Essay 04 - Olivera 1 Diego Olivera 997801035 Professor...

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Olivera Diego Olivera 997801035 Professor Patrick Ancient and Mediaeval Literary Modes - VIC201Y April 15, 2011 Residence in Hell and Authorial Bias Throughout the course of history, the question of life after death has been presented, some arguing there are great fields of joy where the dead reside, while others claim death is the end of all physiological and neurological functions in the human body. For Dante Alighieri, souls who reached the afterlife went to one of three realms: Hell, Purgatory and Heaven -though those in Purgatory can eventually reach Heaven, according to modern Catholic theology. However, since the afterlife cannot be empirically studied -as any study would involve dying which in turn would incapacitate the study itself- the afterlife has to be described with artistic license, which is why La Commedia - Inferno is often referred to as Dante’s Inferno ; it is Dante’s vision of Hell and its residents. The essay studies Canto IV and V by comparing its residents; Inferno is a reflection of the author, Dante. The epic genre is entirely subjective to the author even though epics are written in verse, the central themes are the same as the interests and ideals of the society in which it arises and the characters become different literary types embodying immutable human qualities; in this case, Christianity and redemption. The essay presents a separation between Dante as the Pilgrim and the poet by referring to the first as the Pilgrim and the latter simply as Dante. Studying the characters in Hell, the characters related to Virgil’s Aeneid within each canto are studied historically -in relation 1
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Olivera to the Aeneid - and their sins are juxtaposed alongside those of others to show that Dante’s bias to Virgil spared characters that would otherwise be deeper in Hell. The Harrowing of Hell is also presented in the essay to show authorial intent not only affects artistic license but also introduces intertemporality into the narrative, a quality which would otherwise rearrange the people in Hell -for instance, several characters and possibly a new circle would have to be added to the narrative without the Harrowing; likewise, several characters would have to be removed without intertemporality. Authorial intent as the meaning or interpretation of a fictional work that the author had in mind when he or she was creating it makes the Inferno a unique piece as it provides a geographical layout of Hell; it also makes La Commedia a piece with a strong Christian bias as the Harrowing of Hell alongside many prominent figures are of a Christian origin, if not of Christian influence. This bias due to artistic intent, through artistic license, changed the way medieval Europe viewed the afterlife; introducing intertemporality as the mingling of elements from different time periods to present Virgil as understanding true universal theology -which Dante presents as Christianity- through his criticism towards those in Limbo as not having followed the true way. The Harrowing of Hell is a Christian doctrine arising from specific interpretations
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Essay 04 - Olivera 1 Diego Olivera 997801035 Professor...

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