Galathea John Lyly Analysis

932 Words4 Pages
Literature has always been enraptured with love and its effects on people. To explore the different aspects and manifestations of love, John Lyly uses his play Galathea to paint his own picture and definition of love that is complex and ever-changing. He explores two main relationships in the play: Galathea and Phillida, and the goddess’ Diana’s nymphs and Cupid. Through these relationships, Lyly shows the types of effects love can have as people discover love with their eyes and heart. Galathea’s dynamic relationships emphasize love’s divinity and power, and his use of eye imagery shows that love is a spiritual experience that can change people for the better or for the worse. As Lyly sets the stage for Galathea, he brings the audience to a world that often personified and deified love:…show more content…
Sixteenth-century society did not think of or accept female same-sex relationships, and the gods’ plans for Galathea and Phillida reflect the sentiments of the time. Neptune says their love is “strange and foolish, for one virgin to dote on another, and to imagine a constant faith where there can be no cause of affection” (5.3.1084-5). Venus, on the other hand, approves of the relationship, but only if either Galathea or Phillida transforms into a man. While Galathea and Phillida both approve of the decision, the heteronormative view of love still shines as the best version; in modern contexts, this ending questions the validity of Lyly’s definition of love. If Galathea and Phillida’s love is already pure and true, they should not have to change. Lyly could have challenged society’s heteronormative tendencies, and his decision to stick mainly to heterosexual relationships seems to retreat from the play’s idea that true love comes in many
Open Document