Lot's Wife Poem Analysis

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Szymborska systematically undoes the damage inflicted upon Lot’s wife by undermining the smug certainty of moralization in response to the human story. In the first line of the poem we are introduced to the idea that curiosity was reason for her disobedience. Her story is then completely unraveled into a flurry of potential alternatives juxtaposing the simple and tragic moral tale “they” reduced it to in order to communicate that disobedience equates to destruction. In the line “A hamster on its hind paws tottered on the edge. It was then we both glanced back.” we see lot’s wife and the rodent mirror each other. They move in an identical fashion; small and helpless, they behave like compatriots. This can be interpreted in two manners: either the hamster is personified or the wife is attributed…show more content…
Szymborska starts off by giving the unnamed speaker a voice. The wife then further regains some humanity as the poem unwinds her infamous position in the story of Sodom by questioning whether her actions were moral. Finally Szymborska does the magic that she is famous for and discretely opens up the poem to question humanity as a whole. She unravels our definition of morality and questions the position of the traditional God that both punishes and saves. The reader is left confused about the God present who is undoubtedly contradictory with his actions. Lot’s Wife, who was traditionally cast as the immoral, infamous and anonymous, is instead seen as just a human; one filled with both faults and virtues. This raises questions on the morality of God himself. Who is to say that the inherent humanity in the speaker is deserving of punishment? Therefore, we see Szymborska fighting two existential questions: the one of morality and the one of divinity. Lot’s Wife is a classic example of Szymborska’s ability to speak of both the personal and
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