Venus And Adonis Essay Research Paper Venus

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Venus And Adonis Essay, Research Paper Venus and Adonis: Images of Sexuality in Nature “Love is the answer, but while you are waiting for the answer, sex raises some pretty good questions.” - Woody Allen Throughout his plays and poetry Shakespeare imbeds numerous and diverse themes, many of them relating to love, sexuality, life, death, religion and countless others. In his poem Venus and Adonis Shakespeare tackles the theme of sexuality as a representation of love, and a function of Nature. The characters of Venus and Adonis, often times reminiscent of an Elizabethan fallen Adam and Eve, create a sexually charged poem that lends much of the power and influence of love and life and death to Nature. Shakespeare creates a natural phenomenon that physically links the love

and actions of these two characters to the forces, both positive and destructive, to Nature herself. The poem allows Venus and Adonis a certain power or authority over the forces that lie within the powers of Nature, but Shakespeare’s creation of this sexual narrative as a depiction of erotic desire as a tragic event leads the characters to inevitable misfortune, and a complete loss of control over their circumstances. Shakespeare’s text can be broadly divided into three sections. The first being Venus’ expressions of love for Adonis, the second involving Adonis’ death and the hunt, and the third and final section focuses on Venus’ reaction to the loss of Adonis. In the first third, Venus tries with increasing desperation to entice Adonis into sex. The pastoral setting

on the primrose bank is ideal for the sexually charged analogies she creates. She bombards him with oxymorons involving hot ice, showers him with floral metaphors, launches into an extended variation on the old carpe diem theme, and cracks familiar puns on words such as harts and deer. Venus seems to have inspired control over her own body, and wondrously metamorphosizes her form to suit her purpose, making it heavy enough to need trees to support it, then giving the violets she lies on the strength of trees (152). For all its desperation, the first section is energetic and hopeful, emphasizing Adonis’ youth and Venus’ constantly self-renewing flesh. The descriptions of love found here are wholly sexual and physically based, but there is a desperate strength in Venus’

repeated attempts and persistence. However, at the center of the poem Adonis announces that he intends to hunt the boar the next day. Venus collapses with the boy on top of her, and follows what ought to be the sexual climax of Venus’ attempts to lure Adonis into her bed, but all Venus gets from the encounter is frustration: `all is imaginary she doth prove’ (597). In this next section of the poem, which takes place in the forest, Venus speaks of fear, the fear of the boar and the terror of the hunted hare. Death, which has been a veiled presence throughout the first half, becomes the controlling factor of the second. Instead of urging Adonis to beget, Venus warns him that he will be murdering his own posterity if he fails to make love (757-60). The youthfulness of Adonis,

which had been described in such vital terms in the first section, able to `drive infection from the dangerous year’ (508), suddenly finds itself subjected to more infections than it can hope to cure: As burning fevers, agues pale and faint, Life-poisoning pestilence and frenzies wood, The marrow-eating sickness whose attaint Disorder breeds by heating of the blood (739-42). At the same time Venus loses control over her body. As she hurries through the woods after the sound of Adonis’ horn, her body is subjected to the intrusive gropings of bushes: “Some catch her by the neck, some kiss her face, / Some twine about her thigh to make her stay” (872-3). This attack on Venus’ physical body, and her inability to stop it renders her even more powerless, and her dominating