Comparing the Forgotten God of Love in Robert Bridges’ Poem EPÙÓ and Anne Stevenson’s Poem Eros

Comparing the Forgotten God of Love in Robert Bridges’ Poem EPÙÓ and Anne Stevenson’s Poem Eros

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Comparing the Forgotten God of Love in Robert Bridges’ Poem EPÙÓ and Anne Stevenson’s Poem Eros


It is often—in books, poems, paintings, and sculptures—that one hears of and sees the goddess of love. But when is it that one hears of the god? In Greek mythology, Eros is the god of love, and a god who is many times overlooked. In Robert Bridges’ “EPÙÓ” and Anne Stevenson’s “Eros”, the idea that Eros is overlooked is portrayed, but in two separate ways. Techniques such as diction, imagery, and tone are used to help convey the idea.

EPÙÓ, Greek for Eros, is shown to be beautiful in Bridges’ poem: beautiful and adored, yet forgotten. Eros is venerated—called “idol”, and he plagues the heart as a “tyrant.” He is a “flower” of “lovely youth,” and an image of “eternal truth.” Through these strong words, Eros is portrayed to be the god that people all look up to in admiration for his credible honor and ideal beauty. Eros is so striking that only the famous Pheidias, the Greek Sculptor, can compare through his “marmoreal” works. Greek sculptors strove for perfection and this Eros was—perfection. Although giving thought and love to others, he received none back, yet continued his job without complaint. People recognize the youth and beauty of love with the vivid images that Bridges uses. “With thy exuberant flesh so fair,” people are able to see Eros’s outward beauty. At that instantaneous moment, people are enthralled by Eros’ splendor, but once they are satisfied, they forget, and their momentary enchantment disappears. “None who e’er long’d for thy embrace, Hath cared to look upon thy face.” All those who yearned for love, received it, but once having done so, neglected to see and look upon Eros. By using these beautiful words and...


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... for lust, but he would rather take the effects of it—being beaten and hurt—then cave in and support not love, but lust. Eros was made into a dilapidated, worn out god by the people who used him. He is “the archetypes that you create,” and thus shown to be an undesirable and unsightly god due to people’s demands for lust.

In both poems, Eros is misunderstood and forgotten. The proper respects for the one who grants love, and thus happiness is not given. Through the different uses of diction and imagery, different tones were established in the two poems. In Bridges’ “EPÙÓ,” Eros is shown to be the forgotten beauty, and in Stevenson’s “Eros,” Eros is portrayed as the broken, tired, and misunderstood god. Contrasting, yet similar, both poems depicted Eros, the god of love, as a neglected god, often finding himself in situations where improper respects were paid.

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