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Compare and Contrast Eros poems

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Throughout these two poems “Eros” is revealed to the reader in two very different perspectives. The first poem by Robert Bridges portrays to the reader that Eros is a true god and that when it comes to love man is the one who suffers. In the second poem by Anne Stevenson, Eros is shown as a beat on and a miserable person who suffers from love.

The concept of the first poem is evident in the first stanza of the poem. “Why hast thou nothing in thy face? Thou idol of the human race, Thou tyrant of the human heart.” ( ). These few lines tell the reader that the poet is confused by Eros and that he is also the dictator of the human heart, which portrays to us that humans suffer from love. In these lines we also see antithesis because Eros is a tyrant of heart, but also the idol of the human race, In the next stanza we have a paradox which further backs up the suggestion that the writer is confused about the true nature of Eros, “In secret sensuous innocence.” ( ). Here it is depicted that Eros has a secret sexual innocence. How can one have sexual-based secrets and still be considered by others to be innocent? It is clearly evident through imagery, antithesis, diction, and paradox that the poet seems to be trying to figure out the complex Eros, and that man is the one who suffers from Eros’ gift of love.

The concept of the second poem is radically different. Throughout the poem tone, diction, imagery and paradox prove this evidence. The first two lines already notify the reader that the speaker is not pleased with her call for love: “I call for love, but help me, who arrives? The tone of the madam is evident through the way the sentence ends with a question mark. It is as if she is telling the reader to try to guess what kind of unworthy reply she was granted for her cry for help. Her tone is obviously tells the reader she is disappointed. The next few lines demonstrates how damaged Eros really is through imagery: “This thug with broken nose, And squinty eyes, Eros, my bully boy.” ( ). All these images of a beat up god not only tell the reader that Eros is no longer an “Idol” like the last poem but it hints towards the fact that Eros is not even a god. Lines 7-8 further reinforce this idea, “boxer lips. And patchy wings askew?”

The next stanza reassures the reader that Eros is the one suffering not the human: “My face that so offends you, Is the sum, of blows your lust delivered.” ( ). Through the diction here it is clear that Eros’s beat up image is a direct result of the “Madam’s” lust. The next stanza uses imagery and paradox to degrade Eros’s status as a god even more, “We slaves who are immortal.” ( ). It really does not make sense to think of an immortal god as a slave, the relationship between the creator and created have been turned around. Instead humans being slaves to the gods and worshiping them, the gods are our slaves. The next line also shows us that Eros’s battered looks are a result of human’s love: “Gloss your fate.” This tells the reader that the madam’s fate is a “gloss” or mirror image of Eros’s thrashed about physical features.

In conclusion, it is evident to us that these two poems are radically different in the way they represent Eros. One represents him as a god, and an object of worship, yet the other represents him as a beat up slave of humanity’s love.

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