1. Is Tartuffe in fact anti-religious, or does it only attack corruptions of religion?
I don’t think that Tartuffe is anti-religion in the sense that the play is putting down religion itself but it is a progressive work in terms of pointing out that there are aspects of organized religion that were then, and perhaps will always be corrupted. Any extremely wealthy entity is likely to be vulnerable to corruption because of the association with power. In Tartuffe, the commentary is absolutely focused on that corruption of power where the primary symptom is hypocrisy, and where that would be ineffective without the blindness or foolishness of those who blindly follow power.
2. In what respects is Hugo’s Satan a heroic figure? How does Hugo’s account differ from Dante’s?
I feel like if we look at Hugo’s Satan in terms of what we have studied about the Hero’s Journey, then yes we have to call him a heroic figure. This is especially true when you look at Hugo’s account of Satan’s transformation, or journey. His fall from heaven, and this is also exactly the way that it is distinguished from Dante’s account where the devil was sort of a stationary figure. For Dante, the character of himself was the journeying hero and Satan made an appearance.
3. Discuss and compare the images in any two poems assigned for this week.
I suppose one of the clearest images to pull out of these poems is the concept of death as discussed in poems by Heine and then Leopardi. There’s also a ton of references to the natural world in poems by these two. In Heine’s Ah, death is like the long cool night, he really speaks of the coming end as a break and relieving gift, as does Leopardi in To Himself, although Leopardi whines a little more about why it will be such a relief to kick the old bucket.
I could understand why Leopardi was more eager, as you say, to “kick the old bucket”, I feel some compassion for him, he was a hunchback and partly blind.
I also found Hugo’s Satan to be somewhat heroic based on what stories we have read through a Hero’s Journey.