The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

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In "The Story of an Hour," why is Louise referred to as a "goddess of victory?"

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Chopin's description of Louise as "a goddess of victory" is deeply symbolic. In the wake of what she thinks is her husband's death, Louise feels a sudden rush of liberation. She has finally achieved victory over the repressive, constricting marriage in which she'd been trapped for so long. And as she basks in the glow of victory, her whole demeanor has suddenly changed. For an all-too-brief moment, she's been transformed from a subservient wife with a serious heart condition into a strong, powerful woman in her own right.

If you think about any of the great goddesses of Ancient Greek mythology such as Athena you'll recall that they are strong, independent, and powerful. That's how Louise feels upon hearing of her husband's death, and that's why describing her as a "goddess of victory" is entirely appropriate.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This is Chopin's characterization of Louise after she emerges from the room.  I think that she can be considered a "Goddess of Victory" because she dies at the supreme moment of her triumph.  At the moment of her death, Louise has been able to transform herself from conventionally mournful housewife to the supreme architect of her own destiny, a being at peace with her freedom and autonomy as well as her place in the world.  She achieves a transcendental quality when she emerges from the room and gallantly strides down the staircase.  Chopin uses the reference of "that open window" through which Louise was "drinking in a very elixir of life."  This helps to develop the idea that Louise was moving into an "other worldly" domain, contributing to the "unwitting" descent down the staircase as a "goddess of Victory."  Louise achieves the vision of a "Goddess"  at the notion that she is "Free!  Body and soul free!"

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