Analysis Of The Poem ' The Judgement Of Paris ' And Greek Marriage Ritual

1922 WordsNov 17, 20168 Pages
Helen’s “Judgement of Paris” and Greek Marriage Ritual in Sappho 16, an article written by Eric Dodson-Robinson from Johns Hopkins University, explores how Homer’s writings and Greek marriage rituals feed into the meaning of Sappho’s sixteenth fragment. Primarily through exploring the parallel roles of the characters in Sappho’s fragment and Homeric tales, Dodson-Robinson begins to decipher what is beautiful in Sappho’s eyes. Exploring the subjective role of Helen in the poem, the author reveals how abducting Helen could be a possible reference to archaic Greek marriage ritual. Ultimately, it concludes that the relationship between traditional judgment roles and desire are far more complex than it seems. Written By Ilja Leonard…show more content…
The syntax of these particular lines adds to the anticipation of the audience. The naval and military imagery creates an expectation of a subject that reflects these first lines, not beauty and love. In fact, the first few lines make the reader expect the opposite of what the poem is going to suggest. This surprise becomes important for a piece that is orally performed because it generates attention, which creates an appeal to the ear and perception of linear succession (Pfeiffjer 3). Sappho, cutting against the harsh beauty of the military, reveals that it is what one most loves that is the most beautiful. This exclamation of love makes the reader expect an immediate explanation of who or what Sappho places this love in, but it is not revealed until later in the poem. Surprise combines with suspense and from the moment Sappho begins, the audience expects her object of love to be revealed (Pfeiffjer 3). There is, however, a difference between the two translations. In Mary Barnard’s translation, the course of the priamel is broken into two different stanzas, putting more emphasis on the establishment of the militaristic expectation the reader suspects. Yet, in Anne Carson’s translation of the poem the lines about the military are in groups, followed by the line “what you love” set alone, drawing attention to the different tone being established (Carson 4). Where Carson succeeds in emphasizing Sappho’s point, Barnard fails. Yet, where

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