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Short critical analysis of Poem 5.

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bakam93 | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 24, 2011 at 1:54 AM via web

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Short critical analysis of Poem 5.

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 24, 2011 at 2:31 AM (Answer #1)

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Catullus' "Poem 5" is perhaps the most famous of his works. The poem, all about the love between two people, depicts the importance of placing their shared love above all other things. For Catullus, the speaker, it seems that he wishes nothing more than to focus his life on the love between himself and his love.

That being said, critically, the poem offers a very specific light on the power of love. It seems that regardless of anything else, the love shared grows from the initial "brief light" to the "many kisses shared."

One could justify that this is one of the most romantic poems ever written. Focus does not lie upon anything but the singular kiss. The kiss, or more specifically the thousands of kisses, become symbolic of the love the two share. The melting of one kiss into another simply acts as a metaphor for the love shared. While one can not witness the emotion of love from an outside viewpoint, one can examine the physicality of a kiss.

Therefore, the kiss represents love. A love grows exponentially over time. The kisses shared in the poem do as well--to the point one kiss cannot be separated from another.

Ultimately, Catullus is providing a new look at love. Here has accomplished it. He has provided a image which many are familiar with and aligned it with a concept few truly understand.

In the end, nothing matters but the love between Catullus and Lesbia. In reality, nothing else should when love like this is found.

What is curious is the name "Lesbia." Catullus used the name as a pseudonym for himself. Also, the name can be seen as a reference to the island of Lesbos--a place notoriously depicted as a place filled with erotic descriptions.

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