The Passion Of S. Perpetua And Felicitas Analysis

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A Medieval Coming Out Party

Symbolism, Diction, and Imagery

In The Passion of Ss. Perpetua and Felicitas

Public humiliation, disownment, and suffering are all pertinent to the road to martyrdom.

One must give all of themselves to God to the point that they can not give anymore and only then

will they be considered a saint. To live your life for someone other than yourself, someone

greater than yourself is how a saint is born. In The Passion of Ss. Perpetua and Felicitas

translated by H.R. Musurillo symbolism, diction, and imagery are used to showcase the pain and

suffering that comes with the road to martyrdom.

Perpetua’s struggle on the road to martyrdom allowed for much symbolism to the

Christian faith that she was proclaiming.
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But the diction used throughout The Passion of Ss. Perpetua and Felicitas is that of

clerical language while highlighting intense suffering. Many clerical words used throughout the

entirety of the piece are “God,” “joy,” “faith,” and “grace,” which all seem to be naturally

positive words, yet they are used to describe many somber scenes throughout the work.While

Perpetua is consoling her father she says that he, “would not find joy in my suffering” (72)

alluding that although he might not understand why she is enduring such suffering, she finds
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Phrases like this are laced throughout, while Perpetua enters the

arena to her death it is said the she, “won some share in the suffering of their Lord” (76). Clearly

martyrdom is about selflessness and to find strength and joy in pain is truly the sign of someone

that is other worldly.

For a work to transcend time the reader needs to feel as though they are within the text.

The pain and suffering of Saint Perpetua is completely brought to life through imagery, from the

moment she tells her father she is a Christian to the moment of her death.When Perpetua tells

her father who she is the scene seems like the modern equivalent of coming out, “then my father,

furious at the word ‘Christian’ threw himself upon me as though to pluck out my eyes” (70).

The aggression of her father comes through allowing the reader to relate and feel the pain,

assuming that most humans know how it feels to disappoint someone of meaning in their life.

Through Perpetua’s point of view, the reader is able to imagine how she is being persecuted and

judged by her father. When Perpetua is being prepared for her death imagery helps to showcase

her humiliation to solidify her martyrdom, “after being stripped and enclosed in nets they

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