Ode To Aphrodite Analysis

903 Words4 Pages
Mia Pollini
Comparative Literature 30

Sappho’s Ode to Aphrodite: An Analysis

Ancient Greek poetess Sappho’s “Ode to Aphrodite” and both her and its existence are cannot be overstated; consider that during Sappho’s era, women weren’t allowed to be writers… and yet Plato still deemed Sappho the “10th muse”. Sappho’s writing is also the first time, in occidental culture, that we get to know about emotions felt by a woman – and in this case, for another woman. Sappho’s use of the ode structure, coupled with certain details, diction and auditory choices demonstrate reason this poem and Sappho herself have become revered classics admired for centuries is that both the content and the medium are so human (and how Aphrodite is also so human…) -
…show more content…
While this poem is a Pindaric ode (which were written performed with a chorus and dancers) in the form it’s not very religious in intent considering Sappho is praying (arguably begging) Aphrodite to make someone who doesn’t return her affections love her. Ode to Aphrodite has twenty-eight lines, arranged in seven Sapphic stanzas which lack in pauses but is full of enjambment (for example, the first stanza beginning with “Death” and not having a period until the first line of the third stanza after car). Using enjambment connotes the feeling that emotions being expressed, in this case, Sappho’s heartbreak and desire, cannot be…show more content…
The ode begins with an anonymous speaker, but towards the end of the poem is identified as Sappho by Aphrodite. Groundbreaking with its intimacy and openness, Sappho writes the ode to ask Aphrodite for her help in making an unrequited love requited– and not for the first time, shown through the use of the parenthetical “now again” Are in the fourth and fifth stanzas. Moreover, all of Sappho’s “if’s highlight how hopeful she is, and how willing Aphrodite is to assuage any of the unfavorable situations (the unnamed woman refusing gifts, for instance) by setting them up with “if”’s and then shooting them down. Towards the end, after Aphrodite’s interlude, Sappho is more assertive with statements like “come to me now” and “You be my ally” (28). In fact, Sappho and Aphrodite seem somewhat spiteful, with a little bit of a manipulative undertone showing through phrases like “soon she will love even unwilling”. But the venom is balanced out when Sappho shows the extent of her need, with images of urgency and intensity: quick sparrows, wings whipping, black hearth, to name a few. Ultimately, focusing on the use of the parenthetical now against; Sappho is in a somewhat humorous way, acknowledging that eros is fickle, that these feelings are strong - but
Open Document