Sappho 's Poem, If Not, Winter

Decent Essays
Sappho’s fragments in, If Not, Winter, are composed of her reflections on the ardent emotions of love and desire. Sappho continues to ask and search for love, but she becomes consumed with desire. Her inability to control these emotions causes her to be caught in a battle between love and desire. Throughout the text, Sappho uses “eros” to express her desire towards an individual. This causes a conflict within the word eros because eros is defined as a fluid term in which, desire and love are synonymous with one another. This implies that love and desire are essentially interchangeable, however, Sappho does not treat them as such. This distinction becomes solidified by analyzing Sappho’s use of the gods in her poetry, where she correlates love with the goddess Aphrodite, and lust with the god Eros. By observing Sappho’s stylistic formation and diction within fragments 1, 16, and 31, the distinction between these two opposing forces becomes clear. In this paper I will argue that Sappho believes love involves an emotional connection that should be reciprocated and she also correlates love to beauty. In contrast, Sappho classifies desire as egotistical lust, which fulfills a physical need, where reciprocation is not required. Her distinctions between desire and love leads to a conflict in the term eros and her internal feelings add complexity and depth to her work. It is important to analyze the differences between Sappho being in a state of love versus Sappho being in a state
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