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For what cultural critique does Margaret Atwood use the strory of Pyramus and Thisbe - Essay Example

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For what cultural critique does Margaret Atwood use the story “Pyramus and Thisbe?” Table of Contents Works Cited 7 In the poem “Pyramus and Thisbe” by Ovid tells the story of two lovers forbidden by their families to be together fall to the ill hands of fate and die in the woods, by their own hands…
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For what cultural critique does Margaret Atwood use the strory of Pyramus and Thisbe
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Download file to see previous pages The two are stories of contrast with regard to the ways in which men and women join in union. As a tool for cultural critique, “Pyramus and Thisbe” differs from 'Marrying the Hangman” in terms of the fundamental motivations of the main characters, in the way love is present and absent, and in the practical and impractical considerations of the characters (Atwood; Ovid) It can be argue that “Pyramus and Thisbe” serves as an ideal conception of the pure motivations of the characters, which serves as a counterpoint to the pragmatic considerations of the woman who wanted to avoid death at any cost, and made use of a loophole in the law to be spared of the hanging that was her punishment for stealing her master's wife's clothes. Pyramus and Thisbe were the ideal pure and beautiful lovers who simply wanted to be together, and finding that their families and society in general were against their being together, chose to risk their lives rather than live day to day separated by the physical walls and the social walls that kept them apart. This is a true counterpoint, because the actions and the motivations of the two lovers were totally bereft of any practical considerations, and did not even consider the dangers that met them by venturing out into the wilderness and into the dangerous tomb of Ninus. Not fearing death, the lovers in Ovid's poem in fact welcomed death as part of the price that they had to pay for love. Death did not deter them. “Thou envious wall why art though standing in the way of those who die for love?” (Ovid). There is the sense from the very start that this love was pure, that the motivations of Pyramus and Thisbe were pure, and death was the crucible that tested the purity of those motivations and intentions. In the end they would e true to their word and would take their own lives for love, just as they lamented before the wall, before they agreed to escape and to meet in the tom of Ninus. On the other hand, in contrast to this, we have the poem of Atwood of “Marrying the Hangman”, where the motivations were of a totally different flavor and source altogether. The woman, sentenced to death by hanging, also wished to be joined to a faceless voice on the other side of a wall, like in Pyramus and Thisbe. On the other hand, where the motivations of the lovers in Ovid were pure and based on love, in “Marrying the Hangman” the motivation was pure survival. Underneath it is fear, and that fear is the fear of death. It is a base motivation to be sure. The woman was afraid of death and wished to be spared of the fate of the condemned by somehow getting married to a hangman. Because there was no hangman, her only salvation lay in persuading the voice on the other side of the wall to marry her, after first becoming a hangman himself. It is a calculated motivation, far removed from love, and driven wholly by fear. It is also driven by a willingness to accept and to live with compromises: “The hangman is not such a bad fellow. Afterwards he goes to the refrigerator and cleans up the leftovers, though he does not wipe up what he accidentally spills” (Atwood). There is a difference too in the way love is abundant in “Pyramus and Thisbe” and serves as a stark contrast to its being a secondary consideration in Atwood's poem “Marrying the Hangman”. From the start in the latter poem we are made to understand that the reason for any union is not love, though they talk about that, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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