Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Panther Translation

The first translation of The Panther by Leonard Cottrell is powerful with the way it portrays the usually strong, fast, and intelligent animal, as very bored and weak in captivity. The panther's stride is described as "strong and supple" suggesting that the animal is still its powerful self, with his "noble will" that is still present within it. Then at the end of  the poem, it says "Along a nerve, awareness darts -/ arriving in his heart, it dies." At this moment, the panther completely loses his strength and spirit and it "darts" away from the panther and dies.

The second translation by A.S. Kline is much more emotionally powerful due to the words Kline chooses to describe the panther and its life in captivity. He delves more deeply into the animal's head and tries to make the audience feel what the panther is feeling and think what the panther is thinking. Kline does a good job in doing this, because by the end of it, you are left feeling sad for the panther; maybe even guilty for enjoying the zoo so much as a child. As opposed to the first translation, the panther now sees "no world" behind the bars of his cage, which seem like thousands because he can't stop pacing back and forth. Kline describes its empty restlessness as "the dance of force about a centre,/ In which a greater will stands paralysed." To the panther, his whole existence is purposeless because there is no longer hope of a world beyond its prison. 

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