A Skewed Perception Of Masculinity

1488 Words Oct 23rd, 2015 6 Pages
Liam Connerly
Professor Aislinn Melchior
Latin 201
26 October 2015
A Skewed Perception of Masculinity in Ancient Rome Catullus 16, "A Reply to My Critics" is a poem written by the Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus "that was deemed so obscene it was not published in its entirety in English until the latter part of the 20th century" (Winter). To give the poem some context, this aggressive rebuttal was addressed to two men, Furius and Aurelius, who are also referenced to as Catullus ' "critics" he is replying to. These two men tend to appear in other poetry by Catullus, where he, again, employs the use of abusive language at them. These rather intrusive retorts are based on the Roman contructs of masculinity, as Catullus exhibits the need to portray a dominating demeanor upon his critics in order to deny the claims of Aurelius and Furius, that the nature of his poetry is mollis, meaning ‘soft’ and 'tender ', which esstenially makes Catullus mollis. Because of these accusations, he himself is made effeminate by these criticsims and therefore feels the need to combat these views by aggressive attacks that fortify a perceived masculine persona. Therefore, this poem serves is an attack on these demeaning criticisms and a demonstration of social norms on skewed portrayals of masculinity within the Roman society. The intricate way in which Catullus employs a particular dual resistance on the homologies in his society suggests can be demonstrated by a careful examination…
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