midterm paper - Arika Bourbina Midterm Essay Engl 203...

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Arika Bourbina 3/11/2008 Midterm Essay Engl 203 Homosexuality in Ancient Greece Homosexuality is a topic often skirted in today’s society as one that is politically incorrect, a taboo topic, and known largely as a subculture. Certain religious factions deem participating in homosexual acts wrong, unholy, and unnatural. In addition, in a super power such as the United States of America, it still not acceptable for a gay man or woman to be a part of the army, or a gay couple to get married and enjoy the same freedoms as a heterosexual couple would. However, homosexuality is certainly not a new development; it was crucial throughout the ages, in particular that of Ancient Greece where it was seen as not only accepted, but was a part of every day life and practiced by the whole of society. One of the most prolific homosexual historical figures to come out of Ancient Greece was the poet Sappho. Sappho lived somewhere between 630 and 612 B.C.E, and died 570 B.C.E (Sappho). She was born on the island of Lesbos, which is where we get our English word “lesbian” (Jorgensen). The narrators of Sappho’s poems talk about love for various women; and this is lent also to the fact that evidence of Sappho’s own life made its way into her poetry. So it is from a historical standpoint, clear that Sappho did indeed have sexual feelings for women. “Women come and go from Sappho’s presence while Sappho expresses love form them and intense regret at their departure, especially for Anactoria who has left Lesbos to ‘shine’ among the Lydians (Fox 77). “ There is more to this language than close friendship; she really desires these ladies, Anactoria or
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Gonglya or Atthis, and she expresses desire with fine analogies from the natural world. Sappho is the most sharp eyes poetess of flowers: bruised purple violet but the milky white violet which is native to her land, a ‘Lesbian pansy’ with petals the colour of fine female skin” (78). Through time attempts to quell this evidence has been shown—for example the Victorian era (Sappho). In addition, there is evidence that Sappho greatly worshiped the goddess Aphrodite, as shown in “Hymn to Aphrodite” (Jorgensen.) In a greater context, in ancient Greece the love between two men, usually an older man and a younger boy was considered the most fulfilling (Jorgensen). “Men of ancient Greece may have idealized homosexuality because they believed that another male could fulfill the role of true friend and lover” (Weinberg 307). The most freely expressed love was for a youth of the same sex, not least
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This note was uploaded on 04/25/2008 for the course ENGL 203 taught by Professor Jorgensen during the Winter '08 term at Saginaw Valley.

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midterm paper - Arika Bourbina Midterm Essay Engl 203...

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