Venus and Adonis by Shakespeare Essay Example

  • Category:
    Literature
  • Document type:
    Essay
  • Level:
    Undergraduate
  • Page:
    1
  • Words:
    628

Venus and Adonis by Shakespeare

Overview: Venus and Adonis

Venus and Adonis refer to narrative poem that was written by William Shakespeare and published din 1593, which was the same year that the Hero and Leander by Christopher Marlowe was published. The “Venus and Adonis” is a narrative about Venus, who is considered the Goddess of Love as well as her love for Adonis, who is an extremely handsome young man (Shakespeare, 10). In the poem, Adonis prefers to go hunting unlike the expectations of Venus. The story is pastoral, dramatic, comic, tragic, and sometimes erotic. In the poem, there are different discourses of the nature of love and observations of nature, with the rhyme scheme being ABABCC. The poem was written in a verse that is known as the “sesta rima” which refers to a quatrain that is followed by a couplet. Critically to note is that the form of sesta rima was as well used in Thomas Lodge and Edmund Spenser.

Main Characters

The main characters in the poem are Adonis and Venus. Venus refers to the goddess of beauty and love. Venus is passionate and fierily voluptuous whereby she is greedy for the love she has on Adonis, who is young and handsome (Shakespeare, 15). Due to the love, she has on Adonis, Venus immodestly thrusts the attentions on Adonis but his sullenness and shyness increases her desire. In the poem, Venus is portrayed as the master of Renaissance rhetoric who is delivering a stream of oratorical debate with the intention of convincing Adonis on the importance of being fertile. The death of Adonis makes her to passionately grieve for the loss of love.

On the other hand, Adonis is a young and handsome man who likes hunting. He is driven into sullen obstinacy by the love and wooing of Venus (Shakespeare, 19). As a trained charter in rhetoric, Adonis also carries his debate by rebuking her lustful behavior. He has a tender heart and softens after Venus swoons. In the process of stubbornly going to hunt the boar, he meets his death. Notably, for those who posit that the poem expresses the Renaissance ideal of love argue that the death of Adonis implies his failure to accept love and ensure that he reproduces his kind through Venus.

Main Themes

The poem is above love between Venus and Adonis. As noted above, Venus is in love with Adonis, which makes the plot of the entire narrative. As The goddess of love, Venus tries to do what it takes to have Adonis, who is the sexiest man alive, as her love (Shakespeare, 59). The story also shows the painful side of love from the shameful pregnancy of Adonis’ mother and the painful death of her son.

The theme sex has also been portrayed in the Venus and Adonis. Notably, there are different instance where sex is depicted as one of the main themes such as the lust of Myrrha to her own father and the wild passion of Venus to Adonis (Shakespeare, 65). However, the sexual escapades brings tragedy to the characters as observed when Myrrha was about to be sliced by her father and the death of Adonis to Venus. The story ends after Adonis dies while hunting boar while Venus goes back to find his body lying down (Shakespeare, 73). Venus decides to turn the blood of Adonis into a bright red flower as a sign of honor. The story reminds me of Jasmine, which is a story full of love as Jasmine looks for a partner in a foreign land of America. The moral lesson that Shakespeare wanted to convey is that love can sometimes lead to a painful experience.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. Venus and Adonis. London: Collins’ Clear-Type Press, 1901. Print.