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Abstract

This essay examines the poem “À Celle qui est trop gaie” by Charles Baudelaire. In addition to examining the original poem in French, I have also included one secondary source to further support my argument. Specifically, the essay discusses Baudelaire’s anger and frustration over his impotence in his rapport with the women he addresses. The woman possesses a power over him, a power that infuriates and impels him to use his poetry to rupture her dominance. Baudelaire verbally dissects the woman’s body and essence, reducing her to merely “parts” of a person, and thus renders her incapable of posing any threat to him. He then seeks to establish his own masculine authority over her using phallic and violent imagery. At the end, we discover that he has reversed the distribution of power; now it is she who must assume the status of impotence that was previously held by Baudelaire.

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