Sappho: Poems and Fragments
Women as drivers of violence in If Not, Winter by Sappho, The Bacchae by Euripides V, and Symposium by Plato College
The Iliad by Homer, the text which is often referred to as the beginning the Greek literary tradition, begins with an argument between Achilles and Agamemnon over a woman. This fight takes place within a war which started because of Helen, who was stolen from the Achaeans by the Trojans on account of her overwhelming beauty. This is a theme which persists throughout the Greek literary tradition at large. While it is usually the men in these kinds of books who carry out acts of violence as warriors and combatants, it is often the action of or reaction to a woman that triggers an unfortunate series of events. Women very often are construed as drivers of violence in Greek literature, as exemplified by three key works: "If Not, Winter" by Sappho, The Bacchae by Euripides, and The Symposium by Plato.
As a lesbian, Sappho provides a unique perspective on the role of women in Greek society. She is somebody who is unable to procreate with the people to whom she is sexually attracted. From these factors, it can be inferred that Sappho does not love for the purpose of investing in her lineage or family line. Rather, her love with women is purely romantic in nature. In the first fragment of "If Not, Winter," she describes the goddess of...
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