Catullus Relationship Analysis

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Option 2: Catullus and Lesbia’s Relationship
Lesbia is the subject of some of Catullus’s most passionate and sincere poems. The relationship between Catullus and Lesbia is distinctly tumultuous. His poems about Lesbia and their relationship display a wide range of emotions which vary from a relationship of tenderness and love, to one of uncertainty, to one of sorrow and disappointment. They rapidly fall in and out of love with another. They have a mercurial kind of love. Catullus obviously loved Lesbia deeply, but he also feels intense dislike, disappointment and contempt towards her. Through it all, it seems as though Catullus longs for Lesbia, but she does not return the same level of affection. Catullus often manipulates the
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Catullus reminisces about the happy beginnings of their relationship when Lesbia said that Catullus was the only one who understood her and that she would choose him over Jupiter. Jupiter is the Roman world’s equivalent to the god Zeus. This is distinctive because it means that Lesbia loved him so much that she would choose him over a God. However, now Catullus knows what type of person she actually is. He is aware of the acts she commits behind closed doors and in dark alleys. We begin to see the Lesbia does not return the same amount of affection that Catullus has for her. He starts to open his eyes and begins to love her more forcibly, but to her cherish less, because he knows that Lesbia isn’t his alone. She has become cheap and fickle in his eyes. Once again Lesbia is portrayed in a villainous manner where we feel contempt for her and pity for…show more content…
Their feelings for one another change rapidly from passionate love to extreme loathing. Catullus often portrays himself as the faithful, love-sick victim and Lesbia as the unfaithful, villainous woman of ill repute. Catullus uses the phrase ‘odi et amo’ which means ‘I hate and I love’ in poem 85 which perfectly describes his relationship with Lesbia. With these words Catullus conveys the inner turmoil and distress that love inflicts upon him. Catullus hoped that love would make him feel happy and whole but through his tumultuous relationship with Lesbia, he discovers that being in love has only made him insecure and obsessive as well as cause him great pain and suffering. (Pan,
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