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Poetry

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 2 months ago

I found the names Blake chooses to use in Daughters of Albion very interesting. The name Theotormon is from the Greek word for god (theo) and the Latin word for torment (tormentum). Oothoon is from the poem “Oithona” by James Macpherson. In the poem the heroine is raped by then revenged by her lover. The one I found the most interesting was Bromion which in Greek meens “roarer,” but it is also an appellation for Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and fertility. In Greek mythology there were women followers of Dionysus called Maenads that, under the hypnotizing spell of Dionysus, became wild and insane. While entranced, they became violent to the point of sexual activity, eating raw flesh, and ripping apart animals and children they encountered in their frenzied dance. The fact that Blake draws on this comparison comments on the absolute control Bromion had over the body of Oothoon and that the planters had over the colonies. It relates it to a trance like state which deeper control than just force. It emphasizes the weakness of Oothoon and the fact that women had absolutely no control over their own bodies. It is also echoed in Bromion’s view of America. “Stamp’d with my signet are the swarthy children of the sun;/ They are obedient, they resist not, they obey the scourge;/ Their daughters worship terrors and obey the violent” (ln 21-23).

 

Erica

 

 

I too found it interesting that Wheatley chose to write her discourse through very proper, what I would otherwise call white man;s poetry, and numerous allusions to Greek mythology. To me, this route is very similar to that taken by Sancho and Gronniosaw who used christianity to gain access to discourse and essentially establish themselves in the realm of the white man. I also thought it was very different to read advocations of anti-slavery in such an almost pretty language. Because she chose to write in such an elaborate poetic style, at first it almost made what she was saying less horrible as if the fluffy words could cover up what was really being said. Then again, maybe Wheatley knew this and knew how so many others before her who wrote in this style addressed many contraversial topics as well, and maybe this was almost their way of getting away with it, For example, when I think back to works like Paradise Lost or even going back to the Greek myths themselves, all written in this type of elaborate prose, all contain deeper messages of which are not lost in fluffy words. In other words, I guess I am then impressed that she could tap into such an achieved discourse, that is so highly praised for the white man, and turn it around and use it as a black woman to highlight the injustices she experienced.

 

Jillian

 

I thought it very clever that Blake used the Greek’s mythology to frame ideas about slavery.  In Christianized society the pagan god’s of history’s most respected thinkers (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, etc) and most captivating heroes (men like Alexander the Great believed in these deities) has fascinated them.  Although in their minds, they now have attained a ‘true’ religion and the pagan’s unfortunately never received salvation, they help pagan stories and lines of thought in high regard.  Often mythological writings were reread with the hope of finding themes that could be considered allegorically Christian. They did this because there was a sense of these tales still having importance that they still held important truths, although heathens wrote them.  Blake’s poems are brilliant because she utilizes the distant sense of otherness associated with pagan theology; mingled with the spender of the Greek god’s emanate.  Thus she gives her poem credibility by placing it in a backdrop so idolized by European society and elegance of by writing so elaborately.  She creates a story in a fashion western civilization has yet to tire of and by transplanting her situation into another genre she removes the shroud of blackness her peers were never able to shed.      

 

 

Alyssa

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