Glob’s book The Bog People enabled Heaney to look at the violence in Northern Ireland from a different perspective. By giving a comparison between these ancient sacrificial murders and the killings and violence in Northern Ireland, Heaney could bring the issues of the day to light. Through this method he could avoid making political statements or lecturing to his readers about how he saw the situation. Heaney himself could stand aside from these volatile issues and give a broader, less tainted view of the events that were unfolding. This would enable his poetry to open people’s minds to these events, rather than force the issue onto the public. Heaney had been put under immense pressure to speak out for the Republican cause. Therefore writing these poems, The Tollund Man, The Grauballe Man and Punishment brought with it a great sense of relief and a cathartic effect. In conveying the story of the Irish conflict in such an articulate and compelling manner, Heaney was far more likely to elicit sympathy for the plight of the Irish. Just as the images of Tollund Man, Grauballe Man and Windeby Girl were able to evoke feelings of compassion from Heaney, so would his poems evoke these feelings in his readers. Heaney’s poems give a dignity to these ancient people who were sacrificed for the benefit of their society, and may help the many victims of the Irish conflict be afforded a similar stature.
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A critic always has advantages and disadvantages, strengths and limitations. Where the critic lives or used to live, how the critic lives or used to live, the specialist interests of the critic and the critic's wider interests, what meetings, lectures or exhibitions the critic happens to have attended, and many other factors, may make it harder or easier to do justice to the work, to avoid gross distortion and to arrive at justifiable appreciation, enthusiasm, passion, or justifiable lack of appreciation, dislike, loathing for the work criticized. Seeming advantages may sometimes amount to disadvantages. Later, I discuss some disadvantages of learning and knowledge.