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This is a poem that explores and questions the very nature of love as Venus is faced with scorn and disregard in response to the offers of love she gives him. From the very beginning, it is clear that the desire she has for Adonis is based on physical attraction and appearances. Note how she addresses him:
"Thrice fairer than myself," thus she began,
"The fields' chief flower, sweet above compare,
Stain to all nymphs more lovely than a man,
More white and red than doves or roses are--"
It is clear that what attracts the Goddess of Love to Adonis is nothing to do with his character or his qualities. It is his physical beauty alone that sparks her interest and her desire in him, and it is this on which her passion for him is based. Note the metaphor she uses to describe him as "The fields' chief flower," and she goes on to state that he goes beyond the normal metaphors that are used to describe beauty, such as the redness of roses and the whiteness of doves. Later in the poem, Adonis admonishes Venus about the narrow, superficial nature of such love, arguing that their is a massive difference between love based on lust alone, as she demonstrates, and more divine love.
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