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Guinizzelli, Cavalcanti, and Alighieri

Guido Guinizzelli greatly influenced the development of medieval and Renaissance lyric and inspired writers such as Guido Cavalcanti and Dante Alighiere. These three poets used philosophical logic in order to convey complex realizations through the use of metaphors, juxtapositions, and allusions. Guinizzelli, in the poem Love Always Repairs the Noble Heart, uses this method, when he writes “until the Sun has blenched the stone all pure.” (355 volume B), in order to convey the power of love. Cavalcanti, also uses specific comparisons, such as “the beautiful forms- not the lesser ones- are like arrows, for the desire is lessened by the fear; but the soul who is pierced gets just what he longs for.” (358 volume B), in order to convey the power of love. This direct comparison between something physical and definable, like the Sun or an arrow, and something emotional and undefinable, like love, helps readers better understand love through something they already know. Alighiere, takes a slightly different approach when making his comparisons by using analogies. An analogy used by Alighiere, conveys his understanding of love, “love and the gentle heart are one thing… and so one can be without the other as much as rational soul without reason.” (359 volume B). All three of these poets used this comparative writing style in order to better convey their complex thoughts and help the reader better understand something as difficult as love.

The Qur’an and The Story of Joseph

What purpose does the retelling of the Joseph story serve in the sections of the Qur’an you’ve read?

The retelling of the story of Joseph in the Qur’an seems to be analogous to what Muhamad and other devote Muslims would face while practicing their beliefs. Joseph received a prophecy from god that he would be supreme over everyone else, even though at the time he was one of the youngest in his family, making it sound very unlikely. Joseph’s belief that god will fulfill this prophesy kept his faith strong, even though it caused his siblings to hate him and get rid of him. Joseph’s unfaltering belief caused him to go through many troubles and perils, however by the end of it, it is obvious that his belief paid off. This is just like when Muhamad received the Qur’an, he was told that he and his nation would rise above all others, which would seem unlikely for a new religion. The Qur’an is trying to forewarn the people who will follow the religion that, no matter how unlikely the promises in the Qur’an seem and how much opposition they will face, if they maintain their faith they will receive all that was promised and end up on top. The story also shows that, no matter what people do to put you down because of your beliefs, you should never hold a grudge; even when you’re on top you should forgive and forget the bad things people did to you.

The Ramayan and The Odyssey

Compare the Ramayana with The Odyssey in terms of the portrayal of evildoers and their treatment at the story’s conclusion.

When comparing how the evildoers in The Odyssey and the Ramayana are depicted and treated, differences start to become apparent. In The Odyssey, the suitors, who are trying to take everything that Odysseus has, including his wife and country, are considered evildoers. In this case the evildoers are not necessarily “evil” because they aren’t trying to cause harm to others, they are only trying to fulfill their own greedy agendas of becoming kings. They are portrayed more as leechers and moochers, than evil minded individuals. When Odysseus finally has the opportunity to purge his house of these evildoers he does so in a merciless fashion where no one is spared, including anyone who corroborated with the suitors. There is no pity shown and everyone dies a dishonorable death and no honor was given to their dead bodies. It was as though Odysseus came home to clean out the garbage. When comparing this treatment of the evildoers to the Ramayana, we see how Rama shows compassion and honor to his enemy, Ravana. Ravana is actually considered “evil” and does cause harm to others, unlike the suitors from The Odyssey. Also unlike the suitors, Ravana, had a fair one on one battle with Rama, showing honor and courtesy. After Rama’s victory over Ravana, we can see just how much respect he gives to his fallen enemy when he says, “It is not right that you should grieve, for a mighty warrior fallen on the battlefield. Victory is a monopoly for none: a hero is either slain in battle or he kills his opponent…. the warrior who is killed in combat should not be mourned.” (Valmiki Yuddha 112, 113). Rama then goes on to grant a proper burial for Ravana, stating that “Hostility ends at death…. He is your brother as he is mine, too.” (Valmiki Yuddha 112, 113). Just like Rama, Sita also shows mercy and forgiveness when she spares the lives of the demonesses that tormented her.

Sappho’s Poem 31 vs Catullus’s Poem 51

Describe how Plato, Sappho, and/or Catullus conceive of love (and/or friendship). You can choose to only discuss one of the three works or compare two or three of them. You can also choose to compare their views on love with The Odyssey, Oedipus Rex, or Lysistrata. You can also choose to focus more specifically on either the lover or the beloved if you like.

When comparing the way Sappho and Catullus think of love I feel it is best to compare two very similar works of their’s, Sappho’s Poem 31 and Catullus’s Poem 51. In Catullus’ adaptation of Sappho’s Poem 31, there are difference that show how the two poets view love. The first observation which can be made is that Catullus’s description of emotions and feelings is a level more intense than Sappho’s; for example Sappho writes, “lovely laughing – oh it puts the heart in my chest on wings” (5-6), while Catullus writes, “sweetly laughing-that sunders unhappy me from all my senses” (5-6). However perhaps the biggest difference between the two poets can be seen when comparing the endings, lines 13-16 of both poems. While Sappho, writes about how the pain of unobtainable love causes her to feel paralyzed and helpless when it comes to getting the person she loves, Catullus, writes about how he needs to stop sitting by and doing nothing and actually fight for the love that he wants.