The Earthen Goblet Sample Answer 1 Part 2


The image of being burned in the unbearable heat of the fire where the goblet is hardened is visceral and effectively captures the violent nature of the Potter. The potter resembles society as well, which demands that people behave in a certain way; it demands that we live up and perpetuate the stereotypes. When an individual expresses himself or herself in a more diverse manner than the majority or the conventional way, the backlash, the censure, the criticism they receive acts like the burning hand of the potter. Forcefully and without regard for the individual, it tries to make the goblet conform. The image of the twirling Potter’s wheel emphasizes the chaotic and destructive power of society, which spins an individual within its control, leaving them helpless and powerless to control their own fate. The society seeks to make a product out of each individual. It is as if there is a particular mould that is set, and even though it breaks the person, the Great Potter will spin the clay, burn the clay and shape it with its burning hands.

The final stanza uses contrast and another metaphor. The goblet reminisces a time that was better – a time set against the painful and empty existence that ‘is the death’ for him. A time when ‘a flower flaming through’ his breast. The flower symbolizes happiness and hope. By using the phrase ‘fragrant friendship of a little flower,’ the poet evoked olfactory imagery, assisting the reader to imagine the pleasant smell of the flower. This symbol of hope and new life has been violently removed from the goblet – this points to the relationships which strengthened the speaker. The relationships which gave meaning, purpose, hope and stability to this individual’s life. With the injustice the potter ahs done to it, all he can feel is ‘a vast feeling of sorrow’. It is as if the goblet has gone into a sever form of depression.

Therefore, what is evident is that the potter can stand for a number of things such as education, society in general or even parents who force their will upon the child without letting them follow their dreams. These external forces that wield authority over the individual forcefully disrupts the natural growth of him/her and in the process, not only does it change the person in a physical and circumstantial manner, but it also affects them psychologically; this is similar to how a potter shapes the clay not only from the exterior, but also from the interior.  

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