kings, and Biblical allusions galore. "Journey of the Magi" has religion written all over it, and that's just the obvious stuff. Since the whole poem is about the coming of Christianity, every word is packed with religious meaning that can be picked apart with a fine-toothed comb. Allow Shmoop.

Questions About Religion

  1. What do you think about Eliot's embellishment of a story from a sacred text? Does he pull it off? Is it okay for a poet to do something like that? 
  2. Do you think this poem is symbolic of Eliot's own conversion? How can you tell?
  3. Why does the religion of the Magis' people suddenly seem "alien" to them? Who's to blame? Could this maybe be a good thing?
  4. What do you think is the purpose of all the Biblically symbolic language in the second stanza? Why pack in so many allusions in such a tiny space?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The heavy symbolism in the second stanza of "Journey" lends the poem a sense that even the Magus is unaware of just how significant a journey he is making.

The tone of "Journey of the Magi" shows us that religion is an intensely complicated, often painful, and sometimes even fatal process, not simply something that just exists.

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