Beauty: Its Allure and Elusiveness Research Paper

Pages: 4 (1403 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Literature

Beauty: Its Allure and Elusiveness as presented in the poem "Hymn to Beauty," by Charels Bauderlaire

It is enough to take a look at how the concept of beauty changed along history to understand that beauty is truly an ever changing subjective projection of a specific culture at a certain time and place. Physical beauty is one of the aspects of beauty that appears to have fascinated humanity since ancient times. Praxiteles and his sculptures are a solid reference in art even today. He might have created what could be considered the ideal curve of the human body, perfection in terms of form and movement. Beauty in all its forms subjugates and leads artists as well as commoners to search for the perfect form. Although two people may find the same picture, sculpture or human being beautiful, they often have different features of that object that resonates in them. Charles Baudelaire's poem "Hymn to Beauty" mirrors the poet's struggles to find and retain beauty in its purest forms in spite of his conviction that everything related to this search is condemned to lead to a loss of sanity or even destruction. Regardless of what makes a particular object or human being worthy of being "beautiful," it is the way towards finding that beauty that often makes people act in contradiction to their principles and own character and sometimes, even loose their minds. Beauty's relativity makes the concept hard to define. There may be as many definitions for it as there are people. The purpose of beauty is more susceptible of finding a broader definition, though.

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According to Baudelaire's confession in the poem, the poet is searching for beauty because "it opens the door for me to an Infinity I love and I have never known" (Hymn to Beauty, p. xxi) and because beauty renders "the universe less hideous and less heavily leaden." Some may be searching for the perfect figure or form because they like the journey, even though they know they will never find it. Others become obsessed with finding beauty because of its potential to enlighten and, as in Baudelaire's poem's case, to make the world seem a better place.

Research Paper on Beauty: Its Allure and Elusiveness as Presented Assignment

There is a duality related to beauty, both in its purposes and in its origins that the poet is alluding to. Conventionally, beauty is associated with the good, the positive side of things. Representations of angels, for example, will always depict beautiful human beings. Whereas, the opposite of beauty, ugliness is to be found in the world of evil that is represented through what humanity usually perceives as hideous. Baudelaire challenges this conventional representations in his poem and probably in a moment of suffering the search for the perfect form has caused him, he writes down a hymn to beauty, posing as an eternal prisoner caught in its prison without escape.

The poem may be a hymn to the beauty of the human body as well as a hymn to any other form of beauty. While some may reach ecstasy in the beauty of a mathematical formula as a representation of the absolute truth, others are ecstatic in front of a beautiful human body or the beauty of perfect rhyme. There is also the beauty of the mind or that of a soul that may lead to someone being assessed as a beautiful person.

Baudelaire's "Hymn to Beauty" abounds of references to what appears to be the beauty of the human body, although it may also be just a form of expression. The poet has chosen the language of a lover who goes through excruciating pain in his fascination with the beauty he may have found in a woman or in women in general. There is also the beauty of the artistic expression that he gives the same value as he finds in the human beauty: "velvet eye fairy, rhythm, glimmer, O my only Queen" (the flowers of Evil, "Hymn to Beauty," p. xxi).

The fact that the poet is questioning the origin of beauty as something that may as well come form hell or heaven indicates his torments and doubts related to the purpose of searching for something as elusive and relative and "beauty." The troubles and suffering… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Beauty: Its Allure and Elusiveness" Research Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Beauty: Its Allure and Elusiveness.  (2010, May 12).  Retrieved October 29, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Beauty: Its Allure and Elusiveness."  12 May 2010.  Web.  29 October 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Beauty: Its Allure and Elusiveness."  May 12, 2010.  Accessed October 29, 2020.