Category Archives: Edvard Munch

I never hear that one is dead

The Scream, undated, Edvard Munch
Background Image: The Scream, undated, Edvard Munch

Interesting juxtaposition between hearing and thinking, especially in relation to the image of the “yawning” “abyss” and how that echoing fading away is like one’s life fading away. When we hear an echo we often try to see how long we can hold onto its sound before it’s finally gone, and so life is sort of like a fading echo we are terrified to lose.

It’s interesting that she talks about hearing of someone who has died because often she writes about seeing someone dead in her poetry, but here it’s second-hand, perhaps gotten from a letter or obituary or in conversation. Either way she’s not dealing directly with the dead, she’s already separated from them through physical space, and now she’s also separated from them across the “abyss” between then living and the dead. In both cases there is a distance between life and death, but what that distance is is something that would drive a person to “Madness” in attempting to comprehend. This distance is something we can’t access with our senses (such as hearing), but we are still aware of its existence because we intuit that “Consciousness” is no longer present.

But then what is “Consciousness”? Here she describes it as a “stranger” and that the activity of “Consciousness”, such as holding “Beliefs”, are “Bandaged” (tied-up or blindfolded) and seems to be a jumbled stitched together horror that no “man” would dare “face”, even though it exists within all of us. There doesn’t seem to be any unity in this “Consciousness” she is describing, but rather it is something perhaps random which could mean she is saying life itself is just a random occurrence without any real meaning.

And thus her use of “hear” and “Tone” might be way of describing thought which is the sound and echo of our “Consciousness” echoing out of some unknowable and infinite “Abyss” inside each of us.