Art of Love - Ovid

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The Art of Love
Framing for a Misogynist

The poetry of Ovid exemplified in The Art of Love is one of the only examples of the contemporary social behavior exhibited during the time of Rome. Ovid writes about social activities, proper style, women, and how to obtain them. Through Ovid’s perspective, there are three different ways to consider a woman. These three views include relating a woman to a game, a beautiful treasure, and as a means to assert social status. Comparatively, Andreas Capellanus writes in a way that makes women seem respected, worthy and as something to a man would willingly devote his life to. Both men have a clear fascination with women and their relationship to men. However, their distinct writing styles cause distinct perceptions of women in society.

Ovid specifically addresses men in his first and second books. He “Women can always be caught; that’s the first rule of the game” (Art 1. 257-287), says Ovid speaking to men and telling them that they must be confident when they are trying to “catch” women. Ovid sees women as a pleasurable activity, and to him they are fish. He simply must catch them, and that process is a game. It is an enjoyable game that he spends much of his time playing. There is a danger to this game, and Ovid seems to thrive on the challenge that he faces while playing this game. The consequences can be grave. According to many men, including Ovid, “many a wound she [any woman] has caused; many a wound she will give” (Art 1. 257-287). However, risking his heart in return for the pleasure of a woman is well worth it in Ovid’s mind.

Similarly, Capellanus speaks of the game of attraction that occurs between men and women. Capellanus refers to this phenomenon as meditating, as he carefully provides men with the planning that is involved with obtaining a woman. He goes even farther to say that, “not ever kind of meditation can be the cause of love, an excessive one is required; for a restrained thought does...
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