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Assigned: "The Rubáiyát of Omar Kayyám" (1304-18).
1. describe the progress of this poem in terms of the emotional states through which the speaker passes and the main ideas he entertains. does he arrive at a satisfying conclusion to his reflections? Why or why not?
2. what would you say the speaker is searching for — what would satisfy him? Happiness? Clarity? Connection to something beyond himself? Or something else?
3. What religious and philosophical systems does the narrator explore? What ultimate view does he arrive at concerning such systems?
4. what virtues does wine or "the grape" possess? What does it do for the speaker — to what degree is drink the answer to the questions explored by the speaker?
5. what is the significance of nature in this poem? What connections are made between nature and humanity? what is the relationship between the speaker's state of mind and nature?
6. how do the formal attributes of the poem reinforce its attitude towards the subject matter? In other words, how does the stanzaic patterning go along with the speaker's apparent feelings and intellectual observations?
Edition: Abrams, M. H. et al. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vols. 2A-C. 7th ed. New York: Norton, 2000. ISBN 2A = 0393975681, 2B = 039397569X, 2C = 0393975703.