In Venus and Adonis love is purely irrational Essay

Submitted By Charlotte-Perrott
Words: 2019
Pages: 9

In ‘Venus and Adonis’ love is purely irrational. Discuss

In ‘Venus and Adonis’ the first piece of evidence reinforcing that love is purely irrational, is the techniques that Venus employs in order to gain Adonis’ love. Immediately Venus is seen to become physically aggressive and dominating with Adonis. Upon first meeting him, she ‘plucks’ (30) him from his horse and then proceeds to carry him ‘under her’ (32)1 ‘arm’ (31). This forcefulness is recurrent throughout the poem, as Adonis is seen to be ‘thrust’ (41), ‘pushed’ (41) and ‘forced’ (61) in a pitiful attempt by Venus to gain Adonis’ love. This technique exemplifies how Venus’ love is purely irrational, as she does not understand that this will only scare the timid Adonis away. Similarly Venus uses intimidating sexual language throughout the poem, believing that this will encourage Adonis to love her2. She states that Adonis should ‘stray lower’ (234) to where her ‘pleasant fountains’ (234) ‘lie’ (234). This explicitly references her breasts in order to arouse Adonis and is then further reinforced when she sexually references her pubic hair with the phrase ‘sweet bottom grass’ (235). The use of domineering physical language not only highlights Venus’ irrationality through her inability to understand what may appeal to Adonis, but would also seem substantially more irrational to a 19th century reader. This is consequential of the fact her behaviors is the exact opposite to the epitome of how a women should act and is more representative of masculine behavior. After Venus’ previous attempts at gaining Adonis’ affections she soon adapts her techniques. She tries conducting ‘bargains’ (512) with Adonis, stating that her affection is something he can ‘buy’ (514) and ‘purchase’ (515). The use of this marketing language is to highlight to Adonis that her affection and love is something to be desired. This could alternatively be considered as Venus’ own justification as her love is unrequited and she therefore needs to justify to herself that her ‘kisses’ (517) are still worth something to nurse her ego3. This example truly exemplifies how irrational love has made Venus. Not only has it forced her to not understand the complexities of love and how love is something to be felt and not sold, but its tricked her into believing that she is an object that needs to be marketed. Reinforcing this concept is when Venus states ‘to sell myself’ (512) which highlights how her unrequited love has decreased her self confidence and consequentially made her approach to Adonis irrational. One final bargaining tool Venus utilizes is promising Adonis a heightening in his physical aesthetic beauty. She states she will make his lips ‘red’ (21) and ‘pale’ (21), ‘with fresh variety’ (21), deluding her irrational self that this offer will persuade Adonis to love her.

Throughout ‘Venus and Adonis’ there is a prominent recurrence of Venus and her undeniable delusions,` arguably consequential of her love for Adonis forcing her to become irrational. The first delusion the readers encounter is Venus’ misinterpretation of Adonis’ body language. Shakespeare depicts Adonis as ‘Red’ (75) and states he has a ‘sweating palm’ (25). Despite the suggestion Adonis’ colour is due to his ‘shame’ (36) Venus interprets this as his undeniable ‘desire’ (36) for her and even states ‘she loves him best’ (77) ‘being red’(77) as she convinces herself it’s a physical representation of his passion and love for her. Venus’ delusions are further evident in the way she believes all of nature loves Adonis, even though in reality all nature is attracted to her. After Adonis is murdered by the boar, she interprets his death as a product of the boar loving Adonis too much. She argues if she had been ‘toothed like him’ (1117) she would have ‘killed him first’ (1117). This analogy exemplifies Venus’ delusions as she compares their love, believing that Adonis is so captivating that all of nature loves him, whereas realistically the