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The Siren Song Essay

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Bibi King ENG 3U7 Mrs. Price June 1, 2009 The Siren Song Since the beginning of time, women have often been objectified as frail, beautiful, sexually alluring creatures, with no other object or design but that of enticing men. The Siren Song, by Margaret Atwood, addresses the way in which women use this stereotype of their own sex to their advantage in attracting men, feigning vulnerability, making a man feel unique, calling out to him for help, and then trapping him. This is depicted through the way in which the speaker addresses the reader; she first engages them with the mystery of the Siren's song, alluring them further with the promise of a secret she will tell to only them. Similar to the way in which a woman would attract a man, the speaker feigns weakness, calling out to the reader for help, and then entrapping them. The Siren song alludes to the myth of Ulysses, by Homer, in which Sirens are the woman headed, bird bodied creatures that sit on their Island, and lure sailors to their death with their beautiful song. According to The Odyssey, Ulysses, aware of the danger as his ship approaches the Island of Sirens, gives his shipmen wax to put in their ...read more.


The speaker further goes on to cry out to the reader for help, evoking in the reader a feeling of pity for the speaker, as the siren song would in the sailors, causing them to rush eagerly towards their death. Further on, imagery is used to describe the beauty of the siren, "squatting on this island looking picturesque and mythical". This displays the Sirens as objects for display, designed to lure men in, just like the beauty of a female. Finally, pity is evoked in the reader for the speaker once more with the lines "with these two feathery maniacs. I don't enjoy singing this trio, fatal and valuable in this way, the speaker cunningly convinces the reader that she is vulnerable and in need of the reader's help, eventually luring them in to their destruction. Throughout these various uses of imagery, Atwood depicts there is a sexual/feminist connotation behind the myth of the Siren. Imagery is used to emphasize the theme of feminine allure, the power female posses in attracting men and having their bidding done, simply by feigning vulnerability, and promising a secret in a satirical tone. ...read more.


Atwood also suggests a feminist tone in the poem, by portraying the sirens in as powerful, cunning creatures, who can attract men simply by feigning vulnerability, calling out for help to the sailors, making them feel unique and needed, and leading them to their deaths. Although the poem alludes to the myth of Odysseus, the dominant theme in Siren Song lies underneath it; it is the power of female attraction. Atwood is suggesting and moreover satirizing, that through the ages, women have been stereotyped, objectified as creatures who are only physically beautiful and insipid, that they are designed only for the sexual pleasure of men, but however, some women, like the sirens in Homer's myth have used this stereotype to their personal advantage in a way that is empowering to females. Such a theme reflects the media of today; in movies, music and television, women are seen using their physical beauty to attract males, convincing them to do their bidding. Such displays have had a profound effect on the females of today's youth, who subjugate themselves to the same type of predicament. Atwood is evidently aware of this underestimation of the female mind, and satirizes the way in which women use this stereotype to their personal advantage. ...read more.

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