Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dante vs. Milton

As we mentioned briefly in class today, I think it is interesting to note the discrepancies between Milton and Dante. In Paradise Lost, Milton wrote that since God was omnipotent, he knew that Lucifer would rebel against him so he already had hell created for them whereas in the Inferno, Dante said that Lucifer created hell through impact from his fall. Another difference is that in Paradise Lost, Satan was free to move around and converse with the other devils and they even built a palace, but for Dante, Satan was frozen still in the center of the Earth.
I used to think that part of why all these epics were such a strong literary tradition was because they built upon one another and thus created a strong set of beliefs to work with in the literary world. However, today I began to realize that this is not necessarily true. Although epics draw on the same conventions and mythological creatures, they most definitely hold differences as shown through comparison of Paradise Lost and the Inferno.

7 comments:

mere said...

I'm thinking it may have to do with one of them being a 14th century italian epic and the other one a 17th century english epic. The gap between these cultures and publication years can really leave a lot of room for the authors to have differing viewpoints. Their respective Satans and Hells serve their distinctive purposes within their poems.

ParkerC said...

They are two different book written by two different people so it makes sense that they each have their own personalization. Dante is punishing political rivals and Milton is just trying to explain bible stories

alyb said...

As Meredith said, I think the time period for these epics is what causes then to be so different. The 17th century was vastly different than the 14th, so I wouldnt expect the epics to be the same. I think both writers gave themselves the power of god in a way. Milton explained hell to man and Dante decided who went into hell.

Ravin S said...

As Parker and Aly said, the era makes a huge difference in the style of writing and even the context. Authors do like borrowing some things from others, but they also want to express their own opinions. Dante places Dido/Cleopatra in the circle of lust, because during their time suicide was an acceptable and honorable way to die. In Dante's time, suicide would land you in the circle of violence. The beliefs in the two times were vastly different and therefore we can never expect Milton's work to be the same as Dante's.

sara pendleton said...

I agree with yall but it's kind also of interesting that in both works Satan doesn't really seem as bad as the pretty horrendous idea someone might have of the devil; in Milton, he's kind of a protagonist, in Dante, he's been frozen by God like just another sinner.

christine said...

Yeah I definitely agree that in PAradise Lost, Satan was more of a protagonist than in Dante's Inferno. However, it is evident that in Milton's work, Satan had a good amount of power (which is what people usually think of Satan). On the other hand, Dante makes his Satan powerless.

Mallory said...

I agree with Shaina, I always thought it was cool that each of these epics built off of one another but as we see in Dante's Inferno and Paradise Lost that is not always the case. I agree that there are significant time gaps in between the two works but it still interesting to see all the differences in the two stories which are essentially about the same subject.