Analysis

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 380

Sor Juana does employ several figures of speech to make her point: that foolish men tempt women to sexual sin and then blame those women for their own sins as well as men's own. They "lay / the guilt on women, / not seeing [they're] the cause / of the very thing [they] blame." She uses a simile to say that such a man "act[s] just like a child / who plays the bogeyman / of which he's then afraid." Such foolish men create the very thing they abhor: women who are not virtuous.

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Sor Juana employs an allusion when she says that a foolish man "hope[s] to find a Thais" in the woman he courts, but he wants her to be "a Lucretia" after he has slept with her. Thais was a famous Greek hetaera, or companion (like a courtesan), a woman who famously took several lovers. Lucretia lived in ancient Rome and was the virtuous and lovely wife of a nobleman until she was raped by a prince. She asked her husband to avenge her, and then she killed herself. One woman cannot be both a Thais and a Lucretia, and men are "foolish" to expect them to be.

The narrator uses a metaphor to compare such a man to one "who mists / a mirror and then complains / that it's not clear." Here, the woman is the mirror. The man "ruins" her and then is upset when she is "ruined." She also uses a metaphor to compare women's freedom to a bird that flies away when she says, "Your lover's moans give wings / to women's liberty." Having been "spoiled" or "ruined," the woman is no longer free in society; she is lesser or worse than other women.

Finally, the narrator says,

Patent is your arrogance
that fights with many weapons
since in promise and insistence
you join world, flesh and devil.

She uses a metaphor to compare the foolish men's arrogance to a soldier who has lots of weapons with which to defeat women's refusals (while the women, really, have no weapons).

Sor Juana employs several metaphors and other comparisons in order to convey the idea that men foolishly corrupt women and then expect women to be virtuous. She points out the contradictions in this type of behavior as well as the double standards.

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