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Go Back   Spiritual Forums > Most Anything > Music

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Old 18-10-2019, 06:26 PM
Dustin Dustin is online now
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interpretation all along the watchtower bob dylan

Here's my take. …. The song I think is about a joker and a thief talking but also is a larger metaphor about birth and death.

“There must be some way out of here” is a statement about the current predicament of being a part of a robbery and also is a greater statement relating to days before and to life in general. “Said the joker to the thief” both a joker and a thief are outsiders in a society. A joker takes in the society and pokes fun at it and a thief steps apart from society to form their own rules. “there's too much confusion, I can't get no relief” just going into what he's going to be talking about but also is a statement about the time, the sixties. “Business men – they drink my wine” business men are greedy and live the life they live. “plowmen dig my earth” poor people work away and have their own perspectives. “None of them along the line” “Know what it is worth” No body from the poorest person to the richest person has any idea of the true worth of things, of life, of ideals.

“No reason to get excited” “The thief – he kindly spoke” The thief is responding by kindly saying that he doesn't need to worry, the situation of the robbery it well be OK and so well life in general. “There are many here among us” the other people of this world and of the robbery “who feel that life is but a joke” the idea that life is but a joke is a point of philosophy by people like Allen Watts, popular in the sixties. By making this statement the thief is responding to the jokers statement about all the confusion and of the state of things. “But you and I we've been through that” “And this is not our fate” The thief is making a statement of their shared level of realization. “So let us not talk falsely now” when you know a truth and recognize that another is not yet there often it is the case that it is more helpful to make small nudges as apposed to telling the full truth because often what happens if instead the full truth is shared then it in its totality well be rejected because the other person simply isn't ready for it; for this reason, quite often when someone is not at the same level of realization it can become helpful to talk in half truths. For the joker and the thief what is being said is that they are on the same level and the thief is suggesting that they go talk directly about the state of things. “The hour's getting late” they left the robbery, nothing happened, and they went to talk late into the night about deep thoughts that not all would understand.

“All along the watchtower” I'm a bit uncertain about the last eight lines of the song but it may be a statement about it all. The watchtower could be heaven looking down. “Princess kept their view” princess could be like permanent (meaning they no longer reincarnate to earth) astral beings such as angels, and kept their view could refer to them not getting involved in the drama outside of heaven. “While all the women came and went” “Bare-foot servants too” similar to the beginning of the song it could be a contrast between two classes but each, as in the beginning of the song, still only possess an equivalent amount of knowledge/ignorance and so they came and went, where reincarnated back to earth again and again until one day they well reach higher levels of realization to break free of the cycle of Earthly birth and death. “Outside in the cold distance” outside of the watchtower/perhaps heaven, meaning earth; in the cold distance is a statement about life on earth. “A wild cat did growl” a statement about the wild nature of the world, rules of the jungle. “Two riders were approaching” painting a scene which involves the listener, tieing in the human element. “And the wind began to howl, hey” and the drama of Earthly life continues.

Dillon says the women came and went instead of the men and women came and went simply because he doesn't have to because the first and final reference relate to one another in that they talk about the states of different classes of worldly people, and the first reference is all mescaline and the final reference is all feminine so he is really talking about men and women in both references.
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Old 22-10-2019, 11:43 AM
Joe Mc Joe Mc is offline
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Thanks for your interpretation, I've it read quickly but ill read it again. I think i'll just have an off the cuff go at impressions the song, if any, has left upon me.

The music of the song itself although simple enough is wonderful. There is a driving kind of plea in the minor key tone of the song and the fast changes relate that urgency. The characters of the thief and the joker or harlequin are metaphors for the transcendental life, the abundant, energetic diffident that Dylan both expressed and sought all his life. Both characters are trapped in the mundane and the mundane itself is dressed in the garb of the nightmarish life which barely unfolds before them. Both it's menace and inertia are captured in such images as 'Cat begins to growl', 'Bare foot servants' 'two riders' alluding at least in some way to the apocalypse.

Unconvention is also a theme running through the song. The thief and the joker are both unconventional types who have taken on the mantle of those professions, character types or archetypal character types. Although there is a dialogue between both characters which reveals their plight, I think the presence of an omniscient narrator is also evident, a God, a director or an author.

Hey that is only a brief stab at the song. Thanks for the inspiration. I would like to go through it in detail and you have done yourself perhaps looking for biblical references as well. Also I might try and sing it again too. :) Thanks for your very interesting post.
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