Here in the lush playground of this poem Shakespeare extends the franchise with his own retelling of the luscious story of Venus and Adonis. Venus entices him with the promise of her beauty, but when At this Adonis smiles as in disdain / That in each cheek appears a pretty dimple, she, exasperated, compares him to Narcissus, rhetorically asking, Is thine own heart to thine own face affected? Venus, taking him at his word for his untested youth, senses in it a danger to Adonis' life, and advises him against such rash adventure. In that the poem may be seen as an allegory in which Adonis represents the rational principle of cautious control in the face of worldly snares as represented by the wanton goddess of erotic love. This allegorical aspect gives the poem a certain seriousness which is matched by delightful metaphors of sensuous love that makes it a highly entertaining read. At any rate, the poem offers an ambiguous view of love as sublime and earthly, gentle and wanton, rational and fickle that cannot be explained in singular terms. I was surprised to learn that Venus and Adonis is Shakespeare's first published work, and a fine example of his stylised diction, rich imagery, engaging dialogue, turns of phrase, philosophical ambiguity, and character ambivalence, that set him on course to penning more amatory poems, culminating in the gems we know as Sonnets.
I read an excerpt from Venus And Adonis in a book of poetry with horses as the main theme, and I became curious to read the entire poem. Once again according to Wiki, Shakespeare changed it in order to have Adonis refuse the lusty attentions of the goddess Venus.
Unsustained Erotic Tension I have recently reviewed Ted Hughes' Tales from Ovid. She tells him, as a cautionary tale, the story of Atalantaa digression that takes up half the entire episode, and seems to have very little to do with the current situation.* But Adonis is not to be dissuaded; he pursues the boar, is killed by it, and his body is turned by Venus into a flower. Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis, published in 1593, is a long narrative poem of about 1,200 lines, based on Ovid and possibly other sources.** As he leaves out the Atalanta digression, there is even less story in it than the Ovid. Surprisingly for Shakespeare, the poem is quite undramatic; I see that it has been staged, but I cannot imagine how.*** Any lack of drama has little to do with Venus' passion. Venus is merely predatory, and Adonis comes across as a bit of a prude, as when he lectures her on the difference between lust and love: Love comforteth like sunshine after rain, But Lust's effect is tempest after sun; Love's gentle spring doth always fresh remain, Lust's winter comes ere summer half be done. I will say, however, that the end of Shakespeare's poem is quite effective. ====== * One of the tales about Atalanta does involve a hunt, in which she helped her lover Meleager kill the monstrous Calydonian boar (illustration below), but that is wholly successful and it is not the story Venus tells.
I read the introduction (I actually read this in a Folger edition, Shakespeare's Sonnets & Poems, and I dug out Metamorphoses and looked up Ovid's Venus and Adonis (which is quite different), and I still found Shakespeare's Venus to be so outrageously lusty and yet, simultaneously, whiny, and Adonis so dull and pouty (not that he doesn't have cause to pout, but we never see even the slightest glimmer of what Venus finds so magnetic about him -- he is devoid of spark or sparkle, and his great qualities seem to be that he's really pretty and has super nice breath) that I couldn't bring myself to care how things came out for them.
Es innecesario que diga que Shakespeare tiene una gran manera de decir las cosas. Si les gusta Shakespeare, es muy probable que Venus y Adonis no les desagrade.
William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. His plays have been translated into every major living language, and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. Shakespeare was a respected poet and playwright in his own day, but his reputation did not rise to its present heights until the nineteenth century. There have been plays and sonnets attributed to Shakespeare that were not authentically written by the great master of language and literature.