Love and Sappho

1115 words 5 pages
Analysis Essay- Sappho

Sappho’s poem, “To an Army Wife, in Sardis”, is one of the few poems of the Greek poetess from the 7th century B.C., which was saved for posterity. This poem involves the reader in a very personal debate over what deserves to be valued in life, the military values, or the true love of a person for somebody, the poetess offering to the audience her opinion, “but I say that whatever one loves is”, from the beginning. The poem will make the reader, through a very simple, yet complex language, feel, see and hear the images the author has in mind.
From the beginning it can be noticed that the poem has a quite symmetrical structure: it starts with the presentation of the war and of martial values, then, it makes you
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As to make it even stronger, there are some translations in which the title reads "To any Army Wife, in Sardis"; the difference between "an" and "any" is like the difference between "a singular , certain wife" and "any= all wives". Sappho speaks out for those women whose role in society was sometimes forgotten and who were thought to exist mostly as shadows of men or as objects of love, not so much as persons who would decide for their own destinies, the way Helen of Troy had done.
The reader is confronted with a complex image, visual, auditory and emotional. When the author refers to war, the sound of the words is stronger, more “r”-s are used (cavalry, corps, infantry, oars, dark, horse, armored) while, when she refers to love, the image becomes full of light and softer and you will see “the light glancing” in Anactoria’s eyes. One can hear and see the swish of the “swift oars of our fleet”; words which make you think of the way oars would hit the water of the ocean, shining in the light of the sun. The same shining is found in the last stanza, “glitter”, but, to contrast, the beauty of love, opposed to the tough, armored infantry. War and the images of war are opposed to love to form antitheses, the way the opinions of others are opposed to the opinion of the author. War is also opposed to sensuality, not so much through images, but more through the thoughts which the poem triggers. One cannot help to be a little shocked, even in our days, by the


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