Professor Dale Carrico
November 26, 2016
GSI: Jerilyn Sambrooke
Figurative reading of Sappho 14
Sappho’s poetry is a really good object for figurative reading because she uses figurative language in most of her works. If we think of the background of her living year, the context of the society around her was conservative, it all make sense that she as a homoerotic gets heavy social, ethical pressure. Naturally, she needs to and tends to express her feelings in a vague way with metaphors, hyperbole, and anaphora to strengthen and deliver the feeling.
She uses metaphors in many fragments. In Sweet Apple(fragment no. 10). As she writes, “You’re just like the sweet apple, reddening at the highest branch, missed by the apple pickers...” she uses Apple metaphors of her lover. Her lover is the Apple at the highest branch, no others can understand the wellness of her, she deeply loves her and knows how good she is. Her lover is like such a pearl on the giant beach. People come and go, no one notices it and picks it up. Apple the red, bloody red that no other fruit could be. Like the Apple in the Garden of Eden, it stands for young, loving and enthusiasm. In Atthis(fragment no. 14), via this Greek mysterious young female, she again, expressing her desire for this relationship. Via using the metaphor of Atthis, Sappho again shows the factor of beautiful, young, and love existing in her adorable relationship with her lover. She even double uses metaphors as she writes “She is the rosy-fingered moon after the sun has set!” Atthis is like the moon, among the stars, shining smoothly, politely, and slightly. Just like we all know what’s about in a relationship, couples see each other as a baby, everything is just that adorable and delicate and deserves any details of caring and appreciation.
Significantly, Sappho uses hyperbole so well that make her poetry extraordinarily vivid. For example, in It seems to me(fragment no. 4), as she writes “your laughter, which stirs the heart within my breast … Yet my tongue freezes and beneath my skin a fire rages.” Stirring the heart within her breast, fire raging underneath the skin. By exaggerating the pains, Sappho tries to simulate the hurt and pressure she had in the society then. At that time, it’s almost impossible to explicitly show strong desires, the urge of being together and love with a homosexual partner. Like spoiling water try to escape from the hot pot, or like the tears in your eyes when you just cannot cry out because of the occasion is not appropriate.
Alliteration is another figurative method she uses frequently and well in her amazing poetry. For example, in A company of soldier(fragment no. 11), “... So suddenly. So easily. So gently….” she uses the adverbial of “so” three times in a row. Make the poetry more fun and full of rhythm. More than just repeating words, Sappho’s poetry have many apostrophe tones to make reading them full of fluent rhythm and powerful. In Atthis, as we can read, “...And so, The gorgeous dew falls. And, The roses bloom...And so does, The tender chervil...” she uses the similar structure of sentence has more than three times, this make the poetry powerful and showing the process that the gorgeous dew on flower-covered field falls, and roses bloom then tender chervil. This details make the poetry complete vivid and beautiful.