The Castle

by Edwin Muir

Summary:  "The Castle" tells the story of an unspecified battle.  The speaker is one of several men lodged in a seemingly impenetrable castle.  They have plenty of arms and food; their allies are nearby; the castle gates are strong; and the walls are high, thick, and smooth.  Yet these men are defeated when the enemy bribes one of their own, the warder, who lets the  enemy soldiers through a little gate.

 

Finding significant details: Do you know any stories in which someone betrays a friend or family or country for money.  Share some of your stories.  The poem you are about to read is similar to those stories.  As you read take note of the reasons the people in the castle feel secure.  Compare your findings and discuss your reactions to the last two lines.  Is the only enemy gold?  Are these lines to be taken literally?