Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Summer 1970

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


English Literature

Committee Chair

Donald Cummings

Second Committee Member

Frank M. Collins

Third Committee Member

Karl E. Zink


From the desolation of a sterile Waste Land populated by straw men, Eliot's dramas increasingly portray a world of great meaning and hope. His early dramas portray a hostile and insensible world which must be fought and completely rejected by religious persons who are called to martyrdom and sainthood. Eliot's acceptance of the material world and comfort with its society brings a steady transformation of his spiritual vision when at the end of his dramas the world is one of common people who strive to find meaning and "make the best of a bad job," illumined by a vision of love. Especially this is seen when the rigidly drawn world forces gradually relax into common people open to change and amelioration of the human predicament, not dulled and insensible to any high destiny. A world in early plays described as "waste and void" becomes a "brave new world" in the last drama, The Elder Statesman, which most resembles the last Shakesperian world view of The Tempest with its emphasis on perfected love between men. The beneficial change in man's life and the strength of the bond of love displayed increasingly throughout the dramas portray in secular terms Eliot's evolving vision of the Church.