Shauna Winterol Enc1102 c100 Paper 4 3/11/02 Final Draft: "Miniver Cheevy" Edward Arlington Robison Everyone else is wrong, it's not my fault; all to often heard excuses. Who hasn't fantasized about living in another time and place and being the glorious soldier or damsel in distress? In "Miniver Cheevy" by Edward Arlington Robinson the historical references abound and there is a nostalgic tone longing for the "medieval grace" and "days of old", accomplishing nothing through his idle thoughts, Miniver does nothing but sit and think and dream and drink.
The historical references set the tone for nostalgia in the poem. The title of this poem is just simply a man's name, yet it contains a clue to the poems meaning. "Miniver" is the white fur trim, sometimes, ermine, seen on the costumes of nobility in most if not all of the medieval and renaissance portraits. The subjects of such portraits included rich and wicked members if the Medici family in Italy.
Other references in the poem evoke heroic eras of the past. Camelot was the place where the mythical and legendary King Arthur presided over the Knights of the Round Table; Thebes was a city famous in the history of ancient Greek and it's people; and "Priam's neighbors" were those who lived near Troy, ruled by King Priam During the Trojan War.
To be "on the town" means to be supported by the town, a charity case. Miniver, in other words, is the town ne'er-do-well, the town loafer. The poem is built on the ironic contrast between the unheroic Miniver and his dreams of adventure, romance, and art associated with heroic figures of the Trojan War in ancient Greece, King Arthur's knights in the Middle Ages, and the dazzling brilliance and corruption of the Medici in the Renaissance. What...