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"The Panther" by Rainer Maria Rilke

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Vildana Kanlic

on 30 October 2013

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Transcript of "The Panther" by Rainer Maria Rilke

"The Panther" by Rainer Maria Rilke
Works Cited
"Rainer Maria Rilke." Poets.org. Academy of American Poets, n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2013.

Jean-Louis, Ferrier. "Berlin: The Unfinished Capital." Art of the 20th Century ; The History of Art Year by Year from 1900 to 1999. Italy: Editions Du Chene., 1999. 930-31. Print.

"Rainer Maria Rilke - Letters to a Young Poet." YouTube. YouTube, 08 Oct. 2013. Web. 27 Oct. 2013.

"The Panther : Rainer Maria Rilke - Summary and Critical Analysis." The Panther : Rainer Maria Rilke - Summary and Critical Analysis. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.

"Ampersand." : 'The Panther' by Rainer Maria Rilke (1905). N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.
By: Vildana Kanlic, Henry Patterson, Quentin Laurent, and Miles Cargas
Rainer Maria Rilke
Born on December 4th 1875 in Prague, Czech Republic
Had an unhappy childhood, he was placed in military school by his parents with the desire for him to become an officer
Enrolled in Charles University in Prague in 1895 where he published his first volume of poetry
A trip to Russia proved the first milestone in his life, and which marked the beginning of his early serious works
After WWI he moved to Switzerland where he spent his last years of his life writing famous pieces such as "The Duino Elegies" and the "Sonnets to Orpheus"
Died of leukemia on December 26, 1926
Since his death his reputation has grown steadily and his work is intensely admired by many leading European artists
Overview Of His Life
"The Panther"
by Rainer Maria Rilke
His vision, from the constantly passing bars,
has grown so weary that it cannot hold
anything else. It seems to him there are
a thousand bars; and behind the bars, no world.

As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
the movement of his powerful soft strides
is like a ritual dance around a center
in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.

Only at times, the curtain of the pupils
lifts, quietly--. An image enters in,
rushes down through the tensed, arrested muscles,
plunges into the heart and is gone.
In "The Panther" by Rainer Maria Wilke, the theme is that we're all trapped by society. Rilke wrote the poem after going to the zoo and observing the animals, the panther reminded him much of a prisoner, they both lost all their freedom. The poem is about a panther trapped in a cage that is tired and weak. He tries desperately to escape, so he paces back and forth, refusing to be tamed. Rilke uses symbolism and alliteration to get his theme across. When talking about the iron bars, it symbolizes his lack of freedom. He shows how small and contained he is through alliteration when he says "Cramped Circles/Powerful Soft Strides". We see a shift when the panther decides to open his eyes in the 3rd stanza, picturing this life he wishes for, then the feeling vanishes quickly. The authors tone shows desperation. The panthers longing to break through the bars and return to its natural environment
"Info box and samples of the Berlin Wall on Potsdammer Platz"
The Berlin Wall was built in August 12-13, 1961, forbidding East Berliners to pass into West Berlin. All trespassers were to be shot down. It came down in 1989.
In "The Panther", by Rainer Maria Wilke, Rainer is showing the panther feeling isolated/alienated. This connects to the photograph because both pieces show different kinds of imprisonment. The piece of art shows the wall (much like a cage) dividing the Berliners. They lost much freedom and East Berliners were trapped inside their own borders by society, just like the panther. Many never saw their family in West Berlin again. "It seems to him there are a thousand bars; and behind the bars, no world." (Rilke 3-4). The info box made the people of Berlin feel the way the panther did, hopeless. RIlke wrote about what he views of the natural world. It is chaotic/unordered.
Time Period
The poem was written in 1905. This time period was very family-oriented. Rilke was an only child of an unhappy marriage. His parents constantly tried to plan out his future, it wasn't until he was a grown adult that he pursued his dreams of becoming a writer. Rilke, often feeling imprisoned, had the freedom to do whatever he desired. He took a job as a secretary for a man named Rodin, who sent him to observe animals at the zoo, the next day "The Panther" was written.
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