If someone could point out a specific meaning in Duino Elegies what would it tell us? If someone say without a doubt what Duino Elegies is about, what would they say? They might say life, they might say death, or they might say neither. In either case they would probably be right, for Duino Elegies touches upon not only life and death but many others things having to do with human existence such as love, change, loss, and pain. It searches not only for the meaning of life, that would be trivial in comparison, but it searches also for the meaning of death, love, nature, and in a sense creation in itself.
A book of poetry spanning the length of ten years Duino Elegies is considered by many to be a masterpiece. Rilke began Duino Elegies at Duino castle in 1912. It was here that he heard those unforgettable opening line to his first elegy,
among the angelic orders?(Duino Elegies)
and it was in Muzot, Switzerland that he finally finished the tenth elegy some ten years later in 1922. Rilke spent a good deal of his life writing this poetry and it is reflected in the poetry itself, as he examines both his own life and the death that awaits all.
Only halfway through the first elegy and Rilke hits upon death, he has cried out to the angels and found them lacking and unable to help, for they themselves do not always seem to know whether they are walking among the land of the living or the dead.
that kind of vitality twice.(Duino Elegies)
But he respects death and sometimes he is defensive of the dead to make it seem as if he were almost jealous of their plight.