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His Discourse with Cupid

Ben Jonson’s “His Discourse with Cupid” is a poem not about cupid, but about his mother, Aphrodite or Venus, or in this case referred to as Charis. In this poem, Cupid is having a conversation with Love, a being who had various interactions with Charis. Cupid, as the son of Charis, expresses his emotions towards his mother by vividly describing her features. These are her attributes which attract the males around her, regardless whether they’re men or gods.

Cupid stresses that as her dutiful son, he is governed by Charis not only by her beauty, but also by the blood that runs through his veins. He is there to do her biddings, for he admires his mother the most. Cupid explained how Charis used him to do her biddings by attributing her bending of eyebrows to the bending of his bows. Cupid, whose main tool for work is his bow an arrows, shows how powerful Charis is over him.

If she wants anyone to fall in love with whoever she wishes, then cupid has to willingly oblige. Not many people notice this, as their admiration for Charis is much more of a physical attraction. They see her with perfect features, which would sweep the men off their judgment and would not see that deep inside Charis was a powerful goddess, along the lines of Juno and Minerva. Cupid exposes how her mother is not just a goddess of love and beauty, but also of vengeance and of will power.

Despite her looks, she should not be taken likely, especially because Cupid aids her. Cupid greatly influences one of man’s weaknesses, which is the heart. Despite all his grievances, Cupid expressed his love for his mother by doing everything she wanted. He is but a tool of the powerful goddess, and he understands that he will be manipulated whatever way she can to have her own way of things.

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