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Historical Context in The Waste Land

Historical Context Examples in The Waste Land:

Text of the Poem

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"Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante, Had a bad cold, nevertheless Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe, With a wicked pack of cards...."   (Text of the Poem)

T. S. Eliot's speaker seems to be illustrating the kinds of superstitions that would revive following the dissolution of traditional religion. In the absence of shared religious beliefs, mankind might revert to ancient beliefs in such things as fortune telling, astrology, numerology, palm reading, and spiritualism (communing with the dead). Madame Sosostris represents a figure who offers these rituals.

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