- Is Tartuffe in fact anti-religious, or does it only attack corruptions of religion?
Tartuffe is definitely not anti-religious, except for in the way that it’s making fun of religion and the hypocrisy that comes with ignorant people that disregard everything but religion. So in that way, it attacks the corruption. Simply by making Tartuffe the antagonist and making him despicable for taking advantage of Orgon’s hospitality, it is putting his hypocrisy and manipulative nature to light, and pretending he is into the spiritual nature to woo his host’s wife, this very satirical of all the negative aspects of religion. It is not exactly putting religion in a bad light or mocking all religious people, but rather, like many intelligent writers in the past, Moliere was writing about the political situation at the time, in particular the Catholic movement and appearance versus reality.
- In what respects is Hugo’s Satan a heroic figure? How does Hugo’s account differ from Dante’s?
Hugo’s Satan is not the fire and brimstone Satan like Dante’s, of consequence and fear and ultimate punishment, but rather it is like the precursor. Hugo made his poem in a futile yet hopeful tone, a situation everyone can relate to, the possibility of success and the attainment of good, but also the implicated idea of failure and temptation and evil. It is the age-old idea of the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other, and the conflicting flanks and arguments. Instead of Dante’s evil description of Satan, Hugo’s is more a character with free will who in a way chose his path, much like how we all choose our path and so he is relatable and is very nearly a hero, just a different kind of hero.
- Discuss and compare the images in any two poems assigned for this week.
I want to compare “A Pine is Standing Lonely,’ by Heine, because it strikes true with seasonal affective disorder in Fairbanks, and compare and contrast it with “Sylvia’ by Leopardi. To me, these two poems invoked the most amount of emotion, because it is such extreme loss. For example, during the winter, people want to be in other places, they dream of the sun and palm trees and a different life. It is an intense sadness, because our bodies are not supposed to go through that, uninhabitable temperatures and only an hour or two of weak rays, and the loss of a woman, or a friend, is another extreme emotion. Unlike the lonely pine, Sylvia starts out so lovely, with imagery such as “climbing towards the summit of our youth,’ “blue skies,’ “gardens gold in the sun,’ “brimming hearts,’ “how large a thing seems life.’ But it switches quickly, into the same emotion of the lonely pine, by mourning the lost soul, and suddenly it is hopeless, without her, he is not whole. Without the sun, the pine is lonely, and without Sylvia, Leopardi cannot enjoy his life.