Reviewing A Sappho 31 Poem English Literature Essay Free Essay

Sappho ‘s verse form 31 has proven to be one of the most complex verse forms to construe, based on the fact that there is no steadfast consensus nowadays in the voluminous literature on it. In the verse form, Sappho watches a adult male ‘s reaction to her beloved and admires his self-denial which is so different from her ain. The 2nd stanza ‘ description of her symptoms of infatuation which reveal passionate love are good understood by bookmans. However, what makes the general reading so hard is the unknown individuality of ‘that adult male ‘ , and the function he plays in the verse form. A major beginning of dissension among bookmans is focused on Sappho ‘s alleged green-eyed monster of ‘that adult male ‘ . E.g. Sappho ‘s emotions in the 2nd stanza are stirred by green-eyed monster at the sight of her ( miss ) friend closely discoursing with a adult male. Possibly the strongest advocator of this theory is Sir Denys L. Page who in his 1955 commentary observes the verse form as an ‘outburst of emotions ‘ connected to human nature ‘s response ( green-eyed monster ) to the state of affairs described. On the other manus, William D Furley analyzes in his 2000 commentary the described emotions to Sappho ‘s love for the miss as being portion of ‘normal ‘ fortunes. E.g. the adult male who is basking her fondness is merely highly blessed ( ‘like the Gods ‘ ) , therefore, no jealousy subject is incorporated.

This essay will do a comparing between these two different readings sing the description of Sappho ‘s love being focused on ‘jealous love ‘ , or ‘normal love ‘ and to what extent the function of ‘that adult male ‘ differs in the readings.

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First of wholly, Page ‘s reading is instantly focused on the interpretive obstruction of understanding the relation of the adult male to the miss and Sappho. Page recognizes that the adult male is the rule topic of the first stanza, and he interprets this by stating “ if Sappho wishes to depict nil more than the symptoms of her passion for the miss, what motivation could she hold for linking that description therefore closely to an juncture when the miss is engaged in gay conversation with a adult male ( Page p. 28 ) ” . Consequently, Page ‘s logical thinking continues that the juncture must hold had some significance which, harmonizing to him, makes it impossible to except green-eyed monster from Sappho ‘s response ( Page p. 28 ) . In other words, Sappho sounds as if she loves the miss, and the verse form gives the feeling that the miss is non peculiarly interested in Sappho at that clip, the adult male nevertheless, rejoices in the miss ‘s laughter and converse. With this debate, Page concludes that Sappho has to be covetous of the adult male, because harmonizing to human nature, people have to react like this in this sort of described state of affairs ( Page p. 28 ) . Overall, non admiting this state of affairs would “ strip the debut of the adult male and his relation to the miss, of all significance ( Page p. 28 ) ” . In my sentiment, Page seems to pull a speedy decision on information that is non clearly present in the verse form ‘s text. Sappho ne’er expresses jealousy straight, she simply sets the scene. This besides makes Page ‘s statement of ‘human nature ‘s reaction ‘ non really solid with it merely being at that place to do his reading fit the text. This same sort of concluding applies for his following statement in which he deals with Sappho ‘s emotions ( ( But I- My bosom explodes line 5, My voice is gone, line 6 etc ) and how they are ‘symptoms of the passion of love ‘ which Page straight relates to jealousy. He elaborates on this by comparing Homeric Epic emotions ( fright, choler, sorrow, hurting ) with Sappho ‘s more personal 1s, explicating this by saying that Homeric emotions are frequently “ assimilated in Epic idiom and manner, while Sappho ‘s common resists those influences, therefore her linguistic communication is her ain ( Page p. 29 ) ” . Therefore, this usage of more personal linguistic communication strengthens Sappho ‘s description of her emotions, associating back to the ‘passion of love ‘ Sappho has for the miss, and ensuing in green-eyed monster of ‘that adult male ‘ .

Page ‘s logical thinking can be considered as being excessively focused on the ‘jealousy hypothesis ‘ , accordingly it seems as if he can non see the bigger image of the verse form any longer. In other words, Page has to take more distance from his ain prepossessions in order to analyse the verse form in a more nonsubjective manner.

To sum up Page ‘s statements, Sappho ‘s usage of personal linguistic communication, her usage of the adult male as a rule topic in the first stanza and the function of human nature in the described state of affairs are the three statements that Page put frontward in his ‘jealousy hypothesis ‘ . However, one has to take into history that his interlingual rendition of the verse form supports his reading. For illustration, Page leaves out the ‘godlike ‘ ability of ‘that adult male ‘ , because he has translated it to ‘fortunate ‘ ability, obviously, he besides pays less attending to the cryptic individuality of ‘that adult male ‘ . In contrast, William D Furley uses a interlingual rendition which acknowledges the ‘godlike ‘ ability in order to underscore Sappho ‘s quandary being excluded from green-eyed monster.

Merely as Page ‘s, Furley ‘s reading instantly pays attending to the presence of the cryptic adult male. Harmonizing to Furley, the adult male ‘s ability to keep his self-denial is said to be portion of his ‘godlike ‘ position which is related to the definition of ‘godlike ‘ in heroic poem: the label of being a brave warrior who could contend like an Appolo or Ares ( Furley p.13 ) . He farther labels this as being a “ rhetorical device functioning to rise the hearers consciousness of the miss ‘s beauty and do him sympathise with Sappho ‘s succumbing to it ( Furley, p. 13 ) ” . In other words, utilizing the heroic poem look, ‘only a God would non fall impotently in love with the miss ( Furley p. 13 ) ‘ . Furley so makes the strong statement that the debut of the adult male is simply a tool ( ‘priamel or foil ‘ ) to stress on Sappho ‘s ain status ( Furley p. 14 ) . Therefore, the adult male is so existent in the described state of affairs, but takes on a strictly formal function. He concludes that there are no agonising love-triangles nor is jealousy present by saying that Sappho ‘s emotions become much more sincere by the debut of this adult male or ‘mock hero ‘ who can defy the miss ‘s beauty ( Furley p. 14 ) . In other words, had Sappho merely mentioned her physical symptoms of passion so the impact of her state of affairs would hold been less ‘sad ‘ for the audience ( Furley p. 14 ) . Overall, the presence of “ that adult male helps Sappho ‘s dramatisation of the consequence of a loved miss ‘s beauty to function both Sappho ‘s sensitiveness and strength of her passion ( Furley p. 15 ) ” . To sum up Furley ‘s debate, he rejects the jealousy hypothesis by stressing on the compositional component of ‘that adult male ‘ and how his presence strengthens Sappho ‘s emotions under ‘normal love ‘ conditions. Taking this more theoretical stance to the reading seems more convincing, as it takes a measure back from one ‘s emotional prepossessions of Sappho ‘s state of affairs. This makes his debate seem less subjective, yet it besides allows for new assessment.

Consequently, I tend to prefer Furley ‘s debate, because he tries to explicate the function of ‘that adult male ‘ on a more elaborate compositional degree for it being a rhetorical device. Page acknowledges that the adult male merely appears in the first stanza, but at the same clip he is loath to concentrate his debate on something else besides green-eyed monster, therefore restricting his point of view. In add-on, establishing the reading of the verse form on ‘human nature ‘ seems a spot superficial, nevertheless, it might associate back to the 1950 ‘s societal codifications or prepossessions of relationships.

Furthermore, Page did non to the full take into history that Sappho ‘s emotions are ne’er straight expressed toward ‘that adult male ‘ , but simply toward herself which makes Furley ‘s debate more plausible. Although, his reading might non state the audience everything about the verse form, in my sentiment it reveals nicely what the verse form is non approximately. Jealousy of a challenger is ne’er specifically stated in the verse form which makes it besides hard to understand how Page subsequently on in his article could rebut Wilamowitz ‘s reading of a nuptials scene, because non one individual word suggests a matrimony, while both hypotheses ( matrimony and green-eyed monster ) encounter the same trouble: there is no clear grounds of it in the verse form. As a consequence, Furley ‘s ‘normal love ‘ state of affairs besides appears to be more plausible.

Unfortunately, both Page ‘s and Furley ‘s readings pay no existent attending to the generalization of the verse form. Whereas, Sappho specifically mentions the name of Anactoria in fragment 16, line 12 there are no proper names or mentions of clip and topographic point indicated in this verse form. Therefore, it could hold been interesting to meet a comparing between the content of this verse form and Sappho ‘s other verse forms.

To reason, both Furley and Page made a great part to the secondary literature on Sappho 31, but Page ‘s reading seems to be excessively outdated to be relevant anymore. Furley ‘s reading appears to be a solid one with its theoretical model. As a consequence, I have taken Furley ‘s reading into history in the creative activity of my ain reading of the verse form: reading the verse form as a statement of a lover who wants to stress the beauty of her beloved.

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