Catullus's Attitudes to Women

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What are Catullus’s attitudes to Women? This focus of this commentary includes three of Catullus’s attitudes towards women. Firstly, Catullus’s attitude to love and women. Catullus has an affectionate view to love with Lesbia and this is the main attitude which he holds in the series of the poems. However, this attitude to love and women changes from positive to negative when he realises Lesbia’s infidelity, seen in Poems 5 and 10. Catullus also holds a negative attitude to other women in the poems who he sees as objects of affection and lust and not as women to love. Secondly, Catullus has an unfavourable attitude to women as he see’s women as deceitful. This attitude is seen in Poems 10 and 11 where he is deceived by Lesbia and a woman he names as a ‘tartlet’ and this leads to Catullus’s final attitude to women where he see’s women as being insatiable, this also links to the first attitude where Catullus uses women as objects to calm his desire for lust and is seen in Poems, 11, 32 and 110. The focus of the commentary is to form an argument around the statement that Catullus’s overall attitude to women is negative and derogatory. However, we will see that this is not always the case of ‘Lesbia.’ His love for Lesbia is unconditional and he treats her with higher dignity and respect to other women in the play but she is still slandered by Catullus but, not in a way which is as obscene as the other women such as Ipstilla and Aufillena. Slander in Catullus’s era is however not uncommon among men and can be seen as an effort by Catullus to portray the period in which his poems are being written in, instead of his overall attitude to women. Catullus’s main attitude to women is his attitude to love. Catullus has a gracious and genuine attitude to love, especially with Lesbia at first. In Poems 5 and 7, we see a positive attitude to his love of Lesbia with the listing

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