Irony and paradox appear frequently in the poetry of Sir Thomas Wyatt, and certainly they appear in his poems “Farewell love” and “They Flee From Me.” In “Farewell love,” the chastened speaker bids good-bye to Cupid, the mythical god associated with cupiditas, or selfish desire. Once the identity of “love” is understood in this way, the paradoxes and ironies of the poem become especially obvious. They include the following:
- To say goodbye to Cupid, the god of false love, is implicitly to say hello to Christ, the god of true love (1).
- To refer to the “laws” of Cupid is ironic, since by definition selfish desire knows no bounds (1).
- Paradoxically, although Seneca and Plato were not Christians, they lived more virtuous lives than many Renaissance Christians and were thus numbered among the “virtuous pagans” (3). Wyatt ironically refers to these non-Christians in order to teach his Christian readers a paradoxical lesson in proper behavior.
- There is an ironic pun on the word...
(The entire section contains 556 words.)