What is elegy?

What Does elegy Mean

An elegy is a poetic composition that belongs to the lyrical genre and that, in the Spanish language, is usually written in free verse or in triplets. This subgenre is associated with mourning the death of a loved one or any event that causes pain and sadness . The Greek and Latin poets, however, also treated pleasant themes in their elegies.

In literature, narrative genres allow organizing the elements that are part of the literary taxonomy, these are: lyrical, narrative , epic and dramatic. According to the structure, style and theme that the texts have, they will be part of one or another classification. In the case of the elegy, it brings together a series of themes and a particular metric that differentiate it from other styles.

The term, however, has a Greek origin and in that culture they were verses that represented issues that faced human problems, especially related to the inexorability of death . During the Renaissance the concept was recovered to refer to those poems that had melancholic features and that could be inspired in some way by the old epic traditions . All this allows us to say that today an elegy is a poetic discourse about the deep meaning of human existence, even after death.
Beyond the pain in the face of death, the elegies portray all kinds of losses. There are elegies devoted to the loss of illusion and the passage of time , among other themes that, in one way or another, provoke nostalgia, anguish, anguish or dejection in the author.
Among the main Greek authors of elegies are Solon (one of the so-called seven sages of Greece), Theognis (defender of the concept of carpe diem ), Mimnermo (who used to lament over the shortness of life and the problems associated with old age ), Calino and Semónides of Amorgos .
The most famous Latin poets who dedicated themselves to the development of elegies are Propercio (an author recognized for his tragic vision of love ), Tibulo and Ovidio .
It should be noted that an elegiac couplet is known as a stanza of two verses, a hexameter and a pentameter, which was very common in Greco-Roman metrics. This style could never be successfully imitated by Spanish-speaking poets, since the length of the syllables of our language does not allow such parameters. The authors, on the other hand, have based the adaptation of the elegiac couplet on the hemistichs and the accentual rhythm.

In an elegy the reason for existence is expressed more or less explicitly. From yesterday lost, until tomorrow imagined. A genre that tries using as fundamental elements the memory and word , transmute the dead man living word. Through topos (the poetic text) the recovery of what has been lost is made possible; Through the poem that disappeared treasure can take a new form and survive and with it the word of the author himself beyond the ephemeral existence.
In this type of text it is considered that every poem about death is a triumph of reason over unreason, of the word over stammering and the moan of pain over the death of the loved one and, furthermore, over death itself.
Despite the numerous changes that the genre underwent over the generations, the great influence of Greco-Latin literary compositions remained almost intact; and the essence of that genre did not vary over the generations. So much so that today, an elegy can refer to any deep pain experienced by a person, a society or the universe itself.

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