Also, “deciphering” formal literary techniques such as metaphor,connotation, and symbolism is the key to unlock other expressions. The maintheme of the poem is that Lucifer has no place out of his hell, and anything hetries to reenter heaven is futile. As with any poem, it is best to first examinehow the title, “Lucifer in Starlight” relates to the body of the poem. Obviously, Lucifer is the defiant angel that was banished from heaven,and sent to the underworld of hell, where he known as Satan.
The title refersto the devil as “in starlight”, so this means he has to rise to a place wherethe stars are visible, not the fires of hell. This rising from the underworld issummed up in the first line. It is later explained that he is doing so becausehe is tired of his dark dominion. ” Ironically, the first line refers to Luciferhonorably, as a “Prince”, while in the second line he is tagged as a fiend.
Thisleaves the reader feeling perplexed, yet still thinking of Lucifer as the enemy. At first it may seem as Lucifer has risen to the Earth, but it is furtherclarified that he has elevated himself above the “rolling ball”. However, godimagined the world as planar, with heaven on a higher plane, and hell on a lowerplane, not spherical as defined here. From his place in the stars above earth,Lucifer looks down through the clouds, and observes the sinners.
He is talkingabout the denizens of the earth, for since Adam sinned in the beginning, all ofhis sons and daughters are also sinners. Perhaps he can relate to them, as heis also trying for entrance to heaven. For now , he sets his mind on the people who will become denizens of hishell eventually. Here Meredith shows how much hubris the devil really has, forthe reader can just see Lucifer savoring over the masses entering his viledomain. Then, Lucifer peers at the most extreme places in the world, describingthe sands of Africa. The Sahara desert with its barren, endless, undevelopedsand can seem like hell to anybody.
Satan identifies and likes it, cherishes it,for it is like his home. Then Meredith contrasts the sand with the barren,endless, undeveloped Arctic tundra. However, he describes Lucifer as peering atthe “black planet. ” Whether this phrase stands for the darkness of night, or thedarkness he has brought by rising is unclear. After inspecting the mostinhospitable areas, Lucifer peers at the developed world.
It reminds him of thesame “Awe”, or heaven, which he was banished from. Unlike the Arctic and theSahara, the technological countries with quality of life appeal to him, muchlike heaven. Lucifer knows, however, that his only place is in hell, and hisfutile attempts will most likely fail. Rising higher and higher, Lucifer looks up and gazes at heaven. Hisultimate goal, is so close, but then at the last moment, when he is about toproceed to his destination, he feels the force of god blocking his path, andsinks back to his world. Meredith describes this as the “unalterable law”, thateverything has its own place in this world, another traditional idea.
This lawalso proves this is not a “poem of initiation”, because Lucifer has tried tobreak this law, but has been stopped many times without learning anything. Thestructure of this poem is also strangely erratic. Most of the poem is written inrimed iambic pentameter, but whenever anything pertains to Lucifer directly, thelines are indented and there are twelve syllables per line. Perhaps this isbecause Meredith is trying to show Lucifer’s domination. Also the poem followsthe sonnet’s form of fourteen lines, but there are not quatrains.
Instead thereAre sections of 5, 5, 2, and a final couplet. By deviated from the standard,Meredith creates a brilliant work of art. In this exceptional work, Meredith shows the menace of the devil, andthen his helplessness against god. The devil has only one home, which