Caravaggio Narcissus Poem Analysis

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It is “foolish men” who fail to see that acute insightfulness is a vehicle for precise thinking. Nevertheless, the speaker shuns drawing conclusions about whether the creation of art contributes to, or ease madness, by attributing her speculations to theories others have proposed. In the final lines of the poem, however, she endorses the decision to explore dark corners of the mind and expand the limitations of the self by drawing attention to the affective dimension of the work, the beneficent effect of : “ Such probing gazes”: “I only know that your wild, surging art/Took you to agony, but makes us come/ Strangely to gentleness, a sense of peace”(196) By contrasting poems about the humiliating nature of human suffering with poems about the…show more content…
She assumes that through the depiction of Narcissus, Caravaggio must have acquired self-knowledge: “You made/ From gleaming paint that tempting thing- -/Man staring at his suffering” (208) At this point in the poem, there is a resolution of a complex movement of feeling. The metrically complete rhyming lines which end this stanza create a satisfying sense of finality, which is suddenly altered with the opening lines of the final stanza: “And at this joy”(208) The adroit rhetorical move is effective because it amends the impression created in the first two stanzas in order to alert us to the simultaneous presence of suffering and joy in the creation of the work of…show more content…
It draws upon the emblematic quality of particular artifacts to elaborate upon the connection between art and experience. Her friend’s house is full of objects that she prizes, but “Without the human heart/ They’d have no value, would not say so much,”(207)The poem consists of three rhyming sestets which recreate the act of insight about the expressive and cognitive meaning of the harmonious order her friend has shaped. The stanzas provide an essence of the decorum the poem praises and of the ideals it desires. In the concluding stanza, the speaker again avoids the idea of aesthetic order as an escape from reality and affirms instead the value of art in teaching “a way to live.” The treasured objects are not: “objects d’ art,” “Nor are they can escape from anyone,” they are a ways whereby one can fashion “somewhere that can give/ . . . a sense of order and of being loved” (208) Instead of being overpowered by “the scars and prints of wounds,” her friend has the excellent power to include sadness and pain into a lucid and harmonious life. Vivien Grey meets Jennings’s idea of the social function of the artist. She constructs a symbolic order which endorses the truths she has learned, and she invites others to share in her
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