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Indeed, Baudelaire would support the argument that pleasure is the antithesis of pain. Using imagery expressed in his poems, he cleverly juxtaposes words insinuating opposite extremes of human feelings. In the poem ‘the cat’ Baudelaire declares “Come here, kitty – sheathe your claws! Lie on my loving heart”. From these phrases, we can select the words ‘claws’ and ‘loving heart’ produce opposite emotional feelings. For instance, ‘claws’ can be associated with something injurious, while ‘loving heart’ espouses the feeling of love. Additionally, we can infer similar emotional feelings from the line “my pet – is like a stab of pain”. In real life pets are lovable and adorable animals; hence, they are rarely associated with pain. Making further reference to “and my hand thrills to the touch of your electric fur “, already we have an image of someone probably playing with the pet, but later brings in the concept of pain.
Another instance of pain can be inferred from Baudelaire’s ‘the balcony’ where he remarks “as I drank in your breath: nectar! Venom!” Juxtaposition is in action here. Venom’ is a lethal substance found in the fangs of a snake. On the other hand, “nectar’ is a sweet secretion produced from the nectarines of flowers. and my hand thrills to the touch
of your electric fur it strengthens the image and perception of incompatibility. To reinforce the juxtaposition to the reader, Baudelaire uses the phrase ‘and I relive my past buried in yer lap’. In this phrase, one gets the notion that the ‘lap’ provides a cool off point for his sorrows, which are derived from his past.