Monday, March 26, 2012


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Eros, Agape, and Philia Love

Philia is a type of unconditional, brotherly love. The related Greek word “koinonia” is very close to philia, which means fellowship. This type of love is usually common in family and friendship relationships. The type of love that is present in a family has a lot to do with loyalty. “My Papa’s Waltz”, written by Theodore Roethke in 148, is a poem that illustrates philia genuinely. In this poem, the speaker discusses how a certain type of behavior by a fatherly figure hurts a person. It seems as if the father is abusing a small child, yet, the child remains loyal to the father and unconditional love is present. In many families, parents and siblings may be mean, crude, or just down right boastful and hurt one another. In most cases, a family virtue is forgiveness, which in turn will save a family from breaking away from each other, which in turn will save them from much heartache.

I believe that the title “My Papa’s Waltz” is a perfect title for the type of situation. A waltz is a simple routine, which includes a certain number of steps and a certain number of ways to perform the dance. The same thing happens in the poem. For example, the speaker may be trying to give the perception that this behavior portrayed by the father is simply a routine. Also, dancing involves motion. The speaker touches base upon the fact that they are constantly romping past the different rooms in the house. The speaker


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states “ You beat time on my head with a palm caked hand by dirt, then waltzed me off to bed, still clinging to your shirt”. The fact that the speaker claims to be clinging to the shirt proves that there is an unconditional type of love that is present. The speaker describes the abusive situation that he is put in. Yet, in the end he still seeks his father’s affection and love. This proves that the horrible abuse will not defeat unconditional love. The speaker sees something underneath his father and feels that in the depth of his soul, there may be an impeccable ounce of love waiting to be discovered.

Another type of love that is common is agape. Agape can be defined as a God-given motivation that seeks the best for the beloved on the highest moral plane. In a nutshell, it is a loyal covenant- keeping love. I am very biased when it comes to Agape love. I was raised in a religious household and have attended private schools for a great portion of my life. I feel that not all people can see the real beauty of an “agape” lifestyle. In present day and age, it takes someone to get cancer, or have a near death experience to truly appreciate what they have.

“Glory be to God for all dappled things.” This is the first line from the poem “Pied Beauty”. Right away, the audience can see that agape love is present. This poem, written in 1877, was very straight forward and basically put everything out on the table. The speaker’s tone seems to be very gracious and filled with a deep sense of gratitude. The speaker sees the beauty in everyday things, such as “skies of couple- colour as a brinded cow” and for “rose-moles all in a stipple upon the trout that swim”. It seems extremely odd hearing the speaker say this. I use to work on a farm giving children tours


of animals, and the only people who ever actually saw the beauty in a cow’s color were the children. I find it odd because children are so innocent. The simplest thing will please a child, and they will find beauty and love. Yet, with adults, the hustle of everyday life surpasses the actual meaning of life.

The last line of the poem is “He father’s forth whose beauty is past change Praise him”. I feel that the speaker knows that there have been many man-made additions to our world. The speaker could quite possibly also feel that human beings try to play God. In addition, we humans praise these people who pose as “Our Creator”, instead of actually giving credit to God. The speaker’s tone in the last line comes off as stern, as opposed to his sincere tone in the previous stanzas. The main point, that is clearly being projected by the speaker, is to realize that God has created such a divine place here on earth filled with beauty and love, and to just acknowledge what humans were given and be grateful.

Eros is the last type of love that will be presented in this paper. This is the first type of love that generally pops into a person head once the “L- word” is used. Eros is a sexual, romantic, and self-directed love. Perhaps it is because Eros was a Greek god with a bad reputation. This type of love is the kind that is shown through marriage. It comes with a great deal of passion, romance, and sex. Eros is a part of society’s everyday life. This is the most accepting type of love. We see it in the movies, on television, on the Internet, or we hear about it on the radio. It is more acceptable to see an unmarried couple in bed, than going to church on a television program.

Castellanos 4

The last poem I will be reflecting upon is “To His Coy Mistress”, written by Andrew Marvell in 1681. The reason I chose this specific poem to represent eros is because it has a contrast between love and hate. The speaker is a man who is trying to seduce a young lady into sleeping with him. The speaker’s tone is very melodious and he appears to be in love. He is describing every single part of her body and soul. He uses very colorful language. For example, the speaker says, “An hundred years should go to praise thine eyes, on thy forehead gaze. Two hundred to adore each breast, but thirty thousand for the rest”. The speaker is complimenting this girl and doing whatever it takes to make her feel superb among other women. The fact that he claims to adore every inch of her body leads me to believe that he is idolizing her. Many females are enchanted receiving compliments. Towards the end of the poem, he starts to pressure the female into sleeping with him. From the compliments, he slowly starts informing her that beauty only lasts so long. He states, “ Thus, though we cannot make our sun, stand still, and yet we will make him run”. The speaker is trying to persuade the idea that death is oh but so near. He is tempting her into thinking that there is only so much time for everything and it will soon come to an end. I believe the speaker uses the years that he will take to adore her as a foreshadowing of what is coming up next in his devious thoughts. He persuaded a female to think that all his life, and basically into eternity, he would adore her every inch. Yet, it is merely impossible, therefore, he has to skip the adoration and cut straight to the chase, which is simply sex.

Love is the most complicated subject, which most major arts are eager to deal with. This subject is sometimes easy to define, but sometimes difficult. A common person or philosopher may have their own opinions about love differently, but each of them is equally valuable. That is why we ultimately have different types of love, which include eros, agape, and philia.

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