Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry: Explained, CASINO, by WYSTAN HUGH AUDEN

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

CASINO, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

"Casino" is a poem by Wystan Hugh Auden, first published in 1933. The poem is a reflection on the seductive power of gambling and the ways in which it can consume and destroy those who become addicted to it.

The poem is structured as a dialogue between two characters, one of whom is a gambler and the other of whom is a voice of reason. The gambler describes the thrill and excitement of the casino, describing the "lamps that flicker like moonlight on the sea" and the "fingers of cards that beckon and invite." The voice of reason, meanwhile, warns of the dangers of gambling and the ways in which it can lead to ruin and despair.

One of the key themes of the poem is the idea of addiction and the ways in which it can consume and destroy those who fall victim to it. The gambler in the poem is clearly addicted to the thrill of gambling, describing it as a "fascination, a last temptation." The poem suggests that addiction can be all-consuming, making it difficult for the individual to think rationally or to resist the allure of the addiction.

Another important theme of the poem is the idea of risk and the ways in which it can lead to both pleasure and pain. The gambler describes the "ecstasy" of taking risks and the "exultation" of winning, but the voice of reason warns of the pain and despair that inevitably follow when the gambler loses.

The poem is also notable for its use of metaphor and imagery. Auden describes the casino as a kind of "trap," with the gambler as the "mouse" who is lured in and eventually destroyed. The use of metaphor creates a sense of urgency and tension, drawing the reader into the drama of the poem.

Overall, "Casino" is a powerful and evocative poem that explores some of the most fundamental aspects of the human experience, including addiction, risk, and the lure of temptation. Through its use of vivid imagery and metaphor, the poem creates a sense of drama and urgency, inviting the reader to contemplate the ways in which we are all vulnerable to the seductive power of temptation.

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