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Astrophel and Stella

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Kantima Wattanakawin

on 9 July 2013

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Transcript of Astrophel and Stella

Astrophel and Stella
Petrarchan Convention
Main Theme: Courtly Love

A man named “Astrophel” loves a beautiful girl named Stella but Stella was already married to a rich man. Although Astrophel knows that Stella is married, he doesn’t easily give up on her. Throughout the sequence Astrophel is shown as being madly in love with Stella. But this love quickly turns to desire that he cannot control, and ultimately leads to the downfall of their relationship when Stella rejects Astrophel.


• A protagonist
• The name "Astrophel" comes from two Greek roots: "astr-," meaning "star," and "phil-," meaning "lover.
• Astrophel is a courtier.
• Struggle between Love and Rationality
• Astrophel is an example of a man who lets his emotions get the better of him.

Astrophel and Stella
as Sonnet Sequence

• A group of sonnets unified to create a long work
• A very popular genre during Elizabethan period
• "
Astrophel and Stella
" as the first true sonnet sequence containing 108 sonnets and 11 songs, written by Sir Philip Sidney.
Petrarchan Conceit
• a type of metaphor used in love poems written by Petrarch, but became cliched in some of his later Elizabethan imitators like Sidney.
• This kind of metaphor was used for proclaiming a lady’s beauty.
Petrarchan Plot
Petrarchan Plot
: Focus on Poet-lover’s misery of being in love with a lady who neglects him.

Sidney’s Astrophel and Stella
: The whole sonnets deal with Astrophel’s misery of being in love with Stella who rejects him in the end of the sequence.

Petrarchan Theme

Elizabethan Lofty Lady

Historical Background
: Courtly Love was known as the belief that woman is a lofty creature who was not expected to easily love anybody except after long time wooing. However, it is not her love she grants, but it is her pity.

Astrophel and Stella
: Idea of courtly love reflects throughout the sequence in which Stella is worshiped and desired by Astrophel.

Elizabethan Marriage in Upper Classes
Historical Background
: Arranged Marriage by parents from the upper class. Their children’s marriage was the way to gain them power, money and lands. Girls in especial were forced to marry men they didn’t like.

Astrophel and Stella
: Although Stella has feelings for Astrophel, she has to marry another man whom Astrophel refers as a foolish rich man in sonnet 24.

Platonic Ladder of Love
- Platonic love is a concept of a famous philosopher
- The kind of love where sexual activities, or thoughts, are not involved.
- Steps for a person to attain platonic love toward another person called the
"Platonic Ladder"
• The heroine and the object of Astrophel's desire.
• The name "Stella" comes from the Latin word meaning "star."
• Beautiful, Intelligent and Rational.

• Born on November 30, 1554
• Attended the court of Elizabeth I
• An English poet, courtier and soldier.
• A patron of the arts
• Died of battle wound in the war against Spain on September 13, 1586.
• Author of “Astrophel and Stella”
Philip Sidney
Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show
That she might take some pleasure of my pain
Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know
Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain


But that rich fool (Lord Rich) who by blind fortune’s chance
Enjoys the richest gem of love and life (Stella: Penelope Devereux),
And who can blot such beauty with foul abuse:
Let him, deprived of her sweet but unappreciated joys,

Like many other Medieval and Renaissance literature works, Petrarchan main theme was a courtly love. And Sidney’s sonnet sequence Astrophel and Stella was also influenced by Petrarchan Courtly Love Convention.

Petrarchan Conceit:
Poet-lover normally compares his beloved one with the Star or Sun.

Sidney’s Astrophel and Stella:
The most remarkable use of Petrarchan Conceit comes in form of Astrophel compared Stella with the Sun which appears in numerous sonnets in the sequence. For example, the metaphor was used in the sonnet number 91.

And that fair you,
my Sun
, thus overspread
With absence’ veil, I live in sorrow’s night;

Petrarchan Conceit
Petrarchan Conceit:
Poet-lover normally describes his beloved’s beauty quality like “Golden Hair”, “Ruby Lips”, or “Black Eyes”.

Sidney’s Astrophel and Stella :
Astrophel also describes Stella’s beauty quality in the similar way.

Some beauty’s piece, as amber-colour’d head,
Milk hands, rose cheeks, or lips more sweet, more red,
Or seeing jets black but in blackness bright.

Although Sidney had mostly followed Petrarchan Convention
in his writing of Astrophel and Stella, Sidney himself
in somehow tried to avoid expressing that
he completely copied the Petrarchan Convention.
Departure from Petrarchan Convention
Fun Facts
You that poor Petrarch’s long decreased woes
With new-born sighs and denizen’d wit do sing:
You take wrong ways; those far-set helps be such
As do bewray a want of invard touch

A Lady’s Voice
Normally, Petrarchan convention doesn’t allow a lady
to express her point of view, but Sidney allowed Stella
to abandon the passive role of ladies and express her feelings
If more may be said, I say
All my bliss on thee I lay;
If thou love, my love content thee,
For all love, all faith is meant thee.
Trust me, while I thee deny,
In myself the smart I try.
Tyrant Honour doth thus use thee,
Stella’s self might not refuse thee.

Anti-Petrarchan convention may have revealed the lady to be ugly and unworthy.
William Shakespeare.

Sir Philip Sidney
Lord Rich
Sonnet 1
Sonnet 24
Sonnet 15
Platonic Ladder
1st Rung of Ladder
: To love the beauties of the body
2nd Rung of Ladder
: To accept that the single body that you loved first isn't that unique
3rd Rung of Ladder
: To understand that the beauties of the body are nothing
comparing to beauty of souls.

Astrophel can only achieve the first two rungs
If this dark place yet show like candle light
Some beauty's piece, as amber-color'd head,
Milk hands, rose cheeks, or lips more sweet, more red
Or seeing jet's black but in blackness bright.
They please, I do confess; they please mine eyes,
But Why? Because of you they models be,
Models such be wood globes of glist' ring skies.
Dear, therefore be not jealous over me,
If you hear that they seem my heart to move.
Not them, oh no, but you in them I love
Kanlayanee Kaewmanee 5440010622
Kantima Wattanakawin 5440013522 Tanita Suwattana 5440045622
Dusita Lertkrai 5440070222

Alchin, Linda. “Elizabethan Marriages and Weddings.” Nobles and Courtiers Web. 1 July 2013 <http://

“Astrophil and Stella Study Guide & Essays.” Gradesaver Web. 30 June 2013 <http://www.gradesaver.com/

Delahoyde, Michael. “PETRARCH.” Washington State University Web. 2 July 2013 <http://public.wsu.edu/

Kline, A. S. “Astrophil and Stella: A complete text and prose précis.” Poetry in Translation 15 Nov. 2004. Web.
30 June 2013 <http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/ English/Sidney.htm>

Martínez, Abraham Avendaño. “Sidney and Petrarch; Or, The Contemplation of Love.” Luminarium 2000.
Web. 2 July 2013 <http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/ avendano.htm>

“Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586).” Background to British Literature Bangkok. 2013. 80-81.

“The Platonic Ladder.” Critical pages Web. 1 July 2013 <http://www.criticalpages.com/tag/ platonic-ladder/>

Works Cited
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