Flashcards in Catullus Struggles with Love Deck (25)
Two halves of the poem:
L1-12 describe Catullus's predicament
L13-26 show him agonising over a solution.
Themes of the poem
> Catullus’s mental struggle
> Emotional and personal language
> Religious and financial imagery
> Catullus’s egocentricity
'Siqua recordanti benefacta priora voluptas'
If there is for a man any pleasure
Voluptas (pleasure) is placed at the end of the line to convey it in a cynical way as if perhaps there is no pleasure.
Poem starts off generalising for all men, but it becomes clear that it it about Catullus himself.
'sanctum', 'divum', 'numine'
Religious vocabulary highlights how Catullus feels he has acted in line with the wishes of the Gods.
forceful negatives emphasise his point.
'multa' and 'gaudia'
much and joy
These words should naturally be placed together, but Catullus has changed it so that joy is next to love. This shows how happiness in love is unnatural to him.
first expression of discontent.
Catullus talks about people in general, but it is clear he is really only interested in himself.
'dicere', 'facere'/ 'dicta', 'facta'
say and do
Chiasmus and use of bland vocabulary express the poet's depressed state of mind.
Financial imagery adds to the idea that Catullus is owed something.
Links to Lesbia being rational and calculating.
Quare iam te cur amplius excrucies?
(Why, why now will you torture yourself further?)
quin tu animo offirmas atque istinc teque reducis
(Why do you not be firm in your heart and lead yourself back from there,)
et dis invités dessinais esse miser?
(And stop being love-sick while the gods are unwilling (to help you)?)
Made emphatic by:
> Putting excrucies at end of line for emphasis.
> 3 verbs in 2nd Person (excrucies, offirmas, reducis)
> Personal Pronouns (tu etc)
> 'miser' placed at end of line, sentence and first half of poem.
firm in your heart.
'istinc te que reducis'
lead yourself back from there
L12: 'Et did invitis desinis esse miser?'
And stop being love-sick while the gods are unwilling (to help you)?
Sibilance conveys the poet's disgust.
Juxtaposition highlights the difficulty faced.
‘hoc… haec… hoc… hoc’
‘sive non pote… sive pote’
Anaphora used to create a forceful, military tone.
you must make it. You must do this
enforce the militaristic tone used int he second half of the poem.
'o di, si...'
Oh Gods, if...
Typical beginning of a prayer.
Repetition of 'si' (if) + aspicite (look upon) + 'erupt' (snatch)
Creates a sense of pleading.
Overblown language suggests self-mockery?
‘me miserum, pestem perniciemque’
Lovesick me, plague and destruction.
Alliteration, emphasises Catullus's strength of feeling combined with the painful physical effects of love.
L17 + 18: Lots of M sounds
‘me’… ‘egi’… ‘mihi’… ‘mihi'
Reverts the focus of the poem back to himself.
'expulit ex omni pectore laetitias'
has driven out joy from my heart completely.
> expulit is emphatically placed at beginning.
> Omni placed before picture to emphasis the force of the disease.