Venus and Adonis
The poem on Venus and Adonis is a narrative written by the famous great poet William Shakespeare(Loomis, 2012). The poet uses lots of symbolic languages that needs critical analysis for the reader to understand. According to Stanza 1, Venus is an immortal creature and the goddess of love who has an admiration for Adonis and when she sees him she comes down to earth. Adonis is depicted as an aggressive hunter who is not interested in love for women but clings to his horse to achieve his hunt target. Venus keep on appearing during the hunting session, tries to speak to Adonis about love but he turns away scornfully. Venus gets upset by the negative attitude Adonis has towards her love and unfortunately collapses. Adonis gets concerned, and he kneels down to kiss her. Once Venus recovers she demands another kiss which Adonis declines (Evans, 2015, p.14-17). The next day Venus insists on a comeback, but Adonis is only interested in hunting the wild boar. Through a vision, Venus warns Adonis on his mission to hunt the boar as it would finally kill him. Adonis gets upset and pries himself loose to lecture Venus on the topic of love and lust. Venus realizes that Adonis had real love for her and she starts crying. The next day Venus roams the forests in search of Adonis and at the same time afraid of her previous vision. As she walks several miles, she finds a wounded dog and the body of Adonis lying on the ground restlessly. Adonis was dead, killed by the wild boar. This shows that whenever there is real love, there will always be sadness, fear, and suspicion.
The long poem is highly related in stanzas and is arranged in a rural locality during the time of ancient Greece when the gods and goddesses of the Olympus regularly interacted with humans. All the stanzas in the poem revolve around the topic of love. When the poet states, “Even as the sun with purple colored face had taken his last leave of the weeping morning” (lines 1-2) he tries to show that love is a natural fact that not only occur to humans but to nature itself. When the sun is rising the morning goes away. This was experienced by Venus who had a lot of love for Adonis but every time she appears Adonis is busy elsewhere. The first line of the stanza shows that the poet has a high sense of time value. It shows the importance of time scheme in love, one must sacrifice a portion of his time to concentrate on love matters. Loving should mean time commitment. Adonis goes hunting whenever he has time and is not interested in speaking about love with Venus. The erotic relationship between the sun and morning is distracted by time factor in that when the sun is setting in with its purple colored face the weeping morning leaves.
The use of the word “purple-coloured” Stanza 1, (Line 1) associates purple with the red light that is usually evident during dawn. The color also portrays the color of blood meaning that morning just like Adonis feels embarrassed when leaving Venus is compared to the sun. Stanza 1, Line (1-4) states that Rose-cheeked Adonis hid him to the chase, it depicts the lifeless body of Adonis who lies dead after the wild boar kills him. Around the corpse, it is white and purple as the beautiful flower grows beneath him.
Shakespeare uses personification in writing this poem; he compares the natural object to humans’ life and emotions. Stanza 1, Line (4-6) shows that Adonis is more interested in hunting which he considers as an economic activity and social leisure than he is interested in love. Venus despite being a goddess is sick of love and wants attention from Adonis. Stanza 2, Line (7-13) recognizes that Venus, despite possessing the beauty of a goddess she still has the love for humans who seems to hold true love and not lust. She considers Adonis to be fairer than her and compares his beauty to none. According to Charles & Roe (2014, p.32) both Adonis and Venus holds to the common believe that true love lasts but lust is just for a short period.
Loomis, C. (2012). William Shakespeare: A documentary volume. Detroit: Gale Group.
Evans, R. C. (2015). Perspectives on Renaissance poetry.New York : A.A Knopf
Charles, W., & Roe, J. (2014). The poems: Venus and Adonis, the Rape of Lucrece, the Phoenix and the turtle, the Passionate pilgrim, A Lover’s complaint. Cambridge [England: Cambridge University Press.