T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land Wiki


Dayadhvam: I have heard the key

Turn in the door once and turn once only

We think of the key, each in his prison

Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison

Only at nightfall, aetherial rumours

Revive for a moment a broken Coriolanus" 

People knelt at Coriolanus's feet

Secondly, the Devils interpreted “DA” as “Dayadhavam”, which means “sympathize”. “I have heard the key” is the allusion of Dante’s Inferno, Canto XXXIII. The story behind this allusion is that Ugolina is the head of a faction of Guelphs in Pisa who wanted to dominate over Nino of Gallura. He built up a relationship with the Archbishop to defeat Nino but then the Archbishop betrayed him and put him into prison until he died because of starvation. In addition, to express sympathy you must unlock the prison of personal identity. The key in this part will help you open the door of that prison and to be sympathized as God. However, Devils said if your eyes are blind, then you might open the wrong room. If you cannot release the selfishness of men then it is impossible to be sympathized for other people. Eliot referred Coriolanus as an allusion figure of pride when he helped Rome to win many important wars. However, he later was betrayed by his own system. In conclusion, everybody has his own pride that is trapped in his own prison. If you can unlock that prison, you will stop consider yourself upon others. You can start to think for others more. Just like Coriolanus, his prison was unlocked after Rome had banished him.