Stories of myths and legends have appeared in many forms of literature throughout the centuries. As we look closely at them we get a glimpse into the culture, the history, and beliefs of that time period. We can see how certain groups of people were treated and used during that time. For instance, many women were written off as weak, helpless, unintelligent, and many more unfavorable things. Although there were a few stories where women were thought off as sneaky and wise and used their beauty as a way to get what they wanted. I felt there were many misinterpretations of what really happened in these stories since the writer usual male, created their own disillusional interpretation of their characters. In the story of Apollo and Daphne, you can see passion, love, and willingness flow throughout the pages. Most people read it and find it a typical love story rather than a tragedy since Apollo gets his love at the end (Daphne). Although if you take a closer look at the story, for instance the part where she turns into a tree, don’t you think that she is trapped in an unhealthy relationship and has no say in what he does to her? To give just a little insight on the background of the story Cupid hits Apollo with the golden arrow of love after Apollo assaults Cupid in the forest. Cupid then shoots a nymph named Daphne with the arrow tipped with lead. The gold arrow makes people fall in love while the lead arrow does the opposite. Apollo falls in love with Daphne instantly but she runs away instead since she shuns all love, marriage, and children after being hit with the lead arrow. This is Apollo’s punishment, for Daphne will only run from Apollo not accepting his love. Daphne then tells her father Peneus, the river god, that she wants to always be a virgin. Peneus tells his daughter that she owes him some grandchildren but she begs not to and Peneus ends up agreeing to her request that she would never marry. Apollo continues to chase after Daphne, physically and while during a chase Daphne cries out to her father at the river for safety from Apollo. Peneus then transforms her into a tree for her protection. Apollo then hugs and kisses Daphne as a tree, and claims that she is his tree forever and that her leaves will decorate his hair, quiver, and all Roman soldiers shall wear her leaves.There was a sense of imbalance between the characters. Although there was not a lack of order within the story yet and unfairness that came from the male characters. But Apollo descended into a complete sexual response to Daphne after being hit by the golden arrow. There was an underlying tone of purity that was being held away from him. But the balance of love was tipped to one side on the love scale. Apollo’s love was like fire and physical while Daphne wanted nothing to do with love. It all started when Apollo decided to anger Cupid which started the whole mess. “Now the first girl Apollo loved was Daphne, whose father was the river-god Peneus. And this was no blind chance but Cupid’s malice. Apollo, with Pride and Glory still upon him over the python slain, saw Cupid bending his tight strung little bow. “Oh silly youngster,” he said, “What are you doing with such weapon?” Those are for grown-ups!” (Apollo and Daphne, lines 451-459). This part to me plays into male weakness. It shows Apollo as full of himself and has no boundaries already. It sets up the story and foreshadows the end to where he still has no boundaries. The chase was a particular part of the story where he was becoming more and more physical towards her before her final escape of turning into a tree. She was unwilling to ever love him. It was dictated by the divine being (Cupid) of how their love story played out. In stories like Apollo and Daphne, women were not treated as human in the same sentence as the male characters were. They were looked at as objects hence her being turned into a tree. She became his object that he loved and cherished an obsessed over. There are many versions of the story of Apollo and Daphne most being written by men. The writer played into the passionate and fiery Apollo and showed that he could get whatever he wanted even if it was his punishment. I feel as though the writers and storytellers that have passed the story along over the years focused more on Apollo then Daphne’s wants or needs. We don’t really ever hear about the nature of their relationship before the story. We only have side details about who they were and how they came to be. The writer stated that she was a beautiful woman and that he was a handsome man determined for the perfect love story since setting up the characters that way. I thought that she was at the wrong place at the wrong time since their connection only came to be once she was struck by the arrow. In the book about Love and Lust A.H. Lesser brings up the points about love and how it can be a sickness upon its beholders. “He employed the word love in a somewhat ambiguous sense, so that you were never quite sure where you were with it, or whether he had reference to its sacred or its passionate and fleshy aspect – and this doubt gave one a slightly seasick feeling” (Lesser 51). Saying that love is an ambiguous sense makes the point that love comes in all forms, never the same with each person. The way you love your partner may be perceived differently than the way they feel towards you. As many people read these stories, they sometimes call it a sad love story. Most of the time the story is told to children to show them the power of falling in love and sometimes giving boys the wrong idea about how to approach girls. The build-up of empathy was not mentioned for Daphne’s end, only for Apollo. He wore her leaves as a way to represent her. For the Greeks and Romans for the Laurel wreath as a symbol of victory and honor. Looking more closely at the text you see the writer use words like “gazing upon” and “wishful thinking” to describe the lust Apollo have for Daphne’s body. He talks about her beauty in the way her body looks but never goes in the detail but who she is as a person. In Lesser’s book he brought up points about what is the divide between love and obsession. “To try to make a clear-cut distinction between the passionate and soulful – that would, no doubt, be analytical. But we feel that it would also be inept… Is it not well done that our language has but one word for all kinds of love, from the holiest to the most lustfully fleshy? All ambiguity is therein resolved: love cannot but be physical, at its furthest stretch of holiness; it cannot be impious, in its utterest fleshiness… In the most raging as in the most reverent passion, there must be Caritas.” (Lesser 52). We see that there are distinction that divide the crazed for love in many way. Story writers and us as humans make love out to be purely physical most of the time since we look with our eyes rather than our brain. We see something pretty and won’t stop talking about it or them for days. We base this on what we saw versus what we can’t see which is there soul or personality. It brings forth ideas that we love only based on appearance which is not the case all the time yet wins most love battle that we go through, through our life. We see attractive actors or actresses and fall in love with the way they look, posting pictures of them on our walls and looking them up time to time to see what they are up too. We see this in Apollo and Daphne except they are shot with love and hate arrows but helps simplify the idea of lust versus love. I felt so that Daphne was being wrongfully punished even those Apollo’s punishment. Since now she is for every tree she is stuck with Apollo loving her. For for this is unwanted by Daphne what was the only way to escape the Apollo. In the passage about the way Apollo talks about he body shows that he loves the way she looks and feels but doesn’t even know her. “He gazes at her eyes- they shine like stars! He gazes at her lips, and knows that gazing it’s not enough. He marvels that her fingers, her hands, her waist, her arms, bare to the shoulder, and what he does not see he thinks is better” (Apollo and Daphne, lines 505-509). His obsession is clear to the reader that he is all for her and no one else. But we have to remember that this was caused by an arrow shot by Cupid yet this a great representations of how love and lust works. Love is the instant feeling of endearment toward another person while being caring with emotional attachment. On the side Lust is a strong sexual desire based on physical attraction (Alva). There are many form of attraction yet love can only being obtain on an emotional level with that other person. Some say this is a love story but I say it’s a tragedy by the way it was written. Apollo gets her in the end but only because she’s now a tree. It’s a one-sided love since Apollo is the only one loving her. Yet there still a lot we don’t know about these characters if we did have other stories about them. Humans have been talking about love since the day we started thinking. Its a topic that controls our mind and body at times. It’s a journey that we all go through that deterems happiness or sadness at the end. Self-realization comes into play for these characters and everyday people. I find that these authors write to relate to their audience since all humans what a sense of connects between one and other and not feel left out. Kottman the author of Defying the Stars: Tragic Love as the Struggle for Freedom in Romeo and Juliet brings up the point about what a character like Romeo and Juliet have to go through. “Kottman argues that the representation of amorous love in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet gets its dramatic traction from the fact that “love” names a struggle for freedom and self-consciousness, through which Romeo and Juliet each seeks to claim their life as their own. This struggle for self-realization requires each to find herself or himself in the other and cannot be accommodated by or reconciled to any inheritable form of human belonging, such as the family, the state, or civil society. “Love” in Romeo and Juliet is a struggle for freedom and self-realization, to which communal forms of life such as the family or the city are blind and where the deepest communal commitments are devalued.”(Kottman 35). There are connects to be made from all love stories since the stages of belonging come into play each and every time. The transformation at the end didn’t fix the problem only stopped it from getting any further than where it was. It put a pause on the chase but didn’t stop Apollo from loving her. He claimed her as his tree and that he would love her forever. There was a quote at the very end stating “the laurel, stirring seems to consent to be saying Yes.” which was definitely not what she was thinking or saying if she could. I feel as though Apollo was believing that and the writer put that on the show that it was a happy ending. Even though throughout the whole story she wanted nothing to do with him. In an article written by Mykol C. Hamilton about how male and female roles are played, there points brought up about how sexist some writing pieces are. For Daphne’s case she is represented as an object and asked for none of this. It was malediven since Cupid, Peneus and Apollo contributed to her pain. “There were nearly twice as many male as female title and main characters. Male characters appeared 53% more times in illustrations. Female main characters nurtured more than male main characters did, and they were seen in more indoor than outdoor scenes. Occupations were gender stereotyped, and more women than men appeared to have no paid occupation.” (Hamilton 41). In older works of writing and literature you see more sexist views towards women. It’s cultural and a fact of the time that, that were how the women were raised to be, beneath men. They did not know any better unless shown otherwise or rebelled against than men in their lives. But most of these women came from a male dominated world so standing out really showed. For Daphne though, she was used and saw as a love object and nothing more. We can take from these types of stories an sense of power that women need to adhere to or else men will keep walking all over us if we do not say no. I believe that the writer’s message through the story was based on lust rather than love. Since the love was one-sided and only once so far it showed the obsession apollo head towards Daphne that created his journey for ” love”. Based on this it didn’t focus on the female perspective, only the male. Which gives you the idea that her importance was only for apollo’s happiness. Quotes from the text can clear up any idea of true love and see that he was lusting over her instead.”He yielded, by her beauty kept arguing against her prayer. Apollo love at first sight; he wanted to marry Daphne. He hoped for what he wants – all wishful thinking” (Apollo and Daphne, lines 492- 495). This instant fill of love running through his body makes him think that this is the love of his life as the writer paints him as a romantic, he brings in the ways he feel about her body which is not the only thing she can give to him nor does she want to. This closed mindedness is hard to get around since there was no escape from the curse put upon him.Although we can say that love defines no gravity, we make love more of a physical thing in these stories like Apollo and Daphne. Love is shown as the driver to start and end of a relationship. As living creatures that require attention, we have to understand ourselves before we go letting other people in. Self journeys that we all go through that make us a better person at the end of the day. “If you can’t love yourself, then how the hell can you love anybody else!” (RuPaul). After hearing RuPaul (Drag Queen) say that, I truly understood what it takes to love one’s self. Work CitedAlva, Michelle. “Navigation.” Mindbodygreen, 12 Sept. 2016, www.mindbodygreen.com/wc/michelle-alva.Lesser, A. H. The Journal of Value Inquiry: Love and Lust. Vol. 14, ser. 1, Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague/Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1990.Kottman, Paul A. “Defying the Stars: Tragic Love as the Struggle for Freedom in Romeo and Juliet.” Shakespeare Quarterly, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 5 Apr. 2012, Hamilton, Mykol C., et al. “Gender Stereotyping and Under-Representation of Female Characters in 200 Popular Children’s Picture Books: A Twenty-First Century Update.” SpringerLink, Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers, 6 Dec. 2006, Ovid, and Horace Gregory. The metamorphoses. Signet Classic, 2001.
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