Lion Guides: Literature Humanities Review
We here at the Lion understand that this is a hectic week for you leading up to Fall Break. Two or three midterms? A couple of papers? We truly feel your struggle. Thus, to take a little load off your shoulders and maybe grant you an extra hour or so of sleep, we took the liberty of compiling various study guides filled with A1 content. Hopefully, this will make your cramming a breeze (like the one Iphigenia was sacrificed for). Good luck: may the odds be ever in your favor.
The Lion team would like to credit Ryan Mandelbaum, Michelle Vallejo, and Constance Boozer for putting together this comprehensive review guide.
NOTE: Some texts such as, Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon are not included.
The Ultimate Lit Hum Study Guide, Compiled by Ryan Franklyn Mandelbaum, Michelle Vallejo and Constance Boozer
If you don’t like it you probably should have read the books
THE AENEID by VIRGIL
Book 1 (Juno, Storm, Peace)
Aeneas is fleeing Troy after the Greeks took it. He and fellow survivors are trying to get to Italy, but Juno stands in their way. Juno’s favorite city is Carthage and prophecy has it that Carthage will be destroyed by Trojan descendants.
Juno gets Aeolus, the god of the winds, to bring a storm upon Aeneas when he is sailing to Sicily. As Aeneas’ fleet appears to be on the verge of destruction, Neptune (god of the sea) calms the storm. 7 ships remain and they head for Libya, the nearest land.
On Mount Olympus, Jupiter (King of the gods) promises Venus that Aeneas will reach Italy and two of his descendants, Romulus and Remus, will control the mightiest empire in the world.
When Aeneas is in the woods, Venus appears in disguise and tells him how Dido became queen of Carthage. Her husband, Sychaeus, was murdered for his gold by her brother, Pygmalion. Sycheus came to her in a dream and told Dido to leave Tyre. She and other locals left and founded Carthage in Libya.
When Aeneas arrives Dido agrees to help the Trojans and invites Aeneas to dine with her.
Venus, worried that Juno will turn the Phoenicians against Aeneas, sends down Cupid who makes Dido fall in love with Aeneas. Aeneas tells Dido his story since he left Troy.
Book 2 (Trojan defeat)
Aeneas recounts the story starting at the Trojan horse. A Greek explains to the Trojans that they have fled and the horse is an offering to the goddess Minerva. He tells them they cannot destroy it or else Minerva will turn against them. Not everyone believes him but two giant serpents rise out of the water and devour two of the Trojans for attacking the horse with spears. Trojans take this as proof of Minerva’s power.
At night, the Trojans are attacked by the Greek army hidden in the horse. Hector appears to Aeneas in a dream and warns him of the battle raging. As Aeneas flees, he loses his wife who dies but comes to him in spirit form and tells him he will find another wife in Hisperia.
Book 3 (Interim of wandering)
Aeneas and his men go to the coast of Antander and build a new fleet of ships. They then sail to Thrace and prepare to make sacrifices. He goes to cut down a tree and it turns out to be the spirit of Polydorus the son of Priam. The Thracian king had allied with the Greeks and killed him.
After holding a funeral for Polydorus, the Trojans leave Thrace and go to Delos. Here Apollo tells Aeneas to go to “the land of their ancestors.” Aeneas’ father, Anchises interprets this as Crete. They go there and build a new city but a plague hits. The Trojan gods appear and tell them they were supposed to go to Italy.
They head out to sea again and a storm forces them to land at Strophades. Here they are attacked by Harpies and they are cursed to starve of hunger. The Trojans then travel to Leucata and make offerings to Apollo. They then go to Buthrotum where they find Helenus and Andromache, Trojans who had been taken as war prizes, in power.
Andromache advises them on how to get to Italy. The Trojans head out and stumble upon a Greek who was left behind by a Greek group when they encountered the Cyclops. They escape from the Cyclops with him. Meanwhile Anchises dies. Finally they arrive at Dido’s place.
Book 4 (Tragedy of Dido)
As Aeneas continues his story, Dido falls more in love with him. Her sister advises her that by marrying Aeneas, Carthage will gain strength. Meanwhile Juno sees Dido’s love for Aeneas as a method of keeping him out of Italy.
Dido, Aeneas, and her people go hunting and Juno sends a storm that forces Dido and Aeneas into a cave alone. They make love and live openly as lovers after. Rumors begin that they have given into love and have neglected their responsibilities.
Jupiter disapproves of Dido and Aeneas’ actions and sends Mercury to remind Aeneas of his fate in Italy. Aeneas must obey but does not know how to break it to Dido. He tries to escape with his fleet, but Dido confronts him. Dido gathers all of the things Aeneas is leaving behind and burns them. Aeneas leaves one night and when Dido sees this, she kills herself and just before dying curses Aeneas.
Book 5 (Interlude of Games)
A big storm hits the fleet and they are forced to dock at Eryx, where Aeneas’ friend Acestes rules. Here, Aeneas holds 8 days of sacrifices for the anniversary of his father’s death.
While the men are distracted with sport, Juno sends Iris to stir up trouble amongst the Trojan women. The women argue and set fire to the ships so that they can settle there and not have to continue traveling. The men see this and Aeneas prays to Jupiter to put out the flames. A rainstorm hits and saves the ships. Aeneas’ friend Nautes advises him to leave some people behind in the care of Acestes, the old, the injured, and the women. Aeneas father comes to him in a dream and tells him to listen to Nautes. He also tells him that Aeneas will have to fight an enemy and to come speak with him in the underworld.
The fleet leaves some people behind and departs. Venus fearing more tricks from Juno and pleads Neptune to allow them safe passage to Italy. Neptune agrees provided one of the men die as a kind of sacrifice.
Book 6 (Future show of heroes)
They arrive at the shores of Cumae in Italy. He then makes for the temple of Apollo where he prays to be allowed to remain in Latium but the priestess warns him of more trials to come. She then tells him that if he wants to see his father in Dis, he must find a gold branch in a nearby forest. If it breaks off easily then he can go to Dis.
Aeneas finds the branch and it breaks so he returns to the priestess who takes him to the Dis gate. On the other side he sees Dido. He tries to talk to her and again explains he was forced to leave. She turns away towards her husband, leaving Aeneas crying. He then sees the war heroes from Troy. Finally he reaches the Blessed Groves where the good reside. Anchises then explains to him of what lies ahead in Italy, how his descendants will rule the Golden age of Rome. Aeneas returns to his men and leave the coast immediately.
Book 7 (Peace, Juno, War)
The Trojans arrive at the River Tiber. The King of nearby Latinus, has a daughter Lavinia, who is pursued by many suitors and the neighboring lord, Turnus. The king consults the oracle about the foretold foreign takeover. The oracle tells him to marry his daughter to a foreigner.
Aeneas and his men are eating fruit on the beach. The fruit is laid out over the hard bread, being used as tables. They are so hungry that they in fact eat the bread too and fulfill the Harpies’ curse in a very anticlimactic manner.
Aeneas sends out men to ask the king for land to build a new city. Latinus offers territory and his daughter. Juno, having failed to keep the Trojans off Italian soil vows to make life as hard for them as possible. She sends one of the Furies, Allecto, to stir up hatred amongst the natives against the Trojans. Allecto first stirs
up hatred within Amata. Amata then opposes the marriage of Lavinia to Aeneas. Allecto then inflames Turnus with the feeling of humiliation at submitting to the Trojan.
Turnus in response gathers his army preparing to force the Trojans out of Italy. Meanwhile when hunting, Ascanius kills Latinus’ herdsman’s favorite stag. The stag manages to return to its master just before dying and the herdsmen attack the Trojans. The Trojans win and so the remaining herdsmen go to Latinus and plead him to drive out the Trojans. Latinus agrees.
Book 8 (the future: shield)
As Turnus prepares his men, Aeneas gathers support from nearby cities and after divine instruction, with the Arcadians. At Arcadia, Aeneas gathers an army of several thousand and so it takes him time to get back to Latinum. Meanwhile Venus gets her husband, the god of fire, to forge some new weapons for Aeneas. Book 9 (Interlude of heroic exploits)
With Aeneas away from the camp, Juno tells Turnus to attack. The Trojans see them in the distance and secure themselves inside the fortress. Finding no weakness in the fortress, Turnus however does not give up and sets up camp around the fortress.
The Latins cross the trenches and try to find a weak spot in the walls. The tower is set on fire and collapses. The Trojans then surprise the attackers by opening the gates and rushing out killing many Latins. However, Turnus joins the battle and forces them back in.
Book 10 (Tragedy of Pallas)
Aeneas finally arrives and is met on the beach by Turnus. Battle begins. The Arcadian, Pallas, goes one on one with Turnus but is defeated. When Aeneas finds out of his death, he cuts through the enemy looking for Turnus. Juno begs Jupiter to allow her to save Turnus. He agrees and Juno saves Turnus.
Book 11 (Interim of movement; Turnus)
The following day, Aeneas takes Pallas’ body back to King Evander of Arcadia. Evander though upset forgives Aeneas as his son died honorably. However, he demands the death of Turnus. Meanwhile the Latins request a 12 day ceasefire. Aeneas agrees. The Latins want Turnus to fight Aeneas one on one so the bloodshed can stop.
At a council called by King Latinus, others echo the messengers’ sentiment. The council turns against Turnus, who responds in anger. He challenges the courage of Latinus and says if the council wishes him to fight Aeneas alone, he will do so.
A messenger arrives to warn the Latins that the Trojans are marching toward the city.
Book 12 (Victory of Troy)
Turnus decides to go and fight Aeneas alone for both the kingdom and Lavinia’s hand. Latinus draws up the appropriate treaty, with Aeneas’s consent. The next day, the armies gather as spectators on either side of a field in front of the city.
Juno worries about Turnus because she suspects that Aeneas outmatches him. She calls Juturna, Turnus’s sister, and tells her to watch out for her brother’s safety. Latinus and Aeneas both come out onto the battlefield, and each vows to uphold his side of the pact. Juturna, not wanting her brother to risk the duel, appears to the Latin army and goads the Latins to break the treaty and fight now that the Trojans are off their guard. Battle reignites. Aeneas calls for his men to stop, but as he yells, a stray arrow wounds him, forcing him to retreat.
After being healed, Aeneas takes up his arms again and returns to the battle. Suddenly, Aeneas realizes that Latinus’s city has been left unguarded. He gathers a group of soldiers and attacks the city, panicking its citizens. Queen Amata, seeing the Trojans within the city walls, loses all hope and hangs herself. Not wanting his people to suffer further, Turnus calls for the siege to end and for Aeneas again to fight him hand-to-hand. Aeneas meets him in the city’s main courtyard, and the duel begins.
They exchange fierce blows with their swords. At Turnus’s first strike, his sword suddenly breaks off at the hilt—in his haste, he had grabbed some other soldier’s weaker sword.
Jupiter sends down one of the Furies, who fills him with terror and weakens him. Aeneas cuts off Turnus’ leg. In the name of Pallas, Aeneas drives his sword into Turnus, killing him.
Aeneas – The hero of the Aeneid, Aeneas is a survivor of the siege of Troy. In addition to his courage, his defining characteristic is his blind obedience to the will of the gods. Proof of this is the fact that he leaves Dido because the Gods order him to. His fate is to found the Roman race and treats all other issues as secondary. He is a great warrior and is also able to motivate his men when needed. He is also a man capable of great compassion and sorrow as shown by his emotions at the loss of his wife.
Dido – The queen of Carthage and lover of Aeneas. Initially portrayed as a strong queen, her feelings for Aeneas led to her downfall. She becomes an unfortunate pawn of the gods, particularly Venus, in their struggle for Aeneas’s destiny. Unlike Aeneas she does not prioritize the will of the gods above all else, which is why she is unable to come to terms with Aeneas’ abandonment of her. After Aeneas leaves her, she constructs a funeral pyre and stabs herself upon it with Aeneas’s sword.
Turnus – The ruler of the Rutulians. Turnus is Aeneas’s foil in the epic. He is Lavinia’s leading suitor until Aeneas arrives. He is brash, fearless, and values his honor more than his life. He is another example of someone who refuses to accept fate. He chooses to wage war against the Trojans, despite his understanding that he cannot successfully defy fate.
Anchises – Aeneas’s father. Although he dies during the journey from Troy to Italy, Anchises continues to help his son fulfill fate’s decrees by communicating with him through dreams. He even meets with Aeneas in the underworld and shows him what Aeneas’ fate will lead to.
Latinus – King of the Latins. Latinus is indirectly the cause of the war. By initially allowing Aeneas into his kingdom and encouraging him to become a suitor of his daughter, he causes a great deal of resentment especially from Turnus. He is a weak king in that he does not have firm control over his subjects. He is easily persuaded.
Juno – The queen of the gods and the wife and sister of Jupiter. Juno’s hate for the Trojans has many folds. First, the Trojan Paris judged against her in a beauty contest. Second, she is the patron of Carthage and knows that Aeneas’ descendants will one day destroy Carthage. Third, she, like so many of the other gods, is petty and will do whatever it takes to annoy Venus.
Venus – The goddess of love and mother to Aeneas. Venus favors the Trojans and helps her son whenever Juno or the other gods tries to harm him.
Jupiter – The king of the gods. Jupiter is always calm and collected as opposed to the likes of Juno and Venus. His nature has a lot to do with the fact that his call is always final and can be aligned with the force of fate. While the gods fight with each other over mortal outcomes, Jupiter often acts as the judge. Consequently, Jupiter controls Aeneas’ progress.
This text is a propagandistic effort.
Virgil is writing at a time when Rome is questioning what it means to be Roman. Virgil returns to the beginning to find the answer.
Virgil’s Relationship to Homer
– Both authors are writing epics. Similarities include invocation of the muse and beginning in medias res.
– However, it is different in that he is self consciously artistic. In this way, he both recognizes and pays tribute to Homer while also challenging or competing with
– Virgil does not only start in the middle of things but also in the middle of Homer. The Aeneid begins in the middle of the The Odyssey.
– Homer’s gods have a functional purpose but Virgil’s gods have an aesthetic purpose.
– The pictures of the Trojan War in the temple are called “mere pictures” but then they come to life for Aeneas.
– This is an example of exphrasis –the representation of one art form in another (Specifically, the visual depicted in the verbal). This will always be problematic because the visual is always happening (in the present tense), but the literary cannot show the sequence of movements.
Distraction and Digression:
– The time in Carthage is a physical (as well as an emotional/mental) digression from the journey.
– In the temple, Aeneas gets too involved with looking at himself and he forgets to plead safety from Dido.
– It is also a formal digression because the reader gets interested in the forming of Carthage and not Rome.
– Also, Dido and Aeneas get distracted from forming their respective cities by falling in love.
– Virgil’s compare nature and cities (Homers similes compare war and peace)
– In The Aeneid, immortality for humans is expressed through political reproduction.
The Trojan culture must be kept alive.
(Plato’s reproductions are biological and cultural but this is a text about nations not individuals so there is also political reproduction).
-Reproduction is male. In Book II, there is a moment when Aeneas carries his father and his son. It shows the past, present and the future of Trojan people. The male line of descent is important here. (His wife is absent, he has lost track of her).
Art and Politics
– The Aeneid is a political text by an aesthetic artist. There is both enormous artistic ambition and political ambition.
– Ultimately, there is an acknowledgment that art may have to be abandoned in order to return to the political (this is demonstrated in the digression at Carthage).
Education in the dangers of sympathy:
– Trojans-The episode of the Trojan horse shows how sympathy can be dangerous. There is good and bad sympathy is The Aeneid.
– Dido shows sympathy and ends up with a broken heart and dead. Turnus shows no sympathy and Aeneas is about to show sympathy to Turnus but he ends up killing him.
The Aeneid ends with a merciless act. A civilization is not founded on sympathy.
Carthage v. Rome
– Historically, there was a long-standing rivalry between the two cities and so the text acts as propaganda for Rome. It makes Carthage look feminine and super domestic (like Kalypso’s cave in The Odyssey) and portrays Rome as duty-bound, hard and real.
Book I, lines 578-595
The Aeneid is a tribute to the importance of nations and nation building. This excerpt is the moment when Aeneas first sees Carthage. He sees everything needed to create a city or a nation. The elements Virgil focuses on are building and physical work, walls, government, commerce and culture. These are the elements that Aeneas feels are necessary for a city or a nation.
The home and the house are not emphasized instead The Aeneid focuses on wall building. This is opposite to the hospitality found in The Odyssey (the new civilization will be based on keeping out rather than welcoming in).
This passage is also an example of Virgil’s use of simile. He compares all this city building with bees in early summer. Aeneas pays compliment to the work in the city by comparing it to the efficiency and seriousness of bee work.
Book is teleological: whole book is about Aneas’ fate to found Rome, it has a preset ending and the whole story is a matter of getting there. The book imitates Homeric style but
Book 1: (my professor is wearing a HIDEOUS outfit) Notice Vergil doesn’t invoke the Muse right away slightly indignantly, almost a jab at Homer, like I don’t need you (HA)
Line 1: I sing (actually no, you are writing, Homer and his bards sang) of arms (the Iliad) and man (the Odyssey). The men pick up a crew member of Odyssus, 3 months later, allows the Odyssey have real geographic locations. The hero, Aneaus, is a GOOD guy!! :: better than Homer
Starts with Cathage and Juno, to set up the background knowledge and the obvious path of story
New start and return to home at the same time, ancestors came from Italy to found Troy so now Trojans will found Rome. “go to your mother’s home” (which mother?) (Aneanus keeps guessing wrong)
Finally they find out ITALY! Line 240: Cassandra!
Andromache and Hermonie are slaves of son of Achilles, Aresties was married to Hermonie, but then forced to marry Achilles.. happy ending with andromache blah blah blah Helenus sets up a mini troy, with the new resources he has. Stuck in the past. This isn’t the right place for Aenieus.. its supposed to be GREAT and NEW not like a shitty mini Troy.. all you can take from your home is your alter gods and family
CONFESSIONS by ST.AUGUSTINE
Augustine was born and raised in Thagaste, in Algeria (which was at the time was part of the Roman empire). Reflective, Augustine shows tremendous scorn for the society into which he was born, and condemns his grade school for teaching boys the wrong ideals (e.g. materialism rather than a love of God). This is also when he steals a pear with bunch of other boys and broods about it for an inordinate amount of pages. He went to continue his studies in Carthage, where young Augustine was quite embroiled in the material and lustful aspects of life. He also became interested in Manicheism. He then moves back to Thagaste before going on to Rome and Milan. Augustine’s main philosophical quandary at this point is his conflicted feelings about Christianity. In Milan he feels he doesn’t want to be abstinent and get baptized until the grand conversion scene in a Milan garden (notice how Confession starts with the fall and works its way back to the garden). We read the first X books of Confessions which trace Augustine’s life up to his mother’s death and events that took place right after his
conversion to Christianity. Characters and Terms
Faustus: A highly respected Manichee who Augustine meets while a teacher in Carthage. While he is very modest, Augustine is disappointed by his overblown language and the fact Faustus can’t answer Augustine’s critiques of Manichean ideology. Thus he helps push Augustine closer to Christianity.
Ambrose: Catholic bishop at Milan whose abstract interpretation of the Bible had an enormous influence on Augustine and helped push him closer to Christianity
Monica: Augustine’s loyal and very devout mother. She accompanies him when he goes to Carthage, Milan, and Ostia. While she postponed his baptism as a child (because she thought he wasn’t ready), she never stopped pushing him along the road to Christianity.
Neoplatonism: A school founded by Plotinus which views God as inherent in all aspects of the world. This makes God infinite, universal, and never changing thing which everything is arranged around. Even moral issues are judged around God—like evil would be defined as being far from God, good would be close to God. The world is defined on a relative scale.
Manicheism: A sect Augustine finds in Carthage. The Manichees believed that God was not all-powerful and evil was a force that kept His power in check. Augustine credits the Manichees with delaying his finding God, and his ultimate disillusionment with them was due to rational philosophy and astronomy that contradicted their cosmology (see Faustus).
“You are great, Lord, and highly to be praised (Ps. 47:2): great is your power and your wisdom is immeasurable” (Ps. 146:5). Man, a little piece of your
creation, desires to praise you, a human being “bearing his mortality with him” (2 Cor. 4:10), carrying with him the witness of his sin and the witness that you “resist the proud” (1 Pet. 5:5). Nevertheless, to praise you is the desire of man, a little piece of your creation. You stir man to take pleasure in praising you, because you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
Augustine sets out his story as a confession, thus not the narrative structure of an autobiography but structured in terms of his life, his sins, his thoughts, and glorification of God. Already, even in these first lines, there are allusions to the tension writing an autobiographical confession when he believes in original sin and the irrelevance of individuality. There’s also a huge tension between Augustine’s intelligence and pride with the requisite Christian humility; the writing of this, after all, is not directly to God, but also to a reader for didactic purposes, and just in writing this he is in some roundabout way praising himself. Augustine’s at least saying, “I’m so great to say God’s great.”
“The fruit which we stole as beautiful because it was your creation, most beautiful of all Beings, maker of all things, the good God, God the highest good and my true good. The fruit was beautiful, but not that which my miserable soul coveted. I had a quantity of better pears. But those I picked solely with the motive of stealing. I threw away what I had picked. My feasting was only in the wickedness which I took pleasure in enjoying. I any of those pears entered my mouth, my criminality was the piquant sauce.”
This is from the pear incident and expresses Augustine (while he is writing and reflecting) condemning the materialism of his youth that went against God.
He also took this incident—as well as his later sins and transgressions, like sex—as a roundabout way of being led to God by being shown the disgrace and chaos of life away from Christianity. He stresses that God was always with him, while he was not always with God.
Sections to study having to do with Augustine and learning:
Reading Virgil (pgs 15-17) “What is more pitiable than a wretch without pity for himself who weeps over the death of Dido dying for love of Aeneas, but not weeping over himself dying for his lack of love for you, my God, light of my heart, bread of the inner mouth of my soul, the power which begets life in my mind and in the innermost recesses of my thinking…”
Rhetoric (38) and Philosophy, Cicero specifically (39) “This was the society in which at a vulnerable age I was to study the textbooks on eloquence. I wanted to distinguish myself as an orator for a damnable and conceited purpose, namely delight in human vanity. Following the usual curriculum I had already come across a book by a certain Cicero, whose language (but not his heart) almost everyone admires.”
Scriptures (40) “…that the name of Christ was not contained in this book. This name, by your mercy Lord, this name of my Savior your Son, my infant hear had piously drunk in with my mother’s milk, and at a deep level I retained the memory. Any book which lacked this name, however well written or polished or true, could not entirely grip me.
“I therefore decided to give attention to the holy scriptures and to find out what they were like. And this is what met me: something neither open to the proud nor laid bare to mere children; a text lowly to the beginner but, on further reading, of mountainous difficulty and enveloped in mysteries.”
Manicheans (specifically 43) “…it was as if some sharp intelligence were persuading me to consent to the stupid deceivers when they asked me: ‘Where does evil come from? and is God confined within a corporeal form? has he hair and nails? and can those be considered righteous who had several wives at the same time and killed people and offered animals in sacrifice?’ In my ignorance I was disturbed by these questions, and while traveling away from the truth I thought I was going towards it.”
Gospel of John (121) “ ‘And the light shone in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend.’ Moreover, the soul of man, although it bears witness of the light, is ‘not that light,’ but God the Word is himself ‘the true light which illuminates ever man coming into the world.’ ”
Neoplatonists (121) “In reading the Platonic books I found expressed in different words, and in a variety of ways, that the Son ‘being in the form of the Father did not think it theft to be equal with God’, because by nature he is that very thing.”
Confession: A confession is something public. Augustine’s confession serves as a model for other people who wish to confess also
Sin: Augustine’s confession of his sins is the driving theme in the book. To Augustine, sin in it’s purest form stems from wanting to be like god, where god’s desire (or velle, which means to want) and action (or posse, which means to be able to) are the same. When Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge in the garden of good and evil they wanted to be like god, where their desire and action were one in the same. When Augustine steals the pear from the pear tree, he is trying to understand what Adam and Eve did.
Conversion: Though the ultimate sin is wanting to be like god and thus having your desires become synonymous with your actions, a point where this does happen and it is not a sin is during conversion. The speech act “I convert” is the one thing that happens with just your speech or will, and thus is unifies the self and will into one.
T h e R o l e o f t h e I n t e l l e c t : Augustine explores the conflict between his studies/intellect and faith/belief in god. Augustine prioritizes what he studies by examining various texts and their genres:
How does Augustine React initially
How does Augustine React Later
To What does it appeal
Intention of text to reader
Dangers of each
Passionate response (he is captivated emotionally)
He regrets his previously reaction, he feels foolish
Intends to delight
Pride at being good at rhetoric (intellect)
Proud of moral
Intends to deceive
Deception of the self and others
Disapproval of content of work (no mention of god)
Love of wisdom
Intends to find wisdom
Dismissive of scriptures
Learned and unlearned man
Intends to reveal wisdom
Points of Contact:
-Crime/punishment corresponds to sin/suffering. Confession is part of the process of redemption because it is an acknowledgment of your transgression.
Crime=sin, punishment is what you have to suffer through
– Dante gets distracted from his journey in the Inferno because he pities those who are punished, showing an overabundance of emotion. Augustine, too, gets distracted in his early intellectual years when reading the Aeneid because it appeals only to the emotional.
If you ever drop your keys into a pit of molten lava, let ‘em go because, man, they’re gone.
THE INFERNO by DANTE
C a n t o I : Inferno begins en media res, but in the middle of Dante’s life. He cannot remember how he entered the forest Inferno starts when he is already deep in the forest and he sees a hill in front of him. He tries to climb it but he sees a leopard, a lion and a she-wolf that make him go back in the forest. Suddenly he
sees a human shadow that turns out to be Virgil. Virgil says they cannot pass the beasts so they will have to take a different path. They will pass first through the place of eternal punishment or Hell.
Canto II: This canto begins with the classic invocation of the muses. Dante recalls only Aeneas and St. Paul to have visited hell. Dante feels he might not be up to the task. At first, Virgil rebukes Dante for his fear. Virgil tells Dante that Beatrice sent him to help the poet find the path. Dante is reassured by hearing that Beatrice is in Heaven and that she cares for him.
Canto III: The inscription above the gate of hell is obscure and Dante finds it difficult to find its meaning. Virgil simply responds that there must be no hesitation or cowardice. They enter the ante-inferno where the souls of those who did nothing neither good nor bad are placed. Neither hell nor heaven want them. Flies and worms bite them and drink all the blood that comes from their bodies. Virgil and Dante approach the great river Acheron where the souls of the dead wait to be transported to hell. Charon lets the two on the boat that carries them across the river to hell. An earthquake follows and Dante faints.
Canto IV: In Limbo the ones who did nothing bad but lived before Christianity stay. The Great Lord has rescued Noah, Moses, David, Abraham and many others from Limbo. Dante joins the circle of the intellects: Horace, Homer, Ovid, Lucan, and Virgil. He later comes upon the great souls of Aeneas, Electra, Socrates, Plato, and others.
Canto V: (Important!!!) In the Second Circle, lust is punished. The souls are constantly pushed around by a storm. Dante meets Paolo and Francesca who tell him how they fell in love while reading a book. Dante feels pity for them and faints.
Canto VI: In the Third Circle, the Gluttonous are punished and tortured by Cerberus. A filthy rain falls all the time. Dante speaks with Ciacco who predicts for Florence only struggles. Ciacco asks Dante to remember him when he returns. We learn that at the Day of Judgment, all souls will be judged again.
Canto VII-VIII: They then go to the circle of the Avaricious, followed by the circle of the Wrathful and of the Sullen. They try to cross the Styx when Dante notices Argenti for whom he has no pity but only fury. Dante approaches the city of Dis but the demons do not let him in.
Canto IX-X: They call three furies and medusa to turn Dante into stone. Finally, a messenger from hell has to let them through the gates. Sixth Circle of hell: the Heretics and the Epicureans who believed there is nothing after death and enjoyed their life. Here Dante sees two more people from Florence and we find out that the damned can see the future but not the present.
Canto XI: Virgil then explains how hell is organized (check the map at the end of the book). Virgil also explains that usury is a sin because it goes against God’s orders that humans should live to create and follow the path of nature.
Canto XII-XVIII: First Ring of the Seventh Circle: sinners boil in a river of blood because they were violent against their neighbors. Centaurs keep the sinners in the river. Nessus is assigned to guide Dante and Virgil through the river. In the Second Ring, there are cries but no souls can be seen in the woods. The sinners are the trees themselves. They are the ones who killed themselves. They reach the Third Ring where the bodies of Blasphemers burn. Next come the Sodomites where the sinners walk under fiery rain eternally where Dante meets a couple of his countrymen.
Canto XIX-XXV: The monster Geryon flies Dante and Virgil to the eighth circle. In the First Pouch are the people who tricked women. Dante meets Jason who left Medea. Next are the Flatterers who are immersed in excrement. In the Simonists’ Pouch Dante sees Pope Nicholas III, but does not pity him because he believes he deserves his punishment. The Fourth Pouch is for the magicians. They run with their faces turned towards their backs. The two reach the Fifth Pouch of the people who accepted bribes. Dante and Virgil are followed by the demons from the Fifth Pouch and they slide down to the next pouch where the Hypocrites are punished. There, Dante sees Pontius Pilate. Virgil and Dante reach the Seventh Pouch where the sinners are bitten by snakes between their shoulders that make the souls burn to ashes. Dante meets Fucci who is embarrassed and predicts the failure of Dante’s political party.
Canto XXVI-XXXII: The Eight Pouch is home to the people who gave bad advice. Burning flames punish them. Dante sees Ulysses and Diomedes there. After Ulysses, Dante sees Guido da Montefeltro who tells his story to Dante only because he believes Dante will never go back to the world of the living. In the Ninth Pouch, Sowers of Scandal: the sinners walk in circles and are split in two by a devil but by the time they complete the circle their wounds are healed so they can be split again. Dante sees Mohammed – the prophet of the Muslims. Dante sees many other Italian men who warn about the troubles of the still living politicians. Virgil tells Dante they should go but Dante goes to talk to an ancestor of his, Geri del Bello, who died without being properly avenged. Then, Dante and Virgil reach the tenth Pouch where the Falsifiers are. Dante meets two Italians, Griffolino and Capocchio, who are both falsifiers of metals. The Falsifiers of other people eat and tear each other constantly. The Liars are also in the Tenth Pouch. Dante and Virgil see the giants who are at the central pit of hell where the last river Cocytus freezes. A giant called Antaeus lowers them in his hand to the pit. In the Ninth Circle are the Traitors. The first ring is called Caina for traitors to one’s kin where the souls are punished by being frozen together. Dante kicks someone in the face. Dante recognizes Bocca who is a traitor to Italy and tears some of his hair. In the Second Ring, called Antenora, are the traitors to the homeland or the party. There he sees count Ugolino who is gnawing at the head of Archbishop Ruggieri.
Canto XXXIII-XXXIV: Both Ugolino and the archbishop were traitors, but the archbishop locked the count and his sons in a tower and did not give them any food. When the children starved to death, Ugolino ate them. Traitors to the guests are buried in ice and their tears are frozen as well. Dante sees two Italians who are alive, but whose crimes were so great that their souls had to go to hell before they even died. The Fourth Ring contains the Traitors to their benefactors called Judecca. Thick layers of ice cover them. Dante sees Lucifer in whose three mouths are Judas, Brutus and Cassius. Virgil and Dante slide down Lucifer’s body to the southern hemisphere (Lucifer is in the center of Earth) where they climb up and see the stars of the sky.
Analysis of Major Characters
Dante – Dante is the author and protagonist of Inferno. Dante the author is not the same as Dante the character. The poem begins with Dante the character
being timid and sympathetic to the sufferings of the many tortured souls of hell. Later, however, Dante the character gradually abandons his sympathy and
becomes more unforgiving of the fates of the sinners, for he believes in divine justice. From the beginning of the poem, it is Dante that is goaded to the path that leads him though the underworld.
Virgil – Virgil guides Dante through hell. Virgil is the Latin poet who wrote the Aeneid, a propagandistic explanation of Rome’s beginnings. Virgil, in Inferno, has been condemned to hell because he lived prior to Christ’s appearance on Earth. He is one of the great intellects, and Dante places himself among them, suggesting his greatness as a poet. Virgil has been asked by Beatrice to lead Dante through hell. Virgil is a very helpful and resourceful aide, but there are still instances in which Dante is somewhat vulnerable. The appropriateness of pity is often times gauged by Virgil’s response to Dante’s feelings.
Beatrice – Beatrice is in Heaven. It is at her behest that Virgil guides Dante. Beatrice’s character is based on an actual person with whom Dante the author was in love.
Lucifer – Lucifer is the prince of hell, also known as Dis. Lucifer is found at the very bottom of the ninth circle of hell, in the center of the Earth. He is a huge creature with three faces, but he does not use any of them for speaking. In each of his mouths, he chews those who Dante views as the greatest traitors in history: Judas, who betrayed Christ and Cassius and Brutus, both of who betrayed Julius Caesar.
Paolo and Francesca da Rimini – Paolo and Francesca da Rimini are a pair of lovers that Dante finds in the Second Circle of Hell. When alive, he was her brother-in-law. They are two specters floating in the hot wind that punishes the Lustful. He summons them, and Francesca tells Dante of the stories they were reading—Guinevere and Sir Lancelot—that caused them to give in to their lust for each other. Francesca says that that is the last thing they ever read. Dante faints after hearing their story. The love story between Paola and Francesca exposes the danger of art. The imitation of the literary world caused them to be lustful. The connection between reality and art suggest that the two are closely imposed.
Minos – According to Greek mythology, Minos was a king of Crete. In Dante’s work, he is a huge creature found in the Second Circle of hell. He is the one who decides to which part of hell souls are to be driven. He curls his tail around himself a certain number of times to determine which circle to send a soul after hearing its testimony.
Phlegyas – Phylegyas is the boatman who rows Dante and Virgil across Styx, the river of the dead. Upon first seeing them, he tells them that they are doomed, but Virgil tells him that his only power is to carry them across the river. Phlegyas resents this.
Nessus – Nessus is a centaur that is in hell because he took vengeance into his own hands. When he first sees Virgil and Dante, he warns them to announce their crime or he will shoot his bow at them. Later, Chiron, another centaur, commands him to guide them across the river Phlegethon, which is a boiling river of blood that holds tyrants and murderers.
Dido – Dido is the Carthaginian lover of Aeneas from Virgil’s Aeneid. She kills herself after Aeneas leaves her. What is interesting is that Dante chooses to place her soul in the Second Circle of hell, rather than a much deeper one. He charges her for her love/lust rather than her suicide. This is an example of Dante the writer’s partiality for certain individuals, possibly even pity or sympathy.
Ulysses – Ulysses is found in the Eighth Circle, Seventh Pouch of the Fraudulent Counselors. He is there with Diomedes and they move together in a single flame. They are there for designing the Trojan horse. It is interesting that they are condemned here, for Dante is clearly patronizing Roman history. Ulysses begins confessing that his curiosity about the world persuaded him to take his men on the long quest. He desires to see the world and travels to Spain, Morocco, etc. He tells about the persuasive words he gave to his crew that they are born to seek knowledge, not be brutes. A whirlpool rises and destroys everyone. He is responsible for killing all his men after he had manipulated them into joining his quest.
Ugolino – Ugolino is found in the Second Ring of the Ninth Circle of hell. He is among the traitors and gnaws on the head of Archbishop Ruggieri. Ugolino had to eat the corpses of his family after being imprisoned by Ruggieri. Both are from Pisa. Ugolino was imprisoned in a cell now called Hunger Tower named after him. He tells Dante of how he watched his children cry without shedding a tear. One moment, while looking at them, he puts his hands in his mouth, after which his children suggest that he eat them instead of himself. He went blind out of hunger and his children died between the fourth and sixth day of imprisonment. After calling after his sons for two days, he mourns and eventually he eats them.
Pity is central to the Inferno as a text that focuses on the evocation of emotion. In a literary sense, Dante the write pities certain characters in the poem. Dante subjectively writes the Inferno with some punishments and realities that do not fit the set order of the poem. In a text concerning the correct punishment for sins, even Dante does his own judging of sinners.
Dido is the best example of Dante’s pity. Dido is placed in the Second Circle where the lustful are tortured by a hurricane. Dido, who is punished for the love of Aeneas, should be in the Seventh Circle because she committed violence against herself in suicide. Dante the writer pities Dido, and is best expressed through Dante pilgrim when he says that upon hearing the names of those ladies and knights, “pity seized me, and I was like a man astray.”
Dante takes pity on Ulysses as well. When Ulysses shares the story of how he dies at sea, his death comes upon him because he tries to go beyond the bounds of nature and leaves everything precious to him in Ithaka. Dante lets Ulysses sail the world for five months, giving him the chance to see sights no man has ever seen. Instead of killing him from the start of the voyage, Dante gives him time and everything that he had desired.
As Dante moves through the levels of hell, his response changes with what punishments he sees and as he moves deeper and deeper into the more sinful shades. The sight of punishment creates different expressions in Dante that are often judged by the standard that Virgil establishes. He sometimes weeps or faints, becomes terrified, or even grows to scorn the sinners. Pity and his reaction are crucial elements to the effectiveness of the work.
Paola and Francesca (5.139-142)
Dante faints out of pity for the two lovers. His the falls like a dead body falls.
Dante is scared and terrified as he goes farther and father into hell. Virgil consoles him by restating that his journey has been willed by a greater power and
that he himself will never leave his side. Sympathy (16.52-54)
Dante encounters three men from his own city of Florence. As they tell their stories, it is not anger but sorrow that fills his heart. He says that he feels for them and his sadness will only gradually disappear.
Improper reaction (20.25-30)
Upon seeing the punishment of astrologers, magicians, diviners with their head turned backwards, Dante begins to weep. Virgil quickly scolds him remarking
that those who take God’s judgment lightly are the most impious. Here, pity only lives when it is dead. Contempt (32.73-78)
As Dante walks through the center of the frozen lake of the traitors to kin, not knowing if by chance or destiny, he kicks a head for almost no reason. In the lower depths of hell, Dante no longer pities, but furthers the punishment of the greater sinners.
Dante’s response to seeing things can be judged by the scheme of appropriate versus inappropriate. The correct responses are those that Virgil accepts. The evolution of pity in Dante is also significant.
Patterning is an overarching theme of the text that pervades structure and content. Dante was aware that he wanted to create an ordered system that effectively
organized and punished the sinners according to their faults and sins.
Numerology – The full text is 100 cantos, with hell, purgatory, and heaven being exactly 33 cantos. The first canto fits in place to address why the journey is
being made. He stands at the midpoint of his life, goaded to take a different path from the one that does not stray.
Structure – Dante’s hell is precise in its ordering of the levels of hell. Hell is separated into circles, rings, and specific pouches, all with a definite purpose
and home to sinners that have committed a particular sin. Everything and everyone has been carefully placed into an organized structure. In Canto XIV, lines 124-127, a literary picture of hell is created in which the path of Dante and Virgil move in circles downward toward the center of the earth.
A map of the levels of hell is located in the back of the book.
Order – Hell is not organized by the Ten Commandments, but rather by Dante’s subjective judgment. Order echoes the definite method of placing sinners in
their respective circles and punishing them accordingly.
Stasis – The action of hell is constant and unchanging. No matter what happens throughout the text, it appears as if everything occurs in a continuous cycle
that is repeated over and over. The stasis is necessary for hell. Punishment must always be inflicted with a never-ending timeline of torture. In one level of hell, the souls catch fire, burn, and as they fall, turn to ashes; lying upon the ground, the dust collects itself and instantly returns to what it had been (24.100-5).
Stability – The system of hell must be stable in order to further show the greater evil of the sinners. The static nature of hell allows any break from the order to show worse corruption and punishment. Non-static symbols are those that are most sinful.
The stability of hell is also destroyed when earthquakes and natural disasters are caused by the goodness of the earth. When acts of love or universal righteousness occur within humanity, the order of hell is disrupted. The binary between good and bad is exemplified through the stability or instability of hell.
Florence – The depiction of hell as a disgusting, crowded, eternally ruined, smelly, and plague-like place mirrors the problems of Dante’s Florence. The physical deterioration that takes place in hell echoes the deterioration of mankind through sin, but plays as a commentary for Dante in writing about contemporary Florence.
Terza Rima- ABABCBCDCDED
The rhyme scheme is used throughout the Italian version of the Inferno. The rhyme scheme is meant to bring the past to the forward by taking the middle line
from the first tercet and using its rhyme to surround the next tercet. For example, B is taken from the first tercet, and used to surround C in the next. The rhyme scheme is carefully planned throughout the text, mimicking the exactness of pattern and order.
Contra Passo – the body is put in the position of punishment. Dante uses this principle to allocate the punishments of the sinners. The punishment is somehow directly related to the sin, and the punishment impairs the body.
Lustful – Tossed around by the hot winds of a hurricane like the winds of their lustful emotions.
Prodigal and Avariciousness – Push around weighted wheels in a circle, never reaching an end to their desires and uselessly wasting away their lives.
Suicide – Become trees so they cannot inflict punishment upon themselves.
Crimes of the mind vs. Crimes of the body – Two trajectories:
1. Sins are judged more harshly if they are sins of the mind rather than the body. Using the mind for evil is worse than using the body. This point is exemplified by violence against oneself and neighbors that is punished in the upper Seventh Circle, versus the traitors and falsifiers that are at the lowest regions of hell. The punishments becoming increasingly horrible just as the sins committed become more related to the corruption of the mind.
2. The second trajectory works with the first. As the sins become more severe, the punishment inflicted is equally intensified. The body becomes increasingly disfigured through rougher sin, to the point that its appearance can hardly be distinguished.
4. Literary Awareness
Dante may be one of the first writers to be consciously aware of his existence as a writer within the text he composes.
Eternalizes his name – As Dante reaches the level of hell where Virgil is placed, four other great intellects of the time gather around. The five greats invite Dante to stand among them, symbolizing the induction of Dante as one of the greatest poets of his age. Dante is aware of his literary capacity.
Political and Social Commentary – Because Dante writes concerning a book of punishment and sin, he can place his own contemporaries in the rings of hell as well. He places his political enemies in sinful levels, while pitying those that are his friends and party members. Dante also comments upon the state of Florence, and goes as far as to establish its future. With sin, Dante reestablishes a standard of human laws upon which sin can be judged. The greatest sinners are the traitors, especially those who have betrayed Jesus and Julius Caesar. He has even found a place for those questionable ones, such as those that have never known God and those that came before his time.
Cultural Awareness – Dante is aware of Dido, Ulysses, and all the great persons of the classical age. He places them into levels of hell based on their sins. He uses them to explicate the inferno he has created, but also to add to his own literary genius.
Canto XXVI, Lines 46-142
The Canto of Ulysses – As Dante comes upon the Eight Pouch of the Eighth Circle, he sees the fraudulent sinners each engulfed in a flame. Ulysses shares a flame with Diomedes who together committed the fraud of the horse that allowed the seed of Rome to escape. Dante asks Ulysses to speak of how he found his death. Ulysses begins his story with his desire to see the world. In his departure from home, he leaves three family members, his son, Penelope, and his father for three personal goals of experience of the world, of vices and the worth of men (98-99). Along with a small company, Ulysses sails out. However, Ulysses is attempting to go beyond the limits of nature. Because of hubris, he believes he can transgress the binds of humanity and go further than any regular man. He persuades his men by manipulation of their minds and a false eagerness. This is his punishment as much as the Trojan horse. He counseled his men to their death when a sudden whirlwind rose and closed upon them. Like Ulysses, Dante is going where no man has gone before: into the underworld.
Canto XXXIII, Lines 13-87
The Canto of Ugolino – Ugolino is a traitor to family and nation. It is the only story in the text that crosses over between cantos. In the canto before, Dante first sees Ugolino gnawing on the archbishop’s head, and requests to know why he is punishing the other man in such a way. Ugolino tells his story that he was locked in a tower with his children to starve to death. At one point, he becomes blind and his children one by one fall dead. He calls upon them for two days, but he explains that the force of fasting became greater than grief. Ugolino’s story is significant because he cannot outright tell Dante that he had eaten his
children. He can only verbalize it in the form of a dream about a father wolf and his young whelps.
Canto I – The start of his journey and his loss of the path that never strays
Canto V – Dido’s story and the story of Paola and Francesca
Comparisons to Other Texts
Sin and Human Accountability
Sinners in the Inferno are physically punished for their sins. This mirrors their physical deterioration and suffering. Humans are fully accountable for their
actions, and are punished for them in hell.
St. Augustine displays a similar representation of sin as it is the corruption of the human body and mind. Without God and confessions, sins literally tear the
person apart. Equally, the sins committed are the fault of the individual and humans are the facilitator of their own sin. The Journey
Although dissimilar to the eye, To the Lighthouse, the Odyssey, and the Inferno, share a distinguishing aspect of a quest. All the characters are moving towards an end goal, either looking for adventure, finding oneself, or attempting to reach heaven. The goal is important and the PATH that the characters take is significant.
Primo Levi and Dante attempt to create hells that function to dehumanize man. In order to describe sin and punishment, the two writers distinguish man as
the tearing away of layers and the corruption of the mind. Stasis in Auschwitz and the underworld are significant aspects that are related. The
canto of Ulysses is also represented in both texts. Virgil
Virgil the writer versus Virgil the guide. Dante views the Aeneid as one of the single greatest texts ever written. He praises Virgil throughout the poem, and Virgil is seen as wise and a protector.
Hubris affects Dante, Odysseus, Agamemnon, and Xerxes in similar ways. They all believe that they can bypass the laws of their nature. They believe they can transgress the bounds that nature has placed upon them. Dante is going where no man has gone before in hell. Xerxes punishes the land and the sea. Agamemnon walks upon the robes, an action reserved for the gods. Odysseus or Ulysses, attempts to go beyond the reaches of the known world, seeing sights no man has ever seen.
DECAMERON by BOCCACCIO
1) Love, Fortune, Ingenuity
These three forces are at work throughout the entire book. Love is closely alligned with desire or the natural, while Ingenuity is the work of men. Often there is a struggle between these two forces in each story. The representation of Fortune in the text is very close to that of Chance. Fortune comes along an messes everything up. It can never be predicted and it can conveniently explain anything unfortunate. Fortune always makes the stories more unpredictable. The battle between Love and Ingenuity can also be looked at from the perspective of Nature verse Society.
2) The Catholic Clergy and Women
Boccaccio is very critical of the present Catholic Clergy and Dogma. He is very careful not to show preference for one religion over another. Furthermore he even includes stories that are critical of catholicism. His social attitude towards Women even reflects his ideas. During the time period the church still suported Eve’s sin and women’s general wickedness. He clearly does not follow that ideology
3) Boccaccio vs. Dante
Boccaccio had read Dante’s work and considered Dante as one of his role models. Throughout the book it is important to look for connections between the two works, as Boccaccio always has Dante’s work in mind.
Name Dioneo Emilia Fiammetta Filomena Filostrato Lauretta Neifile Pampinea Panfilo
gender male female female female male female female female male
A lover, who loves to please women
She first only writes of nobles and then includes peasents and clergy members narcissist
very assertive- cleaver stories
tales of sex
name means justice ad stories are filled with it
assertive and favors authority
oldest and wisest woman- her idea to come to the countryside- queen for first day lover of all
survival of any member of society but luck. Then the trip to the countryside is outlined and the rules for the story telling is given (it is decided that they should have fun since the escaped the sorrows of the city).
Story I: In this story the man called Ser Cepperello, who is a friar, gives a false confession and then dies. He, however becomes a saint in death. This can be compared to Dante, as Boccaccio was in love with Dante and references him often.
Story 2: This story concerns Abraham, a Jew, who’s faith is challenged by Jehannot. Abraham subsequently takes a trip to Rome where he experiences the corruption of the Clergy. He then returns to Paris and becomes a Christian.
Story 3: this is another story concerned with religion. Melchizedek is also a Jew. He has stories concerning three rings. Saladin attempts to trick but Melchizedek avoids the trap. This shows how Boccaccio values cunningness as a quality.
Story 7: The daughter of the Sultan of Babylon is sent off to become the wife of the King of Algarve. She, however, passes through the hands of nine men over four years in several different locations. After being returned to her father as a virgin she is sent off again in attempt to marry the King of Algarve.
Story 8: the count of Antwerp is forced to go into exile about being falsely accused of several obscenities including ravishing the women
Introduces the theme of pity and the necessity of it in the time of the plague. “To take pity on people in ditress is a human quality which every man and woman should possess, but it is especially requisite in those who have once needed comfort, and found it in others.”- also emotion plays a larger role than we have seen before.
The background of the plague is given along with the horrors associated with a world which can turn on its members so quickly and with so little guiding the
accusing him. He returns only to find his family well. He becomes a groom in the French army and then after establishing his
innocence, is returned to his former position.
Story 9: this story again deals with religion. Having lost his money as a result of being tricked by Ambrogiuolo, Berabo of Genoa decides to have
his wife killed and orders someone to do so. Being clever, she escapes as a man and becomes a servant to the Sultan. During her time working for him she finds Ambrogiuolo and lures him to Alexandria where he is punished. She and Berabo are then free to go home. They have gained a multitude of riches.
Story 1: This story deals with the church and Boccaccio’s displeasure with it. By saying that the nuns run off with Masetto, the “dumb” gardener at the convent, and take him to bed.
Story 10: Alibech is taught how to put the devil back into hell, again the connection between Dante and Boccaccio is apparent, but is taken away only to find love and marriage.
Day IV: Speaking of love that ended unhappily.
Story 1: Tancredi kills his daughters lover and sends her his heart. She reacts to this by covering the heart in poison and then drinking the
same liquid, ending her own life.
Story 2: This concerns a friar who assumes the identity of the Angel Gabrielle and tells a woman that he, as the angel is in love with her. This
illustrates Boccaccio’s frustration with the current church system. The friar is later captured and kept under lock and key.
Story 5: A girls brother murders her lover who later comes to her in a dream to reveal where he is buried. She removes his head and weeps
over it in a pot of basil daily. It is later taken from her by her brother and she dies of grief.
Story 4: The story of a man finding his friend and his daughter who he later married while remaining on good terms with her father
Story 10: The story of a wife’s infidelities as a result from her husband dinning with someone else. The boy hides and is later found by the
Story1: A knight tells stories to a lady, but makes such and awful mess of them that she begs him to stop. Story2: The story of a single phrase showing someone that they are being unreasonable.
Story 3: Another story of a woman stopping the chatter of a man. (Bishop of France)
Story 4: A man saving his own life by turning his master’s anger into laughter with a single line.
Story 5: two people poking fun at one another’s appearance in cleaver ways.
Story6: A man proves the nobility of his family and wins a free supper in the process. He uses the shape of his families’ face to prove that they
are the oldest and thus the most noble.
Story 7: A woman is caught with a lover and brought to court, she points out that the law is not fair because women had no say in making it and
thus secures her acquittal.
Story 8: A man turning a girls words on her as he forces her to look in the mirror if she cannot bear the sight of ugly people. She remained
witless not getting Fresco’s meaning.
Story 9: The story of properly delivering and insult and the result being an end of taunting. Story 10: shows detest with religion by way of someone saying that saints were roasted.
Story 2: The story of a woman cleverly disguising her lover to her husband and thus getting away with an affair.
Story 6: Another story of a woman involved with a lover and her ways of covering his presence.
Story 8: A woman, who’s affairs are discovered by her husband but she still manages to outsmart him by placing another woman in her place to
receive a beating and then her brothers accusing him of beating women.
Story 9: A woman proving her love to her over by answering acts of sincerity and then actually making love in front of her husband. He thinks
his eyes are deceiving him.
Story 7: A story of a woman forcing a man she is in love with to spend time out of doors in the winter waiting for her but then she has to spend time naked on top of a tower in July exposed to flies.
Story 6: Several mistakes lead to families sleeping with each other and then an explanation ensues. Story 10: A man trying to turn his wife into a mare but my saying he didn’t want a tail ruins the spell.
Story 5: A woman wanting a garden in January who has a husband who say that she can perform favors for the magician. The magician relieves her of the promise.
woman’s husband. The husband discovers her deception but the two come to terms. Day 6- Ruled by Elissa and deals with those people who are cleaver verbally or in certain situations.
Story 10: A man marrying a peasant woman, having her children and then making her believe that they are dead. She endures everything with patience and so
he loves her all the more and brings her back into his house.
ESSAYS by MONTAIGNE
Plot Summary/Major themes
To the Reader:
By addressing the reader, the author assumes that he must justify his reasons for writing and explain why he has the authority to write even though he was not inspired by a muse or by god. He writes original ideas unlike preceding authors who rewrote known stories, but his writing is not fictitious or inventive. Montaigne purpose for writing was to provide his friends and family with a method of remembering his character and disposition. He imagines a general audience that will either be interested or not, but he warns the reader that he is the subject of his book and the reader is not obligated to find him interesting.
Montaigne then describes how he portrays himself. He sets up a spectrum with total nakedness on one end and ornate dress on the other, placing himself in the middle in “everyday dress,” which suggests that a depiction of him either naked or in fancy dress, would be inaccurate. He views the nakedness with a complicated mix of condescension and envy. Nature is not wild, but ideal.
Montaigne professes that just like our minds women and plants alike must be fertilized for something productive to emerge. A mind without a clear goal focuses on too many things. When Montaigne decided to let his mind rest and become settled, it did so much active but disordered thinking that he decided to write down the absurdities to become ashamed of them.
On the power of the imagination:
When Montaigne sees someone suffering from a disease, he imagines himself suffering. He tells many incredible stories that illustrate the powers of the imagination: a girl becomes a boy, Gallus Vibius spent so much time studying insanity that he went insane, a person about to be executed kills himself, and Cippus, King of Italy dreams that he has horns and wakes up with them. Common people filled with fear succumb to their imaginations. An extensive explanation follows of the power of the imagination with examples of men who worried themselves first to impotency and then regained their potency through their imaginative powers. Montaigne professes that men should only have sex when they are calm and not worrying about their performance. He speaks of sex as something that men need to make attempts at to prove their powers. He acknowledges that sexual desires are often untimely and uncontrollable, like hunger or flatulence. He then recounts instances where placebo effects were enough to cure patients of their discomforts. A physician convinced one man that he was receiving enemas, when in fact he was not, and the man went home feeling better.
Montaigne then explains how he knows what he has been reporting. He admits that he makes his own inferences and that many counterexamples may exist. His goal is not to relate actual events, but instead, what might happen. He questions the authority of authors when they write histories where they comment on unknown people and events. He then debases his own ability saying that he is ignorant and has no skill.
This section is divided into three main parts:
The difficulties of describing cannibals:
Montaigne begins with the remarks of King Pyrrhus to show that the Greeks called Romans barbarians and Romans called other cultures barbaric, but a barbarian is really anyone who is dissimilar from the speaker. He describes the difficulties of even reporting what land looks like with accuracy by saying that men naturally distort what they see to conform to their preconceptions. Therefore commenting on something more subjective like culture is even more distorted.
Describing the cannibals:
Relating back to the cannibals, he says that they are barbaric in the sense that they have not changed much from their “original simplicity”(109). They have no letters, numbers, science, government, clothes, or property. They build long buildings that hold two to three hundred people and make tools out of wood. They have set customs for eating and drinking, shaving, and warfare. Essential to their society are the ideas that one should be valiant against the enemy and loving with their multiple wives. Their prophets and priests emphasize the two abovementioned ideas. The society does not tolerate people pretending to be capable of more than they are. Their acts of cannibalism where prisoners are roasted and eaten are not for nourishment, but committed out of deep vengeance. When they saw the more painful practices of the Portuguese, they adopted them and gave up cannibalism. Montaigne thinks that the Western practices of torturing a live body are more barbaric than cannibalism. He redefines cannibalism as “treachery, disloyalty, tyranny, and cruelty”(114), which are prevalent in Western warfare.
How the other nation see Montaigne’s society:
When cannibals visited Charles the Ninth, they did not understand why the strong people guarding the King obeyed him rather than choosing one of their own to command them. They also did not understand the poverty and injustice that they saw. It made no sense that some people were starving and others obese. When Montaigne talked to them via translator (whom he thought conveyed his questions poorly) he asked how people in the cannibals’ society are honored. A visitor with an honorable position responded that people clear a path for him through their thickets so that he can walk easily through the villages.
The last line of this essay is: “All this does not seem too bad. But then, they do not wear breeches”(119). This is very ironic because it judges the cannibal based on one piece of information even though Montaigne says throughout the essay that judgment is a very complicated and difficult thing to do and that it requires the consideration of many things.
Democritus and Heraclitus:
Montaigne explains that he tests his judgments by looking at the elements that comprise the larger judgment. He presents the idea that we all cut up information and perceive it differently (class discussion: Is the purple that I see the same as the purple you see?), yet we are responsible for the conclusions our minds come to. Montaigne condemns Alexander for being equally passionate about a trivial game of chess and his “glorious expeditions into India”(132). Montaigne believes that humanity should be condemned as much as possible, “I do not think we can ever be despised as much as we deserve”(133), so it is no surprise that Democritus, the philosopher who laughs at the absurdity of the human condition appeals to him more than Heraclitus. He clarifies that serious condemnation is not what he seeks, but rather an awareness that what we as humans value is inane.
Democritus-A philosopher who found the human condition ridiculous and always had a “mocking and ribald” expression.
Heraclitus-A philosopher who felt compassion for the human condition and always appeared sad with tears in his eyes.
Knowledge: Montaigne knows everything from hearing it from someone else who heard it from yet another removed source. Everyone has a limited knowledge and one cannot know everything all time. All perspectives are limited and everyone takes in different things from seeing a situation. The only thing one knows is what is in one’s head. There is no world to know since it is different for each person. And what the world does know is always changing. The perfect form of the essay tracks changes in the world.
Points of Contact
1. Montaigne privatizes reading. Similarly to how reading changed Augustine, Montaigne’s personal reading and interpretation of the Aeneid is what makes the act of reading significant.
2. Boccaccio and Montaigne both wrote for specific audiences and with specific intentions. The former wrote to give advice to ladies in love. Montaigne wrote to give his friends and family a way to remember his character.
3. Being only concerned with the private life is un-Athenian and is directly at odds with Pericle’s funeral oration. Montaigne’s approval of the private arena is very different from what we had read up to this point. A secret life was so unacceptable that private issues were played out in public in Agamemnon and Lysistrata. (Medea is a possible exception since she wanted to kill public figures for her own private motives.)
4. The cannibals view two people as halves of a whole like in the Symposium.
Montaigne begins this chapter by stating that his project is concerned with portraying the entire man. He says that he is the first author concerned with himself not simply in one facet of his life, but in the whole. He says that in this case, it is not possible to separate the author from the work, so one’s opinion of his work is his or her opinion of him.
He next begins his discussion of conscience and repentance. After saying that he rarely repents and is comfortable with his own conscience, he says that each person’s vice troubles that person and his virtue makes him feel good. In addition, one’s opinion of himself and his own actions is worth infinitely more than that of someone else. One’s conscience is most clear in how one acts in his home, where no one can see him because when no one can see them, people are more likely to give in to their habitual vices.
Men are creatures of habit and are quite prone to relapse into habitual things that they have given up. Often when men repent, their repentance is not complete. Montaigne tells the story of a peasant he met who in his youth saw more profit in becoming a thief than in working. In his old age, he was able to live comfortably. His repentance was to steadily pay back the descendants of those from whom he stole and to pass on this duty to his own descendants. He saw
the wrong in his actions, but it was not enough to make him live in poverty to pay back those he wronged. Montaigne then talks about regret in decision
making. He says that he rarely regrets his decisions, and that the outcome being bad does not necessarily mean that the decision was regrettable. He also says that he rarely gives advice or considers that of others. He likes to be completely self-reliant and not involved in the affairs of others.
Montaigne closes by discussing old age. He says that true repentance is not the lessening of one’s desires for vice in old age. He says that one must be tempted and resist to truly repent. He also says that while in old age one loses many vices, they are replaced with what he feels are even worse ones.
Montaigne begins by discussing knowledge and law. The most basic yearning is for knowledge. There are so many diverse things in the world that there could never be enough laws to cover them all, and much is still up to interpretation. Montaigne believes that in interpreting laws, language becomes so convoluted so as to become useless. He then says that in his society there is so much useless interpretation. There are commentaries on books and commentaries on the commentaries and the material becomes more confusing each time. He finds that laws often do not favor the just or innocent. He also says that he would leave any place whose laws would prohibit his freedom.
Montaigne then discusses learning. He says that when one finds he is wrong about something he thought he knew, he learns more about knowing that he is often wrong than about the actual fact he was corrected on. Montaigne says he often finds that those who most strongly assert their opinions are usually those who are most often wrong in them. He feels that it is necessary for people to hear criticism. He could never be below any person or king because he would not be able to keep himself from criticizing that person when it was necessary.
Montaigne then begins his discussion on experience. He says that men should be students of the maladies that affect their own bodies and would really not need doctors if they did. Doctors often disappoint him because they cannot truly fix sicknesses they have not had. Montaigne then discusses how the different customs of certain countries and classes are quite odd to others but make sense to those who practice them. He does not believe that they are all that different. Each person’s actions are a result of his experiences. He then discusses the many habitual things he must do each day. He champions the importance of following one’s habits and says that make a man stop such things for health reasons actually hurts more than helps him.
He then moves on to illness and ailments. He says that one must accept these as a necessary part of life. One must have balance in his life and illnesses balance out times of good health. Even if illnesses bring impending death, it is good that a man of old age should be thinking about his death. Montaigne discusses how the pain of his kidney stone is balanced with the great feeling of joy he gets after passing one. He also says that his malady is a nice one to have because it does not prohibit him from doing things. It may make it difficult because of the pain, but as long as one can endure the pain, he can live a normal life. Montaigne does not believe in medicine for his kidney stones but simply letting them pass. He also does not believe in trying to predict when the come because he feels adding that fear does not make him gain in any way. He says that no matter what his illness does to him physically, his mind remains healthy.
Montaigne’s thoughts begin to reflect his acceptance of death as not far. He talks of the way his father raised him and says that men should always personally see to raising their sons. He discusses his habits and his desires in old age. He talks about his eating and drinking habits and his habits of dress in the summer and winter. He discusses the pleasures he appreciates in life despite their lack of importance. He feels it is important to enjoy the moment at hand. If he is walking in an orchard, he may think of other things, but he also appreciates the beauty of the orchard. He praises moderation in life and the happiness it brings him.
Montaigne says that he is not sad or mad that death is coming to him. He says that one can only be like this if one has truly enjoyed life, which he has. He says that he appreciates philosophy that applies directly to human life and champions the enjoyment of the experiences of human life. He closes by saying that the best life is one of moderation that is still greatly enjoyed.
The importance of exploring oneself – Every topic Montaigne discusses is in relation to him. Each is important in how it affects his life. In a book of essays on many different diverse topics, Montaigne remains very committed to the rational importance of things in human lives. Experience and human rationality are far more important than any philosophy.
The importance of experience – Montaigne discusses many customs of other lands that people in his own land find strange. However, he also relates how his own customs would seem odd to them. He says that each custom is not so different but that experience and one’s own life are of chief importance in how one views things in the world
KING LEAR by SHAKESPEARE
King Lear decides to give up his power, and divide his kingdom among his three daughters: Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia. In order for each daughter to receive their share of the land, Lear asks each to profess their love to him. Goneril and Regan flatter Lear, but Cordelia says nothing, unable to express her love in words. Lear refuses any land to Cordelia, and instead divvies it up between the first two daughters. The king of France still seeks Cordelia’s hand in marriage even though she has been disowned, and so she leaves to France. The loyal Kent advises Lear that he is making a mistake, and Lear sends him away too.
Soon afterwards, Goneril and Regan, determined to strip their weak father of any remaining power, begin plotting against him by refusing the presence of his knights. Lear, overtaken by his daughters’ deceit, goes insane, and is eventually caught in the woods, naked, during a storm. Lear is followed by the fool, and a disguised Kent.
In the meantime, Edmund, the illegitimate son of Gloucester, a member of the nobility, also plays a trick on his father. He convinces him that his real son, Edgar, is planning to kill him, and causes him to turn against Edgar. Edgar dresses up as a beggar and moves to the forest in order to avoid his father who now wants to kill him.
Regan charges Gloucester with treason when he attempts to help Lear. They banish him to the forest where he wanders blindly and is discovered by his son Edgar who then leads him to Dover.
Cordelia and a French battalion arrive at Dover to save Lear who has also entered the scene. Lear’s two daughters, Goneril and Regan, both fall in love with Edmund and a conflict ensues. Goneril and Edmund conceive to kill Albany, Regan’s husband, because he sides with Lear.
Edgar tricks Gloucester into believing that he has jumped off a cliff to prevent him from committing suicide, although Gloucester eventually passes away anyway. The English battalions arrive to Dover, fronted by Edmund, and defeat Cordelia’s army, taking Lear and Cordelia as prisoners. Edmund battles with Edgar and Edmund is killed. Jealous of her sister, Goneril poisons Regan and soon takes her own life. Cordelia is killed and Lear mourns her death so deeply that he himself passes away. The story ends with Kent, Albany, and Edgar ready to take on the country.
King Lear- A dynamic character, Lear, the King of Britain, undergoes a transformation from King to mad man, as he realizes the betrayal of his daughters who strip him of his dignity. Lear initially fails to locate Cordelia’s sincere expressions of love and instead falls for Goneril and Regan’s fake flattery. He learns by the end of his mistake, but only after it is too late.
Cordelia- The dearest and most honest of Lear’s daughters, Cordelia is unable to speak when she is asked to artificially put her love into words. Lear disowns her and she joins the French, but ultimately proves her ongoing loyalty by returning to save her father.
Goneril- One of Lear’s daughters and wife to the duke of Albany, Goneril is treacherous and deceitful. She plots against Lear to diminish his power, then cheats
on her husband with Edmund, and poisons her sister out of jealousy.
Regan- Lear’s third daughter and the wife to the duke of Cornwall, Regan is just as wicked as her sister.
Gloucester- A nobleman and father, Gloucester shares many similar traits with Lear. For instance, he believes the wrong child, falling for Edmund’s trap and turning on Edgar.
Edmund- Gloucester’s illegitimate son, Edmund, like Goneril and Regan, betrays his father, claiming that Edgar is plotting to kill him.
Edgar- Gloucester’s real son, Edgar falls for his brother’s trickery and escapes his disillusioned father but later returns to accompany him to Dover.
Kent- A loyal follower of the King, Kent is initially turned away by the King when he advises him against dividing up the land, but returns later, disguised, to prove his loyalty.
Fool- Follows King around and speaks in distinct dialect. He advises the King and is usually unhindered in his manner.
Cordelia says to herself that she will be silent, “What shall Cordelia speak? Love, and be silent” (I.1.62). However, she actually says “nothing”
in response to Lear
Repetition of “nothing” throughout the play
Multiplication of love: Regan says her love for Lear is much more than Goneril’s love, as if she multiplied her love Division of Cordelia’s love: Cordelia divided her love in half between her future husband and her father.
“That lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry Half my love with him, half my care and duty.
Sure I shall never marry like my sisters,
[To love my father all.]” (I.1.101-104)
Subtraction of Lear’s knights: Lear’s daughters all force him to decrease his number of knights from 100 to zero. Peripeteia:Lear’sdeclinecanbechartedthroughthedecreasingnumberofhisknightsthatstretchesthroughAct1andAct2. Thenumberofknightscan
characterize his decline because the knights give Lear his power and standing. Parallels between characters:
Fool vs. Cordelia
Both refuse to flatter Lear, as the Fool insults Lear and Cordelia refuses to express her love for Lear in the extravagant way he
The Fool speaks in parables and riddles, whereas Cordelia speaks simply and directly The Fool says everything, whereas Cordelia says nothing
Subplots: Gloucester Story vs. Lear Story Similarities
Believe their children that are lying to them instead of their children that are telling the truth
Dispute over inheritance Differences
Lear has 3 daughters
Gloucester has 2 sons
Gloucester plot is a conflict over nature Lear plot is a conflict over culture
Significance of Clothing:
Clothing outlines the status of the individual
Kent wears beggarly clothes in disguise to solidify the role he is playing
Kent insults Oswald’s clothes, while at the same time, Kent himself is dressing below his rank (II.2.14-15) Reversal of fortune from when Lear has everything (dressed) to nothing at all (nakedness)
Nakedness makes one a beast, whereas clothing makes one human
When Lear strips himself of his clothes, this symbolically changes him into the mad character that ends the play.
Points of Contact: King Lear vs. Lysistrata:
The women in both texts control the domestic as well as national lives
What begins as a national dispute in King Lear becomes a domestic fight over Edmund. What begins as a domestic problem (lack of sex) in Lysistrata becomes a national problem.
Inversions like in Genesis
Lear’s reversal of fortune: from rich king to nothing
Edmund says that bastards are better than legitimate children and that he will prevail over Edgar (Edmund’s soliloquy: (I.2.1-22))
Close reading: EDMUND
“Thou, Nature, art my goddess; to thy law My services are bound. Wherefore should I Stand in the plague of custom, and permit The curiosity of nations to deprive me,
For that I am some twelve or fourteen moonshines Lag of a brother? Why bastard? Wherefore base, When my dimensions are as well compact,
My mind as generous, and my shape as true,
As honest madam’s issue? Why brand they us Who, in the lusty stealth of nature, take
More composition and fierce quality
Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed,
Go to th’ creating a whole tribe of fops
Got ‘tween asleep and wake? Well, then. Legitimate Edgar, I must have your land. Our father’s love is to the bastard Edmund As to th’ legitimate. Fine word, “legitimate.” Well, my legitimate, if this letter speed,
And my invention thrive, Edmund the base Shall top th’ legitimate. I grow, I prosper. Now, gods, stand up for bastards.” (I.2.1-22)
-“bond” – also used to describe Cordelia’s relationship to Lear
– line 9-10: Edmund shifts himself from bastard to base
– revaluing terms: he first says bastards are base, then says bastards are stronger than legitimate children, as they are made in lustful sex, then he says bastards will prevail over legitimate children
– inversions: he goes from low to high – “Edmund the base, Shall top th’ legitimate” (20-21).
-syntax: the sentences are interrupted because this is a soliloquy, which shows how the mind works and shows private thoughts
DON QUIXOTE by CERVANTES
Don Quixote- an old “middle class” landowner who becomes obsessed with knight errantry after spending all his money on buying books on chivalric romance. His main purpose afterwards is to bring back the practice of knight errantry. He sells what he can to put together a costume, rounds up his feeble horse (Rocinante) and goes off to revive the chivalric virtues and values.
Sancho Panza- Don Q’s trusty sidekick, the simple peasant who doesn’t know much and does not believe Don Q to be insane (he is the only character who can exist both inside and outside of the Don’s world). He tries to point out to his master the reality of things, but the Don has an answer for all the irregularities.
Cide Hamete Benegeli- the Moor whose manuscripts Cervantes says he has his story about the Don.
Dulcinea del Toboso- the lady whom Don Q. claims as his princess. In reality, she is a simple peasant girl (who isn’t the prettiest nor the most feminine creature). As readers, we never get to see Dulcinea: the first time Sancho is sent to deliever her Don Q’s love letters the priest and the barber intercept him, while the second time, Sanco says that she’s been enchanted and so he can’t find her.
Zoraida (Maria)- the Middle Eastern girl who flees her country with a captive she freed so that she would be able to freely worship the Virgin Mary in a Catholic church
Captain Viedma a.k.a. The Captive- Zoraida’s husband who aids in her escape and later marries her. He turns up at the inn where Don Q. and all the friends he’s picked up along the way are also staying, and ends up being the brother of the wealthy Mexican judge who also comes to stay at the inn.
Lucinda- a beautiful and virtuous girl who falls in love with Cardenio. Her father promises to give her to a wealthy Duke (Don Fernando) but she threatens suicide and refuses to marry him. She is reunited with Cardenio at the inn, where she is able to convince Don Fernando to leave them be.
Cardenio- the righteous young man who is in love with Lucinda. He goes mad upon believing that Lucinda consented to marry Don Fernando and runs to the mountains where he has lapses into madness and becomes hostile.
Dorotea- the daughter of two old but well off farmers who work on Don Fernando’s land. She was responsible for the affairs of the state. Don Fernando promised her his love, and after being convinced she consented to sleep with him, only to be left by him because of her family’s background. She runs away to find him and convince him to come back to her, and the priest and the barber find her hiding in the same mountains where Cardenio was hiding. She agrees to pretend to be Princess Micomicona and trick Don Q. into following her to her kingdom under the pretenses that there was a monster terrorizing it (however, she was really making him go back home). At the inn, she convinces Don Fernando to do the right thing, and ends up with him in the end.
Don Fernando- an arrogant young (and well to do) Duke who hears of Lucinda’s greatness and steals her from Cardenio while at the same time taking Dorotea’s virginity and leaving her due to her poor background.
The Priest- Don Q’s town priest who is fervently against chivalric tales and burns all of the Don’s library. He runs into Sancho and goes to meet the Don and try to convince him to bring him home…he ends up coming up with the story of Princess Micomicona.
The Great Enchanter-
The Barber- The Priest’s right hand in trying to save Don Q from himself. Also aids in the book burning and the Princess Micomicona scheme.
After reading all the books on chivalric romance that he can find, Don Quixote de la Mancha sets out to bring back chivalry in Spain. He fashions himself a knight’s costume –except that his has a very poor helmet, and old armor that he found in his barn…not taking into account the fact that he has no right to be donning the title of Don Quixote— saddles up his horse Rocinante, and just sets out (without any provisions since in all the books he read, provisions were never mentioned).
He stops at an inn which he takes to be a castle. During dinner, he realizes that he hasn’t been knighted and asks the innkeeper to perform the ceremony. The innkeeper agrees solely to amuse himself and asks Don Q to stay awake all night to prepare for the ceremony. Late in the night, the Don makes trouble
so the innkeeper has to perform a hurried (and most random) ceremony in order to send the Don on his way. The innkeeper also tries to cheat the
Don, and upon realizing that he has no money commands Don Q to return to his home and gather money and supplies for his journeys.
First Adventure: encounters a young boy being whipped by his master (whom Don Q believes to be a knight) and orders the master to free him solely on the
man’s word. Upon leaving, the master just takes his anger towards Don Q out on the little boy and whips him even more.
Picks up Sancho Panza, a local farmer who is very … dimwitted and has his hopes set on being the governor of an island that Don Q has promised to him at
the end of their journeys.
The Priest and the Barber burn the Don’s library. His niece tells him that ‘the great enchanter” was responsible for the missing books—Don Q takes it to be
his great nemesis who always makes things look different than what they really are.
Second Adventure: Don Q fights the windmills thinking they are giants.
Third Adventure: Don Q sees two monks and a carriage carrying a lady which he takes to be two enchanters kidnapping a princess. He knocks one monk off
of his mule and Sancho begins to rob him, claiming the spoils of war. The monk’s servant beats Sancho and they both escape. Meanwhile Don Q is
telling the lady to visit Dulcinea and thank her, but one of her attendants beats him away.
Don Q starts to lay out what the chivalric code is (i.e. never drawing swords against someone who isn’t a knight and carrying an all healing balsam.)
Don Q meets shepherds who tell him the story of the shepherd who died of a broken heart after being rejected by a very attractive shepherdess.
The Don and Sancho move along to another inn (the one where all the love stories are later resolved) and the Don again mistakes the inn for a castle. Here,
Sancho and Don Q cause more trouble: Don Q takes the balsam he concocted and vomits and passes out, only to wake up feeling better… he praises himself on a successful balsam recipe. Sancho also drinks the balsam and it makes him incredibly ill—which Don Q blames on the fact that Sancho isn’t a knight. After refusing to pay the bill, Sancho ends up being tossed in a blanket by men who the Don thinks are phantoms.
Fourth Adventure: Don Q sees a group of priests mourning a dead body and attacks them. After the battle, Sancho names him “Knight of the Sad Countenance” (or Knight of the Sorry Face as our translation put it). That night, Sancho and Don Q stay up because of a horrible banging sound. In the morning they find it to be hammers used to beat cloth.
Don Q robs a man on a mule of what he thinks is a “Mambrino’s helment”, but its really just a barber wearing his barber’s basin on his head to protect himself from the rain.
Fifth Adventure: Don Q frees slaves that are being taken to the galleys for various different crimes. After their freedom he tells them to pay homage to Dulcinea, but they just beat him up too.
Afraid of the Holy Brotherhood, Sancho and the Don escape to the woods of Sienna Morena, and unbeknownst to them, one of the freed prisoners is also in those woods. That night, he steals Sancho’s donkey.
The Don and Sancho meet up with Cardenio, for now just a local madman. Don Q tells Sancho to tell Dulcinea that he has gone insane out of love for her. On his way to find Dulcinea, Sanch encounters the Priest and the Barber, who tell him that they will help to bring the Don home.
The Priest and the Barber meet Cardenio who tells them his story: how Don Fernando stole Lucinda from him. They then meet Dorotea, the girl whose heart Don Fernando broke after promising her marriage. Dorotea agrees to pretend to be Princess Micomicona in order to convince the Don to follow her to her kingdom when in reality just leading him home.
They stop at an inn where they meet Zoraida & Captain Viedma, Captain Viedma’s brother, Don Fernando and Lucinda. Here all the love stories are reconciled—Lucinda and Cardenio, along with Don Fernando and Dorotea are reunited.
The Priest and the Barber escort Don Q back to his hometown with the Don in a cage.
PART II: Prologue, Chapters 1-3, 72-74 (what was on the online syllabus) Chapters 1-3
Part II starts a few weeks after Part I ended & relates the story of how (in those few weeks) someone published a false sequel to Don Q Part I. Don Q is still steadfast on keeping up with his chivalric quests.
Sancho tells Don Q that their adventures have been published by Cide Hamete Aubergine, who the Don takes to be a sage enchanter
Sancho and Don Q are at an inn where they meet up with Don Alvaro Tarfe, the author of the false Don Q sequel. The Don asks him to take back what he
wrote and swear that he didn’t write about the real Don Q, which he does.
The two return to their hometown and Don Q falls ill with a fever. When he wakes up he realizes that his name is not and cannot be Don Quixote because of
his social standing. He makes his will and leaves all his remaining belongings to his niece, housekeeper and faithful squire Sancho. The Don
regrets ever having gone insane and dies.
Major Themes Reality vs. Illusion
We know that the books of chivalry have made Don Quixote incapable of truly seeing “reality.” To him, the world of chivalric romance is true, while reality is transcendent. The convention of a knight errant is more important than reality, and such things as honor, justice, valor, courage and romance should be (if not already are) true and perfectly existing. He is deluded and idealistic. In his reality, an inn is a castle, and a windmill is a giant. Cervantes’ reality is somewhat different, however. To him, the parody of chivalric romance is what is real. The relationship of their respective views towards life is one of ideal vision versus realistic vision, and there is a constant struggle between reality and illusion, illusion being characterized by such things as lying, deception, deceit, and trickery. Even reality itself takes on a disguise (as shown with the traveling actors – the world is a place that tricks us. The priest, the barber, his housekeeper, his niece, and even Sancho deceive Quixote (There are several examples – when the characters plan to destroy Quixote’s library, when Sancho doesn’t take the letter to Dulcinea, etc).
Perspective and Narration
There are three worlds apparent throughout the work – the real world, that of chivalric romance, and the pastoral world. From the beginning, the narrative’s
accuracy is called into question when Cervantes tells his readers that he has found this story, and was translated by a Moor, and written by a man named Cid Hamete. However, Cervantes reminds the audience that the author cannot be trusted because he is himself a Moor. The narrative is immediately destabilized. Cervantes’ novel attests to the fact that the style of the narration determines the “realiability” of a narrative, and not the accuracy of the details – if the facts are properly arranged, then can the most improbable story appear to be true. Quixote’s focus on his own personal history combines with the historiography of Cid Hamete; once arguments about how the details should be told become arguments about how the details actually occurred, the story becomes history, and fable becomes fact. It is a constant rotation from mimesis (a representation of reality) to diegesis (no claim to represent reality; it is mediated through a narrator). And once diegesis takes form, the narrator must then choose sides, making an outsider part of the reality of the work. In Part II, Cervantes enters the novel as a character, and the characters themselves, aware of the fact that books have been written about them, try to change the content of some works, creating some sort of self-relied narrative structure, blurring the lines between reality and fiction. This makes the readers question the principles of the narration, as Quixote makes his peers question their own lifestyles – the form of the novel mirrors its function.
Don Quixote tries to be a true example of what a knight-errant should be with the aim of reinstating the chivalric code of morality. However, no one
understands Don Quixote, and he understands no one. Only Sancho, who is spurred by the hope for his own profit, and only begins to understand Don Quixote’s sense of morality, can mediate between the knight-errant and the rest of the world. Although he at times exhibits deception, morals always prevail.
“so he could take it as true and proven that all knights errant, of which so many books are full to overflowing, kept their purses well lined in readiness for any eventuality, and that they also carried shirts and small chests full of ointments for curing the wounds they received” (Part II, Ch. III, p. 37)
This quote marks the beginning of Don Quixote’s journey, and shows his own tendency to believe all strangers, even those who deceive him. Don Quixote has set out on his journey, ready to be a knight-errant on a high mission, and yet has forgotten all things that are needed in the reality of a chivalric romance; not only is Don Quixote deluded about reality, he is also unsure of the reality of his fantasy. This also shows Don Quixote’s tendency to be lied to and teased by others. The innkeeper, whom Don Quixote believes to be the head of a castle, takes advantage of Don Quixote’s “madness,” and falsely encourages his madness, mocking the reality of Don Quixote’s chivalric romance.
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by AUSTEN
Plot Summary: The book opens with the eligible Mr. Bingley arriving in Netherfield. The Bennets have 5 unmarried daughters, who will have no income after their father’s death if they do not marry. Mr. Bingley’s arrival brings an opportunity to marry one of the daughters, so it is with this that the story must start. Mr. Bennet pays a social visit to Mr. Bingley, and then the Bennets attend a ball at which Mr. Bingley is present. He is taken with Jane and spends much of the evening dancing with her. His close friend, Mr. Darcy, is less pleased with the evening and haughtily refuses to dance with Elizabeth, which makes everyone view him as arrogant and obnoxious. Over the next few weeks, Mr. Darcy finds himself increasingly attracted to Elizabeth’s charm and intelligence, and Jane and Mr. Bingley continue to build a friendship. Jane is invited to visit Netherfield, but is caught in the rain on her way over, and becomes ill. Elizabeth wants to take care of Jane, so she walks to Netherfield, arriving all splattered, which causes Mr. Bingley’s sisters to look down on her, but it brings admiration for her determination from Mr. Darcy. Miss Bingley’s spite only increases when she notices that Darcy, whom she is pursuing, pays quite a bit of attention to Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth and Jane return home, they find Mr. Collins visiting their household. Mr. Collins is a young clergyman who stands to inherit Mr. Bennet’s property, which has been “entailed”. Mr. Collins is a pompous fool, though he is quite enthralled by the Bennet girls. Shortly after his arrival, he proposes to Elizabeth. She turns him down, wounding his pride. While visiting town, the Bennet girls meet militia officers, among them Wickham, a handsome young soldier who is friendly toward Elizabeth and tells her how Darcy cruelly cheated him out of an inheritance.
The Bingleys and Darcy leave Netherfield and return to London, much to Jane’s dismay. News arrives that Mr. Collins has become engaged to Charlotte Lucas, Elizabeth’s best friend and the poor daughter of a local knight. Charlotte explains to Elizabeth that she is getting older and needs the match for financial reasons. Charlotte and Mr. Collins get married and Elizabeth promises to visit them at their new home. Jane visits the city to see friends (hoping also that she might see Mr. Bingley). However, Miss Bingley visits her and behaves rudely, while Mr. Bingley fails to visit her at all. The marriage prospects for the Bennet girls appear bleak.
That spring, Elizabeth visits Charlotte, who now lives near the home of Mr. Collins’s patron, Lady Catherine de Borough, who is also Darcy’s aunt. Darcy calls on Lady Catherine and encounters Elizabeth. One day, he makes a shocking proposal of marriage, which Elizabeth quickly refuses. She tells Darcy that she considers him arrogant and unpleasant, and then scolds him for steering Bingley away from Jane and disinheriting Wickham. Darcy leaves her but shortly thereafter delivers a letter to her. In this letter, he admits that he urged Bingley to distance himself from Jane, but claims he did so only because he thought their romance was not serious. As for Wickham, he informs Elizabeth that the young officer is a liar and that the real cause of their disagreement was Wickham’s attempt to elope with his young sister.
This letter causes Elizabeth to reevaluate her feelings about Darcy. She returns home and acts coldly toward Wickham. The militia is leaving town, which makes the younger Bennet girls distraught. Lydia manages to obtain permission from her father to spend the summer with an old colonel in Brighton, where Wickham’s regiment will be stationed. With the arrival of June, Elizabeth goes on another journey, this time with the Gardiners, who are relatives of the Bennets. The trip takes her to the North and eventually to the neighborhood of Pemberley, Darcy’s estate. She visits Pemberley, after making sure that Darcy is away, and delights in the building and grounds, while hearing from Darcy’s servants that he is a wonderful, generous master. Suddenly, Darcy arrives and behaves cordially toward her. Making no mention of his proposal, he entertains the Gardiners and invites Elizabeth to meet his sister.
Shortly thereafter, however, a letter arrives from home, telling Elizabeth that Lydia has eloped with Wickham and that the couple is nowhere to be found, which suggests that they may be living together out of wedlock. Fearful of the disgrace such a situation would bring on her entire family, Elizabeth hastens home. Mr. Gardiner and Mr. Bennet go off to search for Lydia, but Mr. Bennet eventually returns home empty-handed. Just when all hope seems lost, a letter comes from Mr. Gardiner saying that the couple has been found and that Wickham has agreed to marry Lydia in exchange for an annual income. The Bennets are convinced that Mr. Gardiner has paid off Wickham, but Elizabeth learns that the source of the money, and of her family’s salvation, was none other than Darcy.
Now married, Wickham and Lydia return to Longbourn briefly, where Mr. Bennet treats them coldly. They then depart for Wickham’s new assignment in the North of England. Shortly thereafter, Bingley returns to Netherfield and resumes his courtship of Jane. Darcy goes to stay with him and pays visits to the Bennets but makes no mention of his desire to marry Elizabeth. Bingley, on the other hand, presses his suit and proposes to Jane, to the delight of everyone but Bingley’s haughty sister. While the family celebrates, Lady Catherine de Bourgh pays a visit to Longbourn. She corners Elizabeth and says that she has heard that Darcy, her nephew, is planning to marry her. Since she considers a Bennet an unsuitable match for a Darcy, Lady Catherine demands that Elizabeth promise to refuse him. Elizabeth spiritedly refuses, saying she is not engaged to Darcy, but she will not promise anything against her own happiness. A little later, Elizabeth and Darcy go out walking together and he tells her that his feelings have not altered since the spring. She tenderly accepts his proposal, and both Jane and Elizabeth are married.
Elizabeth Bennet – Second of the five Bennet daughters, not as pretty as Jane. She is the least favorite of Mrs. Bennet, but the favorite of Mr. Bennet. She
feisty and quick-witted, but never crosses the line of propriety. Elizabeth is quick to jump to conclusions about people’s characters and often boasts about her ability to do so. However, for this reason, she represents prejudice in the text. Elizabeth values plain speaking and simplicity as markers of honesty.
Darcy — The extremely wealthy friend of Mr. Bingley. Darcy is nephew of Lady Catherine and the owner of Pemberley. Initially, the people at the ball think that Darcy is rude, prideful, and antisocial. Darcy states that Elizabeth is “not handsome enough” to dance with, which Elizabeth overhears and relays to her friends (7). Darcy falls in love with Elizabeth, but Elizabeth has no idea of his feelings until his marriage proposal. Darcy’s ability to speak and write is comparable to Elizabeth’s. However, Darcy only shows this ability to people who are very close to him. Darcy represents pride in the text.
Jane & Bingley – Jane is the oldest of the Bennet sisters, as well as the prettiest. Jane is very optimistic when judging people’s characters. She refuses to say anything negative about anyone. Bingley rents Netherfield, which is very close to the Bennet estate. Bingley is very sociable but easily persuaded by those around him. He rarely contradicts anyone’s advice. While Jane and Bingley clearly have affection for one another, due to their personalities, they allow their courtship to be manipulated by others, particularly the Bingley sisters and Darcy. Despite many obstacles, Bingley and Jane marry at the novel’s conclusion and lead a pleasant, picturesque life.
Mr. & Mrs. Bennet – Mrs. Bennet is extremely concerned with finding husbands for her daughters. While this is an important task, Mrs. Bennet often speaks in a way that compromises her daughters’ ability to find husbands. Her language is often socially inappropriate, displaying assumptions, misunderstandings, and premature boasts. Mrs. Bennet exemplifies bad behavior to the reader. Mr. Bennet is essential to the family for financial reasons because upon his death, the family estate will go to the next male relative and the daughters will lose their livelihood. Mr. Bennet is often sarcastic in a way that ridicules his family. His sarcasm displays a lack of respect towards his wife and his three youngest daughters. Mr. Bennet married Mrs. Bennet for her looks, learned what is not important in a marriage, and therefore knows whom his daughters should avoid.
Charlotte and Mr. Collins – Charlotte is a friend of the Bennet daughters and is particularly close to Elizabeth. Charlotte has no special qualities that would attract potential husbands; she is neither young nor pretty. Mr. Collins is the heir to Mr. Bennet’s estate and visits Longbourne with the intention of marrying one of the daughters. His language overly apologetic, self-aggrandizing, and overly flattering of others, especially Lady Catherine (his benefactor). There is no subtlety to Collins’s language. The marriage between Collins and Charlotte occurs suddenly and without a suspenseful courtship. Both marry out of social and economic necessity instead of any deeper emotions. Similar to the Bennets, Charlotte and Collins’s marriage shows the readers the necessity of respect and love in a marriage.
Bennet sisters (Mary, Kitty, Lydia) – All three of the sisters represent different ways of speaking and acting poorly. Mary is too abstract and unoriginal. At
the beginning of the novel, Kitty and Lydia are almost indifferentiable. The sisters represent uncontrolled use of the body; Kitty coughs and yawns at inappropriate times and Lydia interrupts Mr. Collins’s reading. In the second half of the novel, Kitty and Lydia’s imprudent behavior mirrors their inappropriate language.
Wickham – a godson of Mr. Darcy’s father. He feels that Mr. Darcy did not give him everything that the elder Mr. Darcy would have wanted. Upon meeting Elizabeth, Wickham tells her about their history and perpetuates her negative view of Darcy. While there is an interest expressed between Wickham and Elizabeth, they decide nothing can come of it because of their financial situations. Towards the novel’s end, Wickham runs off with Lydia, who believes that they will be married in Scotland. Mr. Darcy saves the family from disgrace by paying Wickham to marry Lydia.
Bingley sisters – The snobby Bingley sisters try to manipulate Bingley away from Jane and towards Darcy’s sister Georgiana. They do not believe that the Bennet sisters are good enough for either Bingley or Darcy. They are one of the main obstacles in the courtship of Jane and Mr. Bingley.
Themes and Concepts
Overall, the novel is training in social perception, particularly in relation to courtships. The different themes are all factors that the reader should consider when judging marriages.
The reader is given several different types of improper speech. In Pride and Prejudice, the way a person speaks in public offers insight into his or her value as a person. Therefore, the reader must learn to recognize personality flaws through bad speaking. Because a character’s form of speaking is so intertwined with his or her personality, the problems of the major characters have already been mentioned above. Some more examples of poor speaking found in the minor characters are:
Lady Catherine—rude, too controlling, overpowering, condescending
Miss Bingley—too prying, selfish, irritating, insincere
Wickham—too willing to share his private history with people who are practically strangers; dishonest
Miss Darcy—too timid to cultivate social interactions, but isn’t cold and unfriendly, simply shy
Lady Catherine’s daughter—refuses to interact with people she views as below her. She is shy like Miss Darcy, but in a cold, haughty, affected manner. Sir Lucas—believes he is of a higher status than everyone else and constantly talks about his knighthood
Mrs. Phillips—too gossipy; immature in the way she encourages Lydia and Kitty to chase military men
Who represents proper speech?
Austen represents proper speech as a product of healthy marriages. The Gardiners interact in a dignified manner with Darcy when they visit Pemberley.
They are able to have friendly, polite conversations with Darcy. Elizabeth is relieved that Darcy sees that she has relatives who act properly. The Gardiners show that a union of two compatible people leads to proper and dignified speaking and interaction.
One of the text’s driving forces is the process through which Darcy and Elizabeth realize they are right for one another. This is represented in the way their individual speaking styles complement one another to create a good match. Elizabeth’s initial flaw is prejudice while Darcy’s is pride. After the marriage proposal and letter, Elizabeth’s prejudice humbles Darcy and eradicates his pride. However, Elizabeth, recognizing the change in his speech when she visits Pemberley, loses her prejudice. Through letters, speech, and hearsay, Elizabeth and Darcy gradually reassess one another and change their own personalities and speaking styles.
Pride and Prejudice is a seemingly happy story about a miserable economic situation in which all of the characters can only wait for others to bring change.
Bingley and Jane’s relationship sets an example for Elizabeth of what is necessary for a good marriage. Bingley is economically stable but also offers a personality that matches with Jane. While Collins would solve the economic uncertainty of the family, he is simply not a good match for Elizabeth in terms personality and intellect. Wickham’s personality, on the other hand, seems to match with Elizabeth’s. However, Elizabeth and Wickham are financially of no use to one another. Each must find a spouse who is financially secure. By the text’s end, Elizabeth and Darcy have worked on their personalities and they have become a compatible match. Their emotional attachment is feasible because of Darcy’s large fortune.
“It was a large, handsome, stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills; –and in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal, nor falsely adorned. Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place for which nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by awkward taste…and at that moment she felt, that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!” (185)
Austen reflects Darcy’s interior qualities in the landscape of his estate. Concrete objects illustrate a person’s character; in the same way Bingley’s handwriting reveals his character, Darcy’s landscape reveals his personality. Darcy’s estate represents a perfect balance between stiff formalism and unaltered nature. Likewise, Darcy’s personality is the perfect balance between pride and humbleness and formality and friendliness. Austen asserts that, like a landscape, a person’s natural tendencies can be altered and new qualities can be cultivated. In the same way he widens natural breadth of the river, Darcy augments the charming aspects of his personality when Elizabeth and the Gardiners visit.
This passage also comments on Austen’s ideal conception of gardens. Unlike the gardens at Rosings, where Elizabeth complained that she was always on display, Pemberley offers gardens that are less formal and more private. The trails in the natural woods offer a location for more candid and intimate conversation. Austen also comments on the proper relation between the home and the garden. While the gardens at Rosings are crafted to highlight the grandeur of the home, the gardens at Pemberley are organized around the house in a much more subtle way. The gardens make the house seem simply like another natural feature in the landscape.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighborhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the
surrounding families, that he is considered as rightful property of some one or other of their daughters” (1)
Here, Austen uses free indirect discourse to express the opinions of society. Though Austen begins her novel by expressing supposedly “universal” sentiments,
she ends the novel with the sentiments of individuals—Darcy, Elizabeth, and the Gardiners. Austen is sure to point out that Darcy and Elizabeth’s marriage is not the product of society’s wishes, but rather individual circumstances. The novel ends by accrediting the marriage to the Gardiners, who provided the “means of uniting” Elizabeth and Darcy. The wishes of society do not infiltrate this small, intimate familiar circle.
Connections to Other Texts
The Decameron: In this text, open conversations occur in gardens. While they may be inappropriate in other locations, outrageous stories can be told in the garden setting. Likewise, many private conversations in Pride and Prejudice take place in gardens, such as when Elizabeth receives Darcy’s letter in the woods at Rosings.
The Odyssey: Odysseus’s home in Ithaca is firmly established. In the Odyssey, one’s homeland never changes. In Pride and Prejudice there is the same need to have an established homestead. Bingley’s sisters put pressure on their brother to buy an immovable estate, like Pemberley.
The Oresteia, King Lear: Pride and Prejudice shows an important development in the role of letter writing in literature. In the Oresteia, people use fires to send word of the Trojans’ defeat. This type of message is purely informational. In King Lear, however, messages are not only informative, but also reveal something about the writer. Shakespeare suggests that every letter writer is unique. In the fake death threat to his father, Edmund imitates Edgar’s handwriting (and presumably his writing style) in order to be believable. In Pride and Prejudice, an individual’s writing style is explicitly scrutinized,suchaswhentheBennetsexamineMr.Collins’sletterandcriticizehisbombasticlanguage. Often,thestyleofthewriterismore illuminating than the actual information contained in the letter.
Don Quixote: In Don Quixote, Cervantes suggests that there is not always an objective reality against which the characters’ behavior can be judged. In the second part of Don Quixote, Cervantes blurs the line between reality and the imaginary. On the other hand, Austen suggests that there is an unwaveringly ideal of marriage against which all relationships can be judged. Through ironic comments, Austen often points out when people deviate from the ideal.
Unique things about Pride and Prejudice
Free indirect discourse—the ability of the narrator to adopt the speech and thoughts of a character.
Direct: She thought, “I am sleepy.”
Indirect: She thought that she was sleepy. Free Indirect: She thought she was sleepy. (No markers)
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT by DOSTOYEVSKY
Raskolnikov considers committing a terrible crime. To finance this venture, he goes to the apartment of an old pawnbroker, Alyona Ivanovna. Afterward, he
meets Marmeladov, an extremely drunk man who has shirked on his familial obligations. Marmeladov tells Raskolnikov about his family and about his daughter, Sonya, who has been forced into prostitution. The next day, Raskolnikov learns that his sister, Dunya, plans to marry a government official named Luzhin. After visiting another tavern, Raskolnikov decides to kill the pawnbroker the next evening in her apartment. But while he is carrying out his plans, her sister Lizaveta walks in, and he is forced to kill them both. The police begin to suspect him when he faints at the mention of the murders.
Raskolnikov continues with his daily routines. Everyone notices how uneasy Raskolnikov becomes when the murders are mentioned. In fact, one time after having an argument with Luzhin, Raskolnikov almost confesses to the murder to Zamyotov. Raskolnikov wants Dunya to break her engagement with Luzhin. Dunya tells Raskolnikov that she and Luzhin will be meeting for dinner and asks him to accompany her, even though Luzhin does not want Raskolnikov to be present.
Raskolnikov visits the officer who is heading the murder investigation, Porfiry. They talk about the murders, and Raskolnikov tries to gauge Porfiry’s suspicion of him. The next morning, Raskolnikov awakes and sees a man in his room. His name is Svidrigailov and he is in love with Dunya. He offers Raskolnikov a tremendous amount of money if Dunya to have Dunya break her engagement; Raskolnikov refuses. At dinner, Luzhin argues with Raskolnikov and insults him. It is at this point that Dunya breaks off her engagement with him.
Raskolnikov asks Sonya to read the story of Lazarus for him when he visits her. Raskolnikov returns to the police station the next day under the guise of formally requesting the return of his pawned watch. He converses with Porfiry, who Raskolnikov believes is trying to trap him. During their conversation, however, a worker, Nikolai, enters the room and confesses to the murders.
Luzhin, who has grown to hate Raskolnikov, tries to frame Sonya for stealing but is disproved by Lebezyatnikov. After the dinner, during a long conversation, Raskolnikov confesses the murders to Sonya, who tries to get him to report himself to the authorities. After Raskolnikov and Razumikhin’s conversation, in which Razumikhin confronts Raskolnikov for his un-gentlemanly behavior, Porfiry appears. He admits that although he does not have enough evidence to prove it, he believes firmly that Raskolnikov is the murderer. Porfiry urges him to confess.
Later, at a café, Raskolnikov encounters Svidrigailov, who has already told Raskolnikov that he knows that he is the murderer, says that he is still in love with Dunya. Svidrigailov later finds Dunya and threatens to rape her if she will not marry him. Dunya, however, manages to shoot at Svidrigailov; she misses, and he allows her to leave. Svidrigailov kills himself the next morning. Raskolnikov visits his mother and sister, and Sonya as well, telling them all that he plans to confess. As he reaches the police station, though, Raskolnikov has second thoughts. In the end, the thought of Sonya compels him to confess.
In the epilogue, we find Raskolnkov a prisoner in Siberia and Sonya a resident in the nearby town. Raskolnikov has to serve out eight years of prison time. His mother has died and Dunya has married Razumikin. In the meantime, however, Raskolnikov realizes his true love for Sonya. It is only here that he begins to show remorse.
Raskolnikov: He is a former student living in St. Petersburg and the protagonist of the novel. He murders the pawnbroker and her sister, all the time thinking that his actions were justified. He has constant feelings of self-loathing and alienation. It is the ultimate realization for his love for Sonya that causes him to confess and express some remorse.
Svidrigailov: A “mysterious” character in the novel who is in love with Dunya. His character is quite complex in that he is kind enough to help Sonya and offer to pay for the funeral of Katerina Ivanova, but he still tries to rape Dunya.
Sonya: Marmeladov’s daughter who is forced into prostitution in order to help support her family. She is a religious person and has much faith, both in God and in Raskolnikov, who chooses to confide in her. They later fall in love.
Dunya: Raskolnikov’s sister. She is at first engaged to Luzhin, but eventually marries Razumikhin. She is in many ways Raskolnikov’s foil.
Razumikin: He differs in many ways from Raskolnikov, who is his friend. Razumikhin appears to be a wise, kind, and open person. He confronts Raskolnikov about his un-gentlemanly conduct.
Porfiry: He is the police officer in charge of the pawnbroker’s murder investigation. He clearly knows that Raskolnikov is the culprit, but is unable to prove it because of lack of evidence.
Alyona Ivanova: She is the pawnbroker who Raskolnikov kills.
Lizavetta: is the pawnbroker’s sister. Raskolnikov kills her as well.
Luzhin: He is Dunya’s first fiancée. He is clearly very petty and not a gentleman, as he attempts to frame Sonya for theft in order to get back at Raskolnikov. Marmeladov: Raskolnikov meets this interesting character at a tavern. He is very drunk and has not fulfilled any of his family obligations, thereby forcing his daughter Sonya into prostitution. He dies in a “hit and run” carriage accident.
Luzhin: Pages 148-149 – “It follows that by acquiring exclusively for myself…”
Luzhin explains his personal philosophy: 19th century liberalism. This is removed from the modern view of liberal, and is instead more closely related to what would now be called compassionate-conservatism or Republicanism. Luzhin is a capitalist who believes in individual rights and the free market.
Razumikhin: Page 256 – “I’ll show you their books: with them one is always a ‘victim of the environment’ –and nothing else…”
Razumikhin critiques socialism by attacking their theory of man as one in which natural desire is not taken into account, or even supposed to exist. Raskolnikov: Pages 260-262 – “In short, I deduce that all… great men… cannot fail to be criminals…”
This is THE passage in which Raskolnikov outlines the general philosophy that led him to commit murder. Raskolnikov believes that “great men” are by nature outside of traditional moral authority, and that, in order to become great, it is in fact necessary that they transgress traditional boundaries. This is a radical philosophy, which is evidenced by Raskolnikov’s biblically-borrowed trope of introducing a “new word.” As we have seen in the bible, the power of God is the synthesis of speech and action; the literal speech act. Here, Raskolnikov borrows that language to express this new, unrestrained and unrepentant being.
Also important is Raskolnikov’s response to Porfiry; first, to the questions about his faith, and second, on the question of normal men confusing themselves for great ones. In the first instance, Porfiry asks Raskolnikov if he believes in Lazarus, rather than Jesus, which is an important distinction because Christ comes to Lazarus too late, and it seems all hope is lost, though when he does come, his tardiness does not matter and Lazarus is redeemed. Raskolnikov stutters in response to this question, perhaps because he, like Lazarus, has waited for Christ too long.
Second, Raskolnikov’s explanation to Porfiry’s question about common men is important because he answers that if they get out of place “they’ll whip themselves.” This, of course, both foreshadows Raskolnikov’s eventual confession and explains his constant state of sickness and self-loathing. Raskolnikov is mistaken in thinking he is extraordinary; that he suffers, or “whips himself,” is the concrete evidence of his mistake.
Themes and Motifs:
Suffering – This is a highly Christian novel, but strangely, there is no clear distinction between “good” and “bad” characters. Instead, characters are best differentiated by the markedly Christian concept of suffering. This is text that necessarily conceives of man as a sinner, in Raskolnikov’s words, a “scoundrel;” man is guilty. It is this internalized anguish which is converted into physical suffering through punishment and thus dispelled. Whether guilty in any specific capacity or not, though, characters are expected to suffer and understand the need for suffering in order to function successfully in society.
Ubermensch (Superman) – Crime and Punishment predates the rather Nietzchiean idea of the Superman; in other words, a man beyond morality, a man who can act as if he were a God. Raskolnikov believes himself to be one of these men, and hence, puts this hypothesis into action when he kills. His failure is seen a direct indictment of this philosophy.
Nihilism – A philosophy popular in Russia during Dostoevsky’s time, nihilism rejects any conception of a mind or soul outside of the physical body, in addition to emotional attachments, in favor of a strictly materialistic existence. When Raskolnikov justifies the murder of Alyona as ridding society of a useless, and, in fact, detrimental element, he is merely acting on nihilistic principle which justifies the sacrifice of a few for the greater happiness of many .
The City – The city (St. Petersberg) is remarkable in Crime and Punishment in the context of the Lit. Hum. Cannon. This is the first realist version of the city; not only is the city squalid and decaying, but the novel is focused on the lower classes. The characters are mired in poverty, famine, and filth; the city, no longer a beacon of culture or a haven from nature, is a festering dump.
Confession/The Epilogue – Suffering, confession, and punishment are all inextricably twined in this novel. When Raskolnikov commits the murder, he ceases to be part of society in a very real way; the vague alienation that he had felt previously is suddenly absolute. Like Marmeladov, Raskolnikov eventually recognizes the need to confess as an act of reintegration on the one hand, and as a way to discharge his personal guilt through the resultant physical punishment on the other. Ultimately, Raskolnikov’s confession is the first step towards reintegration, and fittingly, that is where the novel about Raskolnikov, the murder, must end. Raskolnikov’s reconstruction as a human being is a separate story, which must take place elsewhere, in an epilogue. In the text itself, it begins in the courtroom where Raskolnikov’s character is rebuilt through testimony to his good deeds as well as his bad. Finally, Raskolnikov regains his humanity on page 549, when, breaking down in front of Sonya, she realizes he loves her, which is significant in that love is the antithesis of the emotional detachment that Raskolnikov experienced as a Nihilist.
TO THE LIGHTHOUSE by WOOLFE
Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, in its simplest narrative form, follows the story of one family (the Ramsays) and their guests over a period of ten years. The Ramsays own a house on a coastline and reside there during the summer months, along with several guests to whom they rent rooms. Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay have eight children spanning several years, although most were born right after the previous. The following paragraphs provide brief plot summaries for each section of To the Lighthouse:
“The Window:” The novel begins with Mrs. Ramsay reassuring her son, James, that they will visit the lighthouse the next day. Mr. Ramsay, however, disagrees with his wife, which makes James quite angry with his father, to the point where he would kill the man. He resents his father for always taking his mother away from him and believes that his father hates him and his siblings.
At this point, the various guests of the Ramsays come into play: Charles Tansley is a scholar who greatly admires the philosophical work of Mr. Ramsay. Lily Briscoe is a young painter who visits the Ramsays and is in the process of painting a portrait of Mrs. Ramsay. William Bankes is a family friend whom Mrs. Ramsay encourages to marry Lily. Other guests include: Paul Rayley and Minta Doyle (a marriage Mrs. Ramsay successfully arranges), and Augustus Carmichael, a poet.
The afternoon is spent in various scenes, none of which are terribly memorable: Paul proposes to Minta, and Lily continues to paint the portrait, always thinking that something is wrong or missing in the layout. Mr. Ramsay contemplates his philosophical theory (as his son Andrew describes, Ramsay is a specialist in “subject and object and the nature of reality” . As an example, he tells Lily to “Think of a kitchen table…when you’re not there” which causes her to see a beautifully detailed upside-down kitchen table in a detailed tree .). Ramsay characterizes all of human thought and philosophy into the alphabet and claims he has already reached Q, however, R is elusive and Z he can only hope to grasp.
The evening centers around Mrs. Ramsay’s amazing dinner party, which is the highlight of “The Window.” Mrs. Ramsay’s plans appear to fall apart: Minta and Paul are late, some of the children are not ready, Augustus Carmichael asks for more soup; eventually, things begin to settle down, and once the sun sets and the candles lit, a sense of peace and unity is achieved. At this precise moment, all the guests at the table feel connected to one another as they look at the plate of fruit in the center. Lily realizes that she must move the tree in her painting to make it perfect.
Yet this harmony does not last as the guests begin to leave, and Mrs. Ramsay feels proud that she was able to enjoy the moment before it slips into the past.
As the various couples leave and the children go to sleep, Mrs. Ramsay joins her husband in the parlor where she reads for a few moments. Mr. Ramsay interrupts her, however, and asks if she loves him. Not being accustomed to outward declarations of love, Mrs. Ramsay instead agrees with him that the seas will be too rough to visit the lighthouse the next day.
“Time Passes:” Night falls and all the characters melt into the darkness. Time begins to pass more quickly as the reader becomes unaware of the various actions. A series of actions occur, all of which are presented in brackets: Mr. Carmichael shuts off the light after reading Virgil; Mrs. Ramsay dies in the middle of the night; Prue (one of the daughters) is married; Prue then dies during childbirth; Andrew is killed by a shell in France; Mr. Carmichael publishes a collection of poetry “that spring” (134). Time no longer has any meaning in the world outside of the beach house; readers understand that World War I occurs somewhere distant, but the house itself is not touched by the war.
While the events described above are presented in two or three sentence pieces, much of “Time Passes” describes the deteriorating condition of the house. While Mrs. McNab attempts the upkeep of the house at first, after several seasons of missing the Ramsays, she chooses to let the house be. Eventually, she hears a rumor that the Ramsays are returning to the house (ten years later), so she assembles a group of women to clean and fix the entire house. They finish just as Lily arrives.
“The Lighthouse:” The description of time returns back to the pace of “The Window” as everything slows down. Lily finds herself eating breakfast in the morning and readers sense that this scene is meant to directly follow the dinner at the end of “The Window,” thereby ignoring the ten-year interval. Mr. Ramsay declares that he will be traveling to the lighthouse with James and Cam (one of his daughters) that day. After a series of setbacks, the three Ramsays eventually set off across the bay and Lily decides to return to the painting she had abandoned ten years prior. While reluctant and even scornful, James and Cam eventually feel some sympathy for their father. At one point, Mr. Ramsay even praises James on his sailing skills, and although James appreciates the comment, he becomes scornful yet again. Just as the Ramsays arrive at the lighthouse, Lily (across the bay) finishes her painting with a stroke and sets down her brush.
While the preceding paragraphs provide descriptions of the various actions of the novel, it is important to note that much of the novel follows the thoughts of the various characters, which often do not correlate with the specific actions. Woolf sought to create a new style for the novel, which she was able to achieve by using the stream of consciousness method: the viewpoints readily shift from one character to another and much of the novel follows the thoughts of the various characters.
Mrs. Ramsay: The beautiful Mrs. Ramsey pursues her domestic ideals by hosting her guests in the Ramsay house on the beach. She is proud of her hosting abilities as well as her ability to match people. She attempts, unsuccessfully, to convince Lily to marry, however succeeds in uniting Paul and Minta. Mrs. Ramsay is aware of her husband’s need for support and placates him when possible. Although she dies suddenly at the beginning of “Time Passes”, Mrs. Ramsay’s essence and spirit remain integral to the novel.
Mr. Ramsay: The distant—and occasionally cold—Mr. Ramsay is a famous philosopher. He spends much of his time reading and contemplating the issues that make up the world (as expressed by his alphabet). He loves Mrs. Ramsay dearly, however, is incapable of showing his love for his children, specifically James. His selfish nature removes him from much of the action, and few characters are able to actually connect to him.
Lily Briscoe: A painter who also spends her summers with the Ramsays, Lily is surprisingly as insecure about her work as is Mr. Ramsay about his. She begins a painting of Mrs. Ramsay, but has trouble finishing it until the very end of the novel. Lily refuses to marry, opposing Mrs. Ramsay’s wishes.
James Ramsay: The youngest son, James constantly seeks his mother’s attention and develops an Oedipus complex (as per Freud’s descriptions). He truly hates his father for always ignoring him and his siblings, and wishes to kill him. James repeatedly looks forward to visiting the lighthouse across the bay, however, is only able to achieve his goal ten years later with his father and sister Cam.
Cam Ramsay: Cam is one of the Ramsays’ daughters and accompanies her father and James to the lighthouse in the final section of the novel.
Andrew Ramsay: The oldest Ramsay son, Andrew is an intelligent young man (his mother wants him to become a mathematician), however, he is killed by a shell in France during World War I in “Time Passes.”
Prue Ramsay: The oldest Ramsay daughter, Prue is one of her mother’s joys. She marries once her mother dies and later she dies in childbirth.
Augustus Carmichael: One of the guests, Mr. Carmichael is a poet who is interested in reading poetry and spending time alone. He reads Virgil and publishes his own collection of poems after the war. He returns, along with Lily, to the beach house after the war. Paul Rayley: Another guests of the Ramsays, Paul listens to Mrs. Ramsays instructions in proposing to and marrying Minta Doyle.
Minta Doyle: Minta, another guest on the island, marries Paul.
Charles Tansley: A young pupil of Mr. Ramsay, Charels Tansley shares the same arrogant and uptight nature that Mr. Ramsay possesses. He insults others quite often, especially Lily and her artwork.
William Bankes: Mr. Bankes is a yet another guest on the island and is a good friend of Lily’s. Mrs. Ramsay hopes that he would marry the young lady, however, they never do.
Mrs. McNab: The elderly housekeeper for the Ramsays, Mrs. McNab cleans and repairs the house when the Ramsays return after a ten-year interval.
Nancy, Rose, Roger, Jasper Ramsay: The other children of the Ramsays; they do not play major roles in the novel.
Notes of comparison to other texts:
1. Representations of Consciousness
– There is no anchoring in Woolf that brings us back to a “secure reality”; there is no reality separate from how we see it. This is different than reality in Cervantes Don Quixote where what a character does and what they say can suddenly be at odds with one another.
– People doubt their consciousness in Lighthouse where they do not in Quixote
– In Woolf there is equal attention given to the consciousness of many…an aesthetic of patterning and form that simply has to do with consciousness. As opposed to Austen where consciousness is given a clear belonging i.e. social/individual/couple.
– In Woolf people are receptive of other people’s consciousness. This ties into repression. When characters are conscious of the minds of other characters they tend to repress thought. This kind of awareness has a connection to Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment where his main character’s mind can not even name what is really going on.
-In Virgil’s depiction of war throughout the Aeneid, their is a clear focus on the collective ability and strength of a people, the belief in a nation. In Woolf’s depiction of WWI, the focus is clearly on the experience of the Individual.
1. The connection between war and poetry-
War produces in us a need for poetry. (Helen is weaving.) Over time moving from concerns of the collective to the concerns of the individual. 2. The Idea of a Quest Novel-
This text is concerned with its characters experience of the world. This is why essentially all fail a successful Quest except for Lily. Lily is successful because she is an artist and art is not about making a finished project it is about experiencing something and framing it though your own experience and through your own expression. Perception of the world also plays a role in the quest novel. The window – is about perception and looking.
3. Perceptual projects and Preservation-
The philosophical, artistic and domestic perceptual spheres of Mr. Ramsey, Lily and Mrs. Ramsey respectively lend a certain theme to the story. Each of the three characters share a common connection having to do with the preservation of their life’s purpose and each share a brush with immortality. Although Mr. Ramsey and Lily aspire to achieve immortality through their work, Mrs. Ramsey’s life is stagnant and repetitive…this will ultimately doom her in the eyes of the novel.
Passage Analysis—perceptions of the world
“So now she always saw, when she thought of Mr. Ramsay’s work, a scrubbed kitchen table. It lodged now in the fork of a pear tree, for they had reached the
orchard. And with a painful effort of concentration, she focused her mind, upon the silver-bossed bark of the tree, or upon its fish-shaped leaves, but upon a phantom kitchen table, one of those scrubbed board tables, grained and knotted, whose virtue seems to have been there, its four legs in the air. Naturally, if one’s days were passed in seeing of angular essences, this reducing of lovely evenings, with all their flamingo clouds and blue and silver to a white deal four- legged table (and it was a mark of the finest minds so to do), naturally one could not be judged like an ordinary person.” (p. 23)
Mr. Ramsay is a philosopher, and this is the way he views the world. He is concerned about being an ordinary person, and desires immortality. He thinks abstractly .
“But the picture was not of them, she said… She could not show him what she wished to make of it, could not see it even herself, without a brush in her hand. She took up once more her old painting position with the dim eyes and the absent-minded manner, subduing all her impressions as a woman to something more general; becoming once more under the power of that vision which she had seen clearly once and must now grope for among hedges and houses and mothers and children—her picture. It was a question, she remembered, how to connect this mass on the right hand with that on the left…” (52-53)
Lily is a visual artist. She has an ambition towards immortality, but doesn’t want it. She is a concrete person in terms of her thinking and focus on details, but her artwork is abstract. She is interested in the formal unity of things.
“…what had she done with it, Mrs. Ramsay wondered, for Rose’s arrangement of the grapes and pears, of the horny pink-lined shell, of the bananas, made her think of a trophy fetched from the bottom for the sea, of Neptune’s banquet, of the bunch that hangs with vine leaves over the shoulder of Bacchus (in some picture), among the leopard skins and the torches lolloping red and gold…That was his way of looking, different from hers. But looking together united them.” (96-97)
Mrs. Ramsay’s perception of the world is rooted in the domestic sphere. She is focused on permanence. This is shown through her desire to keep her children young, and she does not want them to grow up. Her immortality is rooted through stasis, and the repetition of life through the generations.
Passage Analysis—bracketed sentences in Time Passes
[Here, Mr. Carmichael, who was reading Virgil, blew out his candle. It was midnight.] (127)
[Mr. Carmichael brought out a volume of poems that spring, which had an unexpected success. The war, people said, had revived their interest in poetry.] (134) These two sentences are the first and last bracketed sections. The inclusion of Virgil in the first bracketed sentence is reminiscent of war with a national sentiment, and the focus is away from the individual. This is much like countries before WWI. After WWI, the sentiment changes because war produces a need for poetry to console and unite people. The poems of WWI focus on individual suffering, and personal pain.
[Mr. Ramsay, stumbling along a passage one dark morning stretched his arms out, but Mrs. Ramsay having died rather suddenly the night before, his arms, though stretched out, remained empty.](128)
This sentence, which describes Mrs. Ramsay’s death, has Mr. Ramsay as the subject. One reason for this is because death is the experience of the living, and not the dead.
[Prue Ramsay, leaning on her father’s arm, was given in marriage. What, people said could have been more fitting? And, they added, how beautiful she looked!] (131)
[Prue Ramsay died that summer in some illness connected with childbirth, which was indeed a tragedy, people said, everything, they said had promised so well.](132)
This sentence conveys a sense of community judgment.
[A shell exploded. Twenty or thirty young men were blown up in France, among them Andrew Ramsay, whose death, mercifully, was instantaneous.](133)
Andrew Ramsay’s death is very anonymous. It is described as a group, and no one really knows who the group is. The “shell” is the grammatical agent, and Andrew Ramsay is the subject. The shell is a weapon without an agent. This indicates the purposelessness, and the anonymous quality of his death. It is very different from other cases in which death in battle is described, i.e. the Iliad. In the Iliad, most often the agent of death is very clear. The deaths of Prue and Andrew undo Mrs. Ramsay because they children are dying young, and without reason.
These bracketed sections are very important to the chapter Time Passes, and they contain the most important aspects of the story. They are bracketed because certain events are so traumatic that they cannot get incorporated in the narrative. In this section, the house is like the kitchen table when we are not there. The house is a symbol of the family because as the family breaks down, so does the house as it falls into disrepair
The Lion team would like to credit Ryan Mandelbaum, Michelle Vallejo, and Constance Boozer for putting together this comprehensive review guide.