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The Emotional and Physical Gesture of Loyalty.

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Introduction

Karina Swenson English IBH1 4/9/02 The Emotional and Physical Gesture of Loyalty In this age, it seems as though human beings are being increasingly conscious about the materialistic figures that shape our lives than the emotional world that create our lives. The simple paper money lights a spark in our eyes, whereas the relationship between family-members are being taken for granted. The emotional connections between human beings today are disappearing by the moment, being replaced by the idealistic desires that one dreams of. Sometimes loyalty is not only a test of love but also a beneficial journey for one's inner being. This contemplation signifies one of the main themes within Homer's The Odyssey where the true test of fidelity and devotion becomes the white mist that surrounds an individual and blocks everything but his/her sun. The dramatic poem, "An Ancient Gesture", by Edna St. Vincent Millay, is a dramatic monologue which illustrates the true significance of loyalty based on Penelope and Odysseus' hardships. Their trials and tribulations within The Odyssey merely mirrors this obstacle in society. The emotive poem is spoken by a housemaid who tends to Penelope and empathizes over the sorrowful situation of her mistress. ...read more.

Middle

Thus, this gives us both perspectives of the gesture of crying as Penelope who cries from her heart and Odysseus who cries out of obligation and it is his position to do so. In addition to the use of diction which conveys the idea of devotion, the purpose of imagery also allows readers to have sensations and mental images as the poem is read. Sometimes a wife can do nothing except "burst into tears", as she looks deep into the sky and wonders what barriers of time and space managed to separate herself from her loved one. Similarly, the relationship as husband and wife between Penelope and Odysseus is effectively portrayed in the use of images presented in the poem. Furthermore, the illustration of night and day effectively delineates the idea of Penelope's habitual routine where in the daylight she weaves and as the day transforms into the hours of darkness she sits "undoing it all through the night". The depiction of night and day also suggests how her activities in daylight exhibits herself as someone who keeps her word, where she promises to choose a suitor by the end of her weaving, but during the darkness she amends and is faithful to her husband whilst she undoes her weaving until "it will never be light". ...read more.

Conclusion

During Odysseus's absence, Penelope is described as "weaving all day." The loom that she weaves suggests the day and when she undoes the loom it implies the night. Penelope is clearly able to deter her physical desires from the suitors and continue her loyalty to the one she loves. Through these different perspectives, the emotional and physical differences of the gesture are given a new light. One can identify the poem either as a criticism over the people who take emotional closeness for granted or pity those who are ignorant enough to think in this sort of fashion. The emotional priorities of human beings often deteriorate as the materialistic values of the modern world increases. Human closeness is disappearing and often the physical and emotional dimensions of love seem to overlap each other, lessening the significance of the core meaning of loyalty and love for one another. This poem, through diction, imagery, and symbolism clearly depicts that the spiritual essence of love should over prioritize the physical aspects of it. In this case, Penelope and Odysseus, though the seas separate them, their love for each other is eternal. There is something about Penelope and Odysseus that gives us all hope. ...read more.

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