1. Is Tartuffe in fact anti-religious or does it only attack corruptions of religion?
I really think Moliere was bringing the corruption in religion to the forefront with “Tartuffe”. Tartuffe is the complete opposite of what formalized religion says you should be – and yet he had the respect of two of the biggest (and richest) names in town. He hoodwinked them but good. Of course, at the end, both Orgon and Madame Parnelle end up realizing what Tartuffe is (with a little bit of help from those around them), and Tartuffe is carted off to prison – an example of Moliere pointing out that people can see the corruption among the religious leaders of the time and are watching.
2. In what respects is Hugo’s Satan a heroic figure? How does Hugo’s account differ from Dante’s?
Hugo’s Satan is more like the heroes we’ve read about previously – most of “The Hero’s Journey” stages are fairly recognizable here. That being said, I really don’t like calling Satan a hero, even in the literary sense! Dante’s Satan was a really miserable, almost unrecognizable figure, made up of three horrible people suffering for their sins, while Hugo’s Satan is more along the conventional religious version. Satan is one person (a fallen angel) and is ruler of an abyss from which he’ll never escape.
3. Discuss and compare the images in any of the two poems assigned for this week.
I chose Heine’s “A Pine is Standing Lonely” and Leopardi’s “The Infinite”. Both of these poems invoke nature at it’s finest. Trees (or lack of them), deserts, horizons, and hedgerows are all present in these two poems. But while Heine describes nature as a somewhat lonely place (“A pine is standing lonely In the North on a bare plateau”), Leopardi describes it more as a place to find peace (“Always to me beloved was this linely hillside”).