When trying to interpret the word “beautiful” lots of different things often come to mind. First off, some may see beauty in nature; some may see it in people. If talking about the beauty in a person, it could be interpreted in two different ways: beauty on the inside, such as their kindness or respect towards others. Then there is beauty on the outside, which focuses more on someone’s looks rather than personality. If interpreting the word ‘beautiful’ in nature, it is usually based distinctly on the looks or sound that nature has to offer. In Sappho’s poem “Beauty in a Man,” she plays with the definition of beautiful and makes the reader realize that there may be many other meanings of the word.
When Sappho says, “A man” (line 1), she is referring to no more than one man since it is not in the plural form. Sappho then goes on to say, “who is beautiful” (line 1). Readers may struggle to imagine a man being referred to as beautiful; often time’s reader’s minds refer to beautiful as something that is often described in a woman’s appearance. When referring to a man, handsome or good looking may be some of the describing words that are often used. When thinking of a beautiful man, some people may go into thinking about the outer appearance while others think of the beauty in a man as something that is just on the inside. So when Sappho says that the man is beautiful, each reader now has his or her own image of a beautiful man.
The last part of line one is the phrase, “is beautiful to see.” Sappho is now saying that the beautiful man is pleasing to look at. In other words, this is a man with a handsome appearance. Sappho is saying, “is beautiful to see” so that the reader knows that this is not talking about the inner beauty of a person, it is in fact referring to the outer beauty, or the appearance of the man. In line one, readers now know that there is one man who is both beautiful on the outside and possibly on the inside.
In Sappho’s last line of the fragment it says, “but a good man at...