The Exploration Of The Theme Of Love English Literature Essay

Love played an of import function in ancient civilizations merely as it does it our civilizations today. It caused great hurting every bit good as great pleasance and could be the accelerator for get downing wars, for illustration the Trojan War. Through the mediums of poesy, sculpture, vocal, theater and art, classical mythology is able to portray the same myth with highly different sentiments. There are many factors that affect how and why a myth is portrayed in a certain manner. Artistic and literary context, historical context, signifier, personal docket of the creative person, values and audience all affect the manner in which a myth is interpreted and understood. I wish to research the specific representation of the myth of Dana & A ; euml ; . This myth could be described in several ways, forceful love, seduction, colza or abduction. The descriptions are based on different point of views and values. These point of views can all be shown with changing grades throughout antiquity.

In antiquity the rape/abduction of mortal adult females by Gods appears to be platitude and even expected. The culprit of the act does non look to hold any inauspicious effects or stigma attached to them. The rapes/seductions carried out by the Gods have been described as minutes of unmanageable passion caused by Aphrodite. This suggests that a adult female had the ultimate power over another, and therefore change by reversaling the traditional male power hierarchy. This account besides allows incrimination to be placed elsewhere and non at the pess of the culprit. Besides in this manner the force of colza was able to be transformed into a scene of love. The victims were normally adult females, but non ever so. Eos, Salmacis and Aphrodite wholly abducted their ain objects of desire. All of the brushs between mortal adult females and Gods resulted in the birth of a boy or boies. Merely one brush between Zeus and Leda resulted in the birth of a girl, Helen, who grew up to be the most beautiful adult females on Earth. As Hesiod wrote ‘the beds of the Gods are non unfruitful ‘ . Some of the ‘rape ‘ victims were doubtless duped by their culprits disguise. Zeus was fond of masking himself, non merely to score or gull his victims but besides to conceal his injudiciousnesss from his covetous married woman, Hera. These camouflages besides hid him from angry hubbies and male parents. He appeared to Dana & A ; euml ; as a shower of gold, to Europa as a white bull, to Ganymede as an bird of Jove and to Antiope as a lecher to call a few.

Our society sees these brushs through really different eyes. Rape in our society is about consent and who possesses the power to overrule that consent. If a adult female or adult male does non accept so it is judged a condemnable act. This attitude is non the same as that of ancient Greece, but it does non intend that we should judge that society based on the sentiments and attitudes of our ain. Consent was non truly an issue in Grecian society because adult females were non considered capable of any type of consent. Their consent normally lay with their defender, either their hubby or their male parent. It was thought an honor to be chosen by a God as a lover, even if it was forcibly. Honour was of paramount importance to the Greeks. The adult females who bore boies brought honor to both herself and her household. A strong, healthy boy fathered by a God was a award to be cherished. Bing chosen by a God for your beauty was besides seen by this society as an honor. The privilege of holding a God in your household heritage could ne’er be underestimated.

I would wish to take a closer expression at the myth of Dana & A ; euml ; and analyze some of the representations and beginnings of the myth. The myth of Dana & A ; euml ; is mentioned in several textual beginnings from antiquity. Virgil, Aeneid, Horace, Apollodorus and Ovid all make mention to the myth. These beginnings would hold doubtless influenced the ulterior creative persons who portrayed the myth in pictures, sculptures, dramas and verse forms. One such picture is Dana & A ; euml ; Receiving the Shower of Gold by the Venetian creative person Titian which was completed between 1553 and 1562. This picture was portion of a celebrated aggregation of six big scale fabulous pictures known as the ‘poesie ‘ , which was commissioned by Philip II of Spain. Dana & A ; euml ; Receiving the Shower of Gold is amongst this aggregation aboard two other celebrated ‘rapes ‘ of adult females by Zeus, Diana detecting the Pregnancy of Callisto, and The Rape of Europa. The chief focal point of Dana & A ; euml ; Receiving the Shower of Gold is the bare Dana & A ; euml ; herself. She is located in the foreground and is the larger of the two figures represented in the picture. Dana & A ; euml ; ‘s housemaid is positioned in the background. Dana & A ; euml ; is painted in visible radiation, pale colors and is a contrast to the dark light-green chromaticities of her housemaid. This contrast of light and dark besides emphasises the young person and beauty of Dana & A ; euml ; and the old and haggish visual aspect of the housemaid. Dana & A ; euml ; seems to incarnate the perfect illustration of feminine beauty whilst the maidservant looks positively masculine. The two figures appear to be complete antonyms of each other, immature vs. old, light vs. dark, feminine vs. masculine, beauty vs. ugliness and bare vs. clothed. Kahr suggests that ‘The enraptured and beaming Dana & A ; euml ; may stand for Eternal Bliss, as contrasted with the Temporary Bliss provided by pleasance in material things, symbolized by the old adult female ‘s delectation in money. ‘ ( Kahr 1978, p. 50 )

Dana & A ; euml ; is reclined on perchance a bed with pillows back uping her and ruddy drapes on either side of her. Titian uses these ruddy drapes in several pictures to uncover or conceal his topics. She is wholly bare apart from some pieces of jewelry, a watchband, a ring and a brace of pearl bead earrings. Her signifier is juicy and her airs is really redolent. Her left manus lies provokingly on her inner left thigh. She is staring up at the aureate shower nevertheless her look is really enigmatic. It could perchance stand for astonishment, blankness or is she looking up expectantly, was she anticipating this? By proposing that Danae is a willing participant Tiziano vecellio has turned a colza into a love scene. It was already prophesised that she would bear a boy. To Dana & A ; euml ; ‘s right is a little sleeping Canis familiaris. Small Canis familiariss were sometimes used by creative persons to stand for a symbol of lecherousness or fidelity. The Canis familiaris could perchance stand for Dana & A ; euml ; ‘s fidelity as she was a virgin before her brush with Zeus and technically she was still a virgin afterwards. The Canis familiaris could besides stand for the lecherousness of Zeus for Dana & A ; euml ; . The fact that the Canis familiaris is non awakened by the presence of the aureate shower may hold some deeper significance. It could perchance symbolize that this act is one of nature and goes beyond mortal issues so hence the Canis familiaris is non disturbed by the event. The Centre of the picture contains the shower of gold which is represented by aureate coins. The shower of gold represents both the power of reproduction and the greed of adult male. The coins that are falling towards Dana & A ; euml ; come from the visible radiation and have weightlessness to their visual aspect. The coins falling towards the servant semen from the darker clouds and are forceful and determined. The light combined with the gold reflects the ancient religious power whilst the dark and gold represent the greed and wealth of adult male. Dana & A ; euml ; ‘s housemaid is speedy to hold on her apron and seek to catch the falling aureate coins. Could these perchance represent a payoff or payment possibly? Was she being paid for her services in gold coins? The housemaid besides wears around her waist a cord on which is attached a set of keys. Could this bespeak that she is Dana & A ; euml ; ‘s guard and in control of who enters the room? Santore notes that ‘To insure that we understand the function of the nurse as a procuress, Titian bents three big and outstanding keys from her waist. Keies are the tell- tale mark of the procuress. ‘ ( Santore 1991, p.418 ) Titian utilizations light and dark to contrast between the young person of Dana & A ; euml ; and the housemaid, nevertheless he besides uses visible radiation and dark to contrast between the darkness of the tower that she is imprisoned in and the shower of gold that will put her free. There is a little Chinaman of visible radiation at the really top Centre of the picture and this appears to be the beginning of the shower of gold. The remainder of the ceiling is painted in darker colors and shows the top half of the picture as a electrical storm. This may stand for Zeus in one of his many signifiers as ‘cloud gatherer and Lord of the Sky ‘ , names that were used by Homer in his Illiad. The painting merely represents one minute in clip from the myth. Titian has chosen to paint the minute instantly anterior to Dana & A ; euml ; ‘s incursion from the shower. This leaves no uncertainty in the head of the spectator what is approximately to go on. The spectator is positioned outside of the pictures infinite and is invited to watch by usage of drapes to uncover this titillating scene. The spectator is invited by Titian to go a Peeping Tom.

Ancient literary beginnings that contain mentions that could be closely related to the picture can be found in Ovid ‘s Metamorphosiss:

‘then how he stole just Dana & A ; euml ; ‘s love in a shower of gold: ‘ 6.113

Besides in the Odes of Horace:

‘Dana & A ; euml ; was imprisoned in a tower of bronze

with doors of solid oak and a fierce battalion

of watchdogs ; these would hold kept her quite secure

from seducers that prowl by dark,

if merely Acrisius, this concealed virgin ‘s

panicked keeper, had non made Iuppiter and Venus

laugh out loud: for a manner would be safe and unfastened

for a God who turned into money.

Gold enjoys traveling through the thick of lookouts

and coercing its manner through rock: it has more power

than the lightning bolt. ‘ Horace, Odes, 3.16

and in Apollodorus ‘s The Library of Greek Mythology:

‘When Acrisios consulted the prophet about the birth of male kids, the God replied that his girl would give birth to a boy who would kill him. For fright of this Acrisios built a bronzy chamber beneath the land and kept Dana & A ; euml ; guarded within it. She was seduced none the lupus erythematosus, some say by Proitos ( so giving rise to the wrangle between the brothers ) , while harmonizing to others, Zeus had intercourse with her by transforming himself into a shower of gold and pouring through the roof into Dana & A ; euml ; ‘s lap. ‘ Apollodorus, The Library of Greek Mythology, 2.4.1-5

Apollodorus indicates that ‘a bronzy chamber beneath the land ‘ was where Dana & A ; euml ; was imprisoned and ‘guarded within it. ‘ It is difficult to state from Titian ‘s picture whether the edifice that Dana & A ; euml ; is in is a tower or an belowground chamber. It does non propose who or how many guards there were but it does bespeak that despite being imprisoned ‘beneath the land ‘ her male parent was still concerned about person come ining the chamber. Zeus may hold seen these steps as a challenge. The chamber was inviolable even to Gods, so Zeus had to transform himself into a shower of gold and semen ‘pouring through the roof. ‘ This transmutation implies that Danae was non a willing participant and had to be taken without consent. The image of Dana & A ; euml ; being imprisoned in a tower is besides as an fable of celibacy. This refers to the word picture of the minute she experiences the aureate shower which represents the misdemeanor of her celibacy by agencies of gold. This beginning gives an alternate version of how Dana & A ; euml ; was impregnated. This earthly version has Proitos ( Acrisios ‘s twin brother ) as the male parent. Again there is no amplification on how or when the seduction by Proitos took topographic point.

The version by Horace has changed the belowground chamber into a ‘tower of bronze with doors of solid oak ‘ . This is now the most common credence of the myth. There is now a ‘ferocious battalion of watchdogs ‘ and a ‘panicky keeper ‘ . The illation of a guard would propose that a payoff may good hold been paid to let Zeus entry to the prison. The housemaid may stand for this suggestion. This would propose that the housemaid was some kind of ‘madam ‘ and Dana & A ; euml ; was the cocotte or concubine being sold to Zeus. Santore declares that ‘Titian wished to emphasize the component of harlotry inherent in the subject. It is coins that Danae is having and non rain beads ‘ . ( Santore 1991, p. 416 )

Ovid refers really briefly in Metamorphoses, 4.697, 4.611, 6.113 and 11.117. From the short mention at 6.113 Ovid implies that the brush was non reciprocally accepting ‘he stole just Dana & A ; euml ; ‘s love ‘ . This would give weight to the statement that Danae was taken without her consent. Ovid does do mention to Dana & A ; euml ; in his Ars amatoria. He infers that Zeus must hold antecedently known Dana & A ; euml ; as no 1 desires what he has ne’er known. ‘Who would hold been attracted to Dana & A ; euml ; , Ovid asks, if, everlastingly a captive, she had languished till old age came upon her in her tower? ( Ars amatoria 3.415 ) Ovid besides infers in the Amores that Dana & A ; euml ; was taken by Zeus because of the temptingness of the out ‘If Dana & A ; euml ; had ne’er been shut in the brazen tower, Dana & A ; euml ; would ne’er hold been impregnated by Jupiter. ‘ ( Amores 2.19.27-28 )

Possible grounds why colza myths were chosen topics for commissioned pictures are power, heritage, erotism and.

One ground may hold been that it was a legitimate manner of holding a colza picture commissioned and being able to expose it without unfavorable judgment. This painting would non hold been publically displayed because of the titillating nature of the piece but put on show in private for Philip II and his male comrades. This piece was portion of a larger aggregation of pictures that represented beautiful bare goddesses. These pieces would hold been displayed together and been a banquet of flesh for the spectator. Evidence for the presentation of the pieces comes from a missive Titian wrote to Phillip in 1554: ( interlingual rendition by Fehl )

Since the Dana & A ; euml ; which I already sent your Majesty was seen wholly from the forepart I introduced a fluctuation in the other poesia [ Venus and Adonis ] and showed the figure in a rearward position so that the camerino in which the images are to be placed may go more gracious to the oculus. Soon I shall direct your Majesty the poesia of Perseus and Andromeda which will once more show a different position and, every bit so, Medea and Jason. ( Fehl, 1992, p.121 )

The presentation of differing female airss within the poesie would intend that the spectator would hold an all circular position of the bare female signifier. Myth has long served as an alibi for western humanistic disciplines enjoyment of the sexual misdemeanor of adult females.

Another theory about the topic pick is one of power. Most of the pictures of the poesie depict narratives of male domination over adult females. This was portion of Renaissance ideals refering the functions of the sexes. Ehrenkranz states that ‘Dana & A ; euml ; was the perfect combination of chaste married woman and willing kept woman which appealed to 16th century male ideals. She subsequently went on to successfully raise her boy into a hero, finishing the function of the ideal Renaissance adult female. ( Ehrenkranz, 2004, p.5 ) Power non merely related to the present but besides to the yesteryear. Zeus was an all powerful Gods and as such could make as he wishes. This would hold appealed to a sovereign being able to demo his topics that he excessively was in charge and was able to make as he wished. A farther ground for involvement is given by Kahr:

‘Thus a cardinal or the pious male monarch of a strictly Catholic people could explicate his involvement in the images on the footing of their elevating moral intent, to warn against the dangers of greed and lecherousness. ‘ ( Kahr 1978, p.48 )

A farther ground to committee colza myth pictures was to show the Godhead heritage of swayers. The rapes/seductions carried out by the Gods would hold been one manner of go forthing semi-divine heroes on Earth to regulation and promote worship. Classical colza narratives linked to the birth of early heroes and male monarchs created an attractive universe history of of import swayers and empires come oning into the present. Renaissance swayers in Europe would hold liked to conceive of themselves as posterities of households traveling back to these semi-divine heroes.

Whether Dana & A ; euml ; was the guiltless virgin princess who was seduced/raped or the inviting enchantress who was volitionally paid for her services is non one hundred per centum clear. These readings allow Dana & A ; euml ; to go both victim and instrument in her ain fate. Through the mediums of literature, poesy, art and theatre the function of Dana & A ; euml ; has been portrayed as a virgin female parent, a willing participant, a captive and a cocotte. This myth has been used at different times by different civilizations to stand for different ideals. Tiziano vecellio has used many different beginnings to allow and refigure this classical myth to demo a moral context for his clip.

Power and consent are countries that become intertwined when discoursing rape/seduction.

The deficiency of force in Titian ‘s composing does non take away from the deficiency of consent. By allowing the position of rape/abduction by a God as a glorious event, Titian has glorified and sterilised the violent and brutal act itself. There was no 1 word for colza in antediluvian Greek times. However, this does non intend that it did non happen. Womans were non considered capable of consent, so was Dana & A ; euml ; truly raped by Zeus? The reply is non every bit straightforward as it would look.

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Danae Receiving the Shower of Gold, Titian, 1553-4, oil on canvas, 130 ten 181cm. Museo del Prado, Madrid, P00425.