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Friday, February 24, 2017

[GBM] The Beautiful and Damned


Apollo tells Love that it would be great to make Venus fall in love with Adonis because it would restate Love's power over her. Moreover, as a 'philosophical' side effect, it would join the goddess of beauty and the most beautiful (rather than handsome) man in the world, with a triumph of physical perfection "on earth as well as in heaven": a subject that is only hinted at here but will often surface as one of the main themes in the poem. At the same time, Apollo underscores the sad condition of Adonis' life, just omitting to add that he himself will make Adonis' condition sadder though apparently happier, and in the end will conspire to his brutal death.

1.31

"So lordly, so beautiful features
my own clear, shiny eye never saw.     the Sun's eye
An unlucky teen, to whom the stars     Adonis is 15 y.o.
showed harshness rather than light:
cruel influences against him a mean
sky prepared even before he saw it
for (the one rising, the other falling)     Dante, Inferno 25.121; a key canto to GBM
at his mom's death the son was born."     when she was already a tree (myrrh)