Lecture 8 - Spring 2007 Hum Core 1C Tutor: Anna Khalaj...

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Spring 2007 Hum Core 1C Tutor: Anna Khalaj Lecture 8: Cenodoxus Frightening Acts: Jesuit Theater as a Cure for the Soul Again, we are looking at another form of persuasion used by the Jesuits… Thesis : - Cenodoxus embodies a central problem dealt with by Jesuits: sin can take on the appearance of virtue. - As a result, the individual can never be sure of his or her salvation. - According to the play, the only cure for this blindness is faith and submission to the Church (basically, place your trust in the ways of the Catholic Church). - This is a purgative play because it works on people’s fear. - Vainglory is the most difficult sin to get rid of. I. Bidermann and Jesuit Theater a. Bidermann was a Jesuit; he was educated as a Jesuit (he was also a contemporary of Galileo) i. Professor of Rhetoric and Director of Production b. Students worked as actors in preparation for their public work. This was a way for them to practice the effectiveness of their rhetorical skills. c. Annual competitions and award ceremonies took place to celebrate rhetoric and recognize good actors. d. Everything was in Latin. At the time, it wasn’t a dead language and non-speakers were given lots of help. Remember, the context is Humanism. Latin was considered the language of the scholars. e. The graphicness, costumes, special effects, and orchestras helped make sure everyone was aware of what the plot was. II. Can Your Heart Stand the Shocking Facts of Cenodoxus, the Doctor of Paris? a. Note that in Jesuit theater, good prevails in the struggle between good vs. evil. b. This is an old plot, but it’s made interesting by eliciting fear in the audience. c. Furthermore, we know that Cenodoxus’ problem is “cenodoxia,” which means vainglory. d. Plot: Cenodoxus is judged, accused and condemned. i. He deluded himself into thinking that he was acting on behalf of God. e. Human beings must choose correctly in an Election i. Cenodoxus had plenty of opportunities to renounce vainglory. ii. He exercised free will in the wrong way (remember, you are supposed to submit to God freely in order to achieve salvation). f. The play externalizes the inner process and lets the audience observe it. III. Problem of Deceptive Appearances: Are you sure what you see is what you get? a. Comic scenes: Mariscus is a flatterer b. God and Satan can surprise you: i. Example: Angel invokes Hell in a dream; God’s messenger uses imagery associated with Satan c. Blindness defines the human condition: i. Themes: 1. Deceptive appearances 1
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Spring 2007 Hum Core 1C Tutor: Anna Khalaj 2. Bad appetites (think about Mariscus and Cenodoxus) IV. Different Degrees of Blindness and the Seeing Eye of the Church a. Cenodoxus lacks faith; his good works are only a performance. b.
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Lecture 8 - Spring 2007 Hum Core 1C Tutor: Anna Khalaj...

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