Margaret Atwood's Siren Song

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Margaret Atwood’s “Siren Song” Interpretation In the Greek mythology and in Homer’s Odyssey, the Sirens are featured as a trio of monsters who are known to drown sailors with their song. The sailors, lured by the Siren’s beautiful singing, jump off their ship and eventually drown, drift to shore, and then get consumed by the monsters. Margaret Atwood’s “Siren Song” talks from the perspective of one of the sirens - which one, we do not know - and develops the character and personality of the Siren, giving a commentary about masculinity and heroism as well. The Sirens have always been seen as monsters in literature and usually the Sirens are featured as a group, not individually. Margaret Atwood uses the freedom as a writer to make this poem…show more content…
In the first three stanzas, it talks about the song that the Sirens presumably sing to the sailors. “This is the one song everyone would like to learn: the song that is irresistible: the song that forces men to leap overboard in squadrons even though they see the beached skulls ” The Sirens only have one song, but it is so enchanting that entire ships of men, swim to their inevitable death. “Irresistible” suggests that the song contains what the sailors want, a wanting so strong that they overcome their fear of death. “The song nobody knows because anyone who had heard it is dead.” The literal translation of this line simply means that nobody has ever lived to tell the tale about the Sirens, emphasizing the danger of their song. Additionally, the last three stanzas reveal information about the Siren song. The Siren says, “I will tell the secret to you, only to you...The song is a cry for help: Help me! Only you, only you can, you are unique.” The song is a classic cry for help from a damsel in distress - a cry for a hero, that only he (in ancient Greek context) can save the Siren. The song appeals to the hero personality in the individual song, repeating that “only you” can help the Sirens. The classic Greek hero is filled with hubris and excessive pride, and by flattering them can the Siren’s song lure them to their death. “Siren Song” by Margaret Atwood is an intriguing poem about a Siren and the song that the Siren’s sing. At first, the poem looks to be a first person account of what is like to be a Siren and what the song is about. However, a closer look reveals a commentary of the Greek hero and how heroism can lead to their eventual
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