French Literature Practice Commentary
Le Poison – Charles Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire wrote the poem ‘Le Poison’ within his collection of poetry titled ‘Les Fleures du Mal’ that wes released in 1857 during the modernist and symbolist literary movements. The themes of this collection of poems were mainly revolved around the negative qualities of human nature, industrialism and women which can all be easily linked to the title ‘Les Fleures du Mal’ and the obvious juxtaposition and symbolism within it. This particular poem is very interesting as it explores different types of drugs, sins and ‘poisons’ in our society, taking the reader on a dark journey from wine, to opium, to women and then to ‘la mort’ from the point of view of Baudelaire himself. Within the first stanza, Baudelaire speaks of the idyllic world that is created when he drinks wine; the ‘portiques’ that are created that allows the reader to imagine multiple doors opening; multiple possibilities that can take us away from the ‘sordide bouge’ to the ‘soleil couchant dans un ciel nébuleux’. The contrast between these two images shows the transformation of Baudelaire’s perception of his surrounding whilst intoxicated, portraying his disappointment with society and his wish for escapism. Furthermore, this opposition is emphasised by the fact that line one and five do not rhyme and how they have been spaced far apart showing how Baudelaire does not want his idyllic world to be corrupted by reality. Rich colour imagery is used in this stanza, ‘or’, ‘rouge’, to convey to the reader the warmth that is felt whilst drinking wine and also a certain comfort and security that Baudelaire feels as he seems to have to rely on wine to be able to dream of these idealist and picturesque worlds. I believe this is the reason why Baudelaire has written about this substance under the title ‘poison’ as he appears to be addicted by its powers of illusion and ability to give warmth to a gloomy hovel. The lexical field of...
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