Asked • 05/05/19

What did "Moloch" represent in Allen Ginsberg´s poem "Howl"?

In Allen Ginsberg´s poem "Howl", what did "Moloch" represent? > What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination? >Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars! Children screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks! >Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the loveless! Mental Moloch! Moloch the heavy judger of men! >Moloch the incomprehensible prison! Moloch the crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of sorrows! Moloch whose buildings are judgment! Moloch the vast stone of war! Moloch the stunned governments! >Moloch whose mind is pure machinery! Moloch whose blood is running money! Moloch whose fingers are ten armies! Moloch whose breast is a cannibal dynamo! Moloch whose ear is a smoking tomb! Moloch was a particularly nasty god that demanded child sacrifices. What does it mean here?

Ashley J.

I learned about this poem in a literature class, and I love it. The section about Moloch is my favorite. As Jim mentions, Moloch is an ancient idol often represented as a minotaur (a man's body with a bull's head), they would construct of metal and brew ceremonial fire which they would sacrifice children in, to ask God for rain or improved crops, etc. The symbol of Moloch in the poem refers to the sacrifice of our inner child to feed the capitalist monster: we sacrifice our inner artist, to be a secretary so I can pay the bills. We sacrifice doing something we love so we can do something that generates an income, because we need an income to survive. Moloch is the metal monster, whose fingers are armies and whose blood is running money. That is what we concluded.


1 Expert Answer


Jim M. answered • 05/06/19

5 (14)

Life-Long Literature Reader and English Major!

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