Venus and Adonis is a poem by William Shakespeare about the love between Venus, the goddess of love, and Adonis, a handsome mortal. Venus is desperate to keep Adonis by her side and resorts to offering him extravagant gifts, but Adonis remains indifferent to her advances. Ultimately, Venus tricks Adonis into being killed by a wild boar, but even in death he remains devoted to her.
The Venus and Adonis poem is one of Shakespeare’s most famous works and is often studied in schools. It is an excellent example of the power of love and its ability to overcome all obstacles. Venus and Adonis is a timeless classic that will continue to be enjoyed by audiences for many years to come.
Shakespeare embeds numerous themes throughout his plays and poems, many of which focus on love, sexuality, life, death, religion, and other subjects. In his poem Venus and Adonis, Shakespeare considers the nature of sex as a symbol of love and a function of Nature. The characters of Venus and Adonis – frequently likened to an Elizabethan fallen Adam and Eve – create a sexually charged poem that lends much of the power and influence to Nature.
Venus and Adonis is a passionate poem that speaks to the power of Nature in all aspects of life. Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis is a beautiful and timeless poem that speaks to the universal themes of love, sexuality, and Nature.
Shakespeare creates a natural phenomenon that physically links the love and activities of these two characters to the forces, both beneficial and malign, that exist inside Nature herself. Venus and Adonis are endowed with a certain amount of power or authority over the forces that reside within Nature’s powers, but Shakespeare’s construction of this sexual narrative as an expression of erotic desire as a tragic experience leads the people to inevitable ruin and loss of control over their circumstances. Shakespeare’s work can be broken down into three parts.
The first establishes Venus and Adonis’s love affair, the second details Venus’s efforts to save her lover from death, and the third shows Venus lamenting over her dead Adonis.
The poem begins with Venus, the goddess of love, admiring Adonis as he hunts in a forest near Rome. Venus is struck by Cupid’s arrow and falls in love with the beautiful youth. Despite Venus’s attempts to woo him, Adonis remains indifferent to her advances. In an effort to win his love, Venus takes on the form of a huntress and offers to teach Adonis how to hunt. Finally won over by Venus’s charms, Adonis agrees to let her teach him.
From the outset, Adonis is a very active and dynamic figure, as he leaps over hills towards his beloved (153). Throughout the first section, which is both energetic and hopeful, Adonis’ youth and Venus’ endlessly self-renewing flesh are contrasted. The love themes discovered here are entirely carnal and physically based, although there is a strong resilience in Venus’ continued attempts and efforts.
Venus is fully in control of her own body and her own desires, a theme that will be echoed later in the poem. The poem then shifts to Venus’ mourning for Adonis. She is inconsolable, even to the point of rejecting offers of food and drink from Jupiter (214).
Venus’ love for Adonis is so strong that she cannot bear to be without him, and her mourning is physical as well as emotional. She symbolically eats his flesh, incorporating him into her own body. This act allows Venus to keep Adonis with her always, and ensures that he will never be forgotten.
The Venus and Adonis Poem is a beautiful exploration of love and loss. Venus is an incredibly powerful figure, and her love for Adonis is both passionate and heartbreaking. The poem is a must-read for anyone interested in Shakespeare or in exploring the depths of human emotion.
The disorder that results from heated blood (739-42) is known as the marrow-eating sickness. In the same moment, Venus’ control over her body disappears. When she runs through the woods after hearing Adonis’ horn, her body is exposed to invasive gropings by bushes: “Some grab her by the neck, others kiss her face; / Others wrap themselves about her leg to keep her there” (873-3).
Venus is not the only one losing control in this poem, Adonis himself experiences a kind of sexual frenzy that eventually leads to his death. While Venus’ uncontrolled body is subjected to the physical advances of the forest, Adonis’ mind is filled with thoughts of sex: “He burns, and cannot choose but burn” (947).
These all-consuming thoughts about Venus eventually drive him to his death: “Not marble, nor the gilded monuments Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme; But you shall shine more bright in these contents Than unswept stone besmear’d with sluttish time.
Even after she shows her love through tangible elements of Nature, Grecian Aphrodite’s attempts to attract Adonis using pastoral metaphors have failed. Venus strives to construct a poetic Eden out of the substance of Adonis’ body and her own in the first half of Shakespeare’s poem. She tells him that he is the “field’s greatest blossom” (8), and implores him to join her on a bank of flowers, where serpents and other pests are not allowed. She then goes on to turn her own flesh into a paradisaical metaphor.
She becomes a meadow, with lilies for breasts and rubies for nipples; she even offers to cover him in roses. Adonis, understandably, is unmoved by her advances. Venus turns to threats and then to violence, but these also fail. Shakespeare’s Venus is a compelling figure because of her failure as well as her success. She is powerful, but her power does not extend to the realm of the poetic. In the end, it is Nature that takes Adonis from Venus, and she can only watch helplessly as he disappears into the earth.
The Venus and Adonis Poem is a story about love and loss. Venus, the goddess of love, falls in love with Adonis, but he does not return her feelings. Venus tries to win him over with poetry and flowers, but Adonis is not interested. Venus turns to threats and violence, but she still cannot make him love her. In the end, Nature takes Adonis away from Venus and she is left heartbroken.