Yannis Ritsos' The Moonlight Sonata· the Cognition of the city and the Vision of Life from a Distance.

Hristos Fifis

Abstract


Yannis Ritsos' Moonlight Sonata was written and published in 1956 and marked a new stage in Ritsos' poetry. The poet, by then in his middle age, had reached a poetry of long powerful dramatic monologues of the kind of this poem and others, 17 of which have been included in his 1972 long collection Fourth Dimension. The present article attempts an examination of Ritsos' Moonlight Sonata as an intense portrayal of the subject of loneliness and alienation of the uncommitted individual. In Moonlight Sonata Ritsos presents a woman in black who has passed her prime, asking persistently a younger male companion to allow her to come out with him for a walk in the night so that together they might see the city in the relentless moonlight. The silent presence of the young man is felt throughout the lady's long confessional monologue. In this sense the lady in the poem represents that part of the old world which Ritsos thinks is condemned to perish with its aristocratic past because of its aversion to adapt and participate in the process of change. Ritsos portrays her sympathetically with the concomitant problems of ageing, physical decay, loneliness and alienation. Alienation and loneliness, then, in this poem, seem to spring from a person's aversion to relate to people and participate in common action. Furthermore, the alienation of the lady in black seems to spring from the separation of her art from life and real people.

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