Saturday, October 18, 2008

Inquisitio Tertia

In Poem 8, Catullus writes his interal agony into a debate between his desiring and despising self. Supporting your assertions with references from the entire poem (in Latine!), discuss how the dramatic character of Catullus 8 is enhanced by his dialogue. Remember to focus on an original analysis rather than simple summary of the passage.

Essay due by midnight on Monday.


Anonymous said...

Internal Agony
By Brock Burdyl

The dramatic character of Catullus is enhanced by his dialogue through personal revelation and interrogative statements.
The personal revelations of Catullus are his continued felling for his puella, Lesbia, contrasted against his emotional isolationism. “Fulsere quondam candidi tibi soles, cum ventitabas quo puella ducebat” reveals how bright Catullus’ days were when he was with Lesbia. “At tu, Catulle, destinatus obdura” shows how Catullus feels he must move on. The difference between love and bitter resentment add depth to Catullus’ character and allows one to see the conflict of emotion which is used as an appeal to the reader’s emotion.
Lines 15-18 contain questions meant as verbal attack towards Lesbia. Catullus makes this especially apparent through “Cui videberis bella”(16), “Quem nunc amabis”(17), and “Cui labella mordebis”(18). Catullus makes it sound as if she will be sorry she left him. Ironically, Catullus states his firmness “sed obstinate mente prefer”(11) in not taking Lesbia back into his love despite immense labor put into this poem in an attempt to rekindle her love. For these questions are meant to bite adding a layer of desperate honesty to the character of Catullus. It also reveals Catullus lack of self-control by his not walking away and accepting her rejection. But who can truly walk away from that which one loves?
Catullus writes of his internal agony to make the reader question the meaning of love and how to give up loving what one has lost. Building upon the work of Sappho, Catullus reveals himself to be a true poet of love by personifying the battle of good vs. evil, light vs. dark through his own character in his own poem.

vdgmrpro said...

Catullus opens this poem with "Miser Catulle" which already establishes the dramatic tone in the mind of the reader. Throughout the beginning of the poem, Catullus is speaking to himself, advising himself to "quod vides perisse perditum ducas." (consider that which you see destroyed as destroyed) and "desinas ineptire(cease to be a fool)", all of which is similar to a soliloquy during a tragic play.
In lines 3-8, Catullus ignores his own advice by wistfully recalling the days when "candidi tibi soles". He then contradictorily states that he is now hardened and says farewell to his girl. Now Catullus uses irony when he states that he feels pity for her. "Scelesta, vae te!" (Unlucky, alas for you!) Catullus thinks that he is letting go of Lesbia because he wants to shield himself from pain, but what he is actually doing is attempting to make Lesbia jealous and realize that she loves him. Catullus lists off many things that she will be missing once he is gone and as he goes on, he gets lost in his memories and his resolve appears to weaken. It is easy to imagine Catullus reaching this climax and the grief returning all at once like a sharp knife. He closes the poem by repeating that he has hardened his heart, however he has already betrayed the depth of his hurt and as such the reader now finds this once firm statement to be empty of meaning.

Anonymous said...

Catullus enhances his dramatic character in this poem by first focusing on his own losses, telling himself to harden his heart and get over the loss of his girlfriend, and then switching toward the end of the poem to telling the girl what she is missing. This shift in tone shows an overall change in Catullus from the beginning of the poem. The very first line “miser catulle”, starts out with a self-pitying tone, pulling the audience in (line 1). Catullus reminisces about his time with Lesbia in lines 3-8, but then pulls back to his mournful air in line 9. Catullus creates a dramatic tone in the poem by showing the shift from his wistful self – wanting Lesbia back – to the hardening of his heart, as shown in the phrase “nec miser vive, sed obstinate mente prefer, obdura” (lines 10-11). His rhetorical questions toward the end of the poem signify a dramatic change from self-focus to blaming Lesbia. Catullus begins the shift with a curse, saying “scelesta, vae te!” and going so far as to call Lesbia wicked (line 15). Lines 16-18 all pose questions to Lesbia, blaming her for the ruined relationship and proving to her that while Catullus can be hard, she will have lost everything.