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Development of Western Europe Literature from Medieval Age to the Renaissance - Essay Example

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Civilization in Western Europe dates way back in the Dark Age. Literary work is among the earliest element of art in this civilization. There have been profound developments in literature through time that have made it what it is today…
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Development of Western Europe Literature from Medieval Age to the Renaissance
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"Development of Western Europe Literature from Medieval Age to the Renaissance"

Download file to see previous pages These developments accompanied changes in the structures of society. This paper traces the development of Western Europe literature between the medieval period and the renaissance. It will use a number of literary works of different literary personalities of time to depict the situations and changes in the two periods. The paper will put forward justifications for these changes. Dante Alighieri is among the prominent literary voices of the medieval literature. His book the Inferno was published in 1308. Dante visits hell and gets a chance to witness the punishments of different sinners. Sinners are divided into nine different circles. Dante points out names of different popes and prominent personalities in Greek mythology that he saw in hell. He also plops a number of other names of persons in the Italian religious and political spheres that he notes in hell. This brings out the medieval perception of the punishment that befalls evil people (Lawall and Maynard 35). There is an underlying belief that evil will be punished with respect to the magnitude of the evil done. Dante explains that pagans will be in limbo where they will be far from God but will not be punished. The lustful will be punished by being exposed to great storms. Gluttonous people will be thrown in to garbage while the avaricious people will be forced to push big rocks in hell, and the wrathful will be put under water. Dante indicates that hell is divided into upper hell and lower hell. Passive evils doers will be punished from upper hell while the active will be in the lower hell. The sinners who receive the severest punishment include the heretics, violent, fraudulent and the traitors. Those who betray trust will be put in ice, and this is where Satan will be (Dante and Steven 41). The book ends with Virgil and Dante leaving hell to go to purgatory. Dante’s inferno is a good example of the way medieval writings depicted the society’s perceptions and belief system. They were directed to the people either propagating the beliefs, or cautioning them against doing evil to one another. Sappho is suspected to have been born around 620BC. She was born in an aristocratic family in Lesbos. Ovid relates Phaon’s story, and it is believed that Sappho committed suicide after Phaon declined her love. Interestingly, her writing breaks away from the classical perception of poets as craftspeople speaking to groups to poets as creatures with feelings and whose voices are overheard. Love pervades both her songs and poems. This is seen in her religious poems, ritual poems and those that are directed to certain persons like the epistolary number 2. Poem 1 in her Hymn to Aphrodite is clearly an individual outcry and self-centered in the form than religious. The way she emphasizes the erotic in her works breaks away from the traditional regulations of the time and comes out naturally as an individual’s complex conflicts and experiences (Johnson 33). Hymn to Aphrodite is a depiction love as being too strained by the social constraints such that it is hard to bloom. Poem 130 describes love as bittersweet and fragment number 38 reckons that love burns. Medieval writings were informed largely by religious beliefs placing the supernatural at the very central. Beowulf is an epic poem that was written in the medieval. Beowulf addresses issues of reputation and familial heritage. One cannot help noticing the tribal voice right in the beginning of the poem; male characters in the introductory passages are referred as their father’s sons. There is such profound centrality that the characters place on their families that they are not able to identify themselves exclusively by their names. Kinship ties are strongly portrayed ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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