Saturday, October 10, 2015

invocation of the muse

During class we pointed out Dante's use of epic conventions- one being the invocation of the muses. When thinking about it afterwards, I thought it was interesting that Dante would choose to call on the muses when he is very Christian and his epic is all about Christianity and how it is the only true religion, when the muses are a pagan ideal. Pagan beliefs are frowned upon and even sinful, yet he still calls upon them for help as if he believed in them himself. I understand that he is more referencing what the muses stand for, but I still find it at least slightly hypocritical that he considers himself a somewhat perfect and virtuous Christian but calls upon false gods.

5 comments:

Ashley Bossier said...

You raise a very good point. It is very strange that Dante is calling on the muses even though he is a Christian and it is against Christian belief to think anyone except God is divine. But maybe he is calling on them not because they are divine but because they are inspiration. What I'm saying is that Dante maybe wasn't calling on them as divine beings but just for their inspiration because he knew that's what they were known for. But then again, maybe Dante wasn't as perfect as he thought he was. Maybe Dante belongs in one of his many circles of hell.

Antonio Imbornone said...

I think that Dante's use of the muses, which go against the Christian beliefs used to form his work to reveal the reoccurring sin that all humans possess. Humans fall to sin everyday, and Dante's sin through his use of the muses shows just how common sin is and how easy it is to commit.

master123 said...

That's is very interesting, the thought that he muses was a pagan belife did not even cross my mind. Like Ashley suggested maybe Dante was not calling upon the muses to debute his religious belife for the muses but instead use them as a source of inspiration. Another point could be that the invocation of the muse is an epic convention of epic poetry, which Dante is writing and epic poem. Really what Dante could be doing is just following he criteria needed to write an epic peom. Also when he does invoc the muse he does not specify which muse or really go into much detail when he does call upon them. I would say Dante is in the clear for following a pagan belief.

Madison Cummings said...

While traditionally mythology and pagan beliefs are considered wrong and sinful in christianity, I think that, like we mentioned in class, Dante intentionally combines mythology with this christian idea of hell. I think in a way it makes it a little more interesting and entertaining, especially for those reading it during his time period as they would have been more familiar with greek mythology. I also think that we should keep in mind that Dante the author could be considered separate from Dante the protagonist. Especially considering Dante wrote this as if he was his 35 year old self. Maybe that is something he would have said at the age of 35 but not later on.

Jack Zheng said...

This sure is interesting. Dante seems very arrogant in describing himself. When he visits the first circle of hell, he meets the greatest poets of the classical era and says: "Greater honor still they designed to grant me: they welcomed me as one of their own group, so that I numbered sixth among such minds." Is Dante self-proclaiming to be one of the greatest poets of all time? There is no denying that he was an extremely important poet, but saying this about himself just seems pretentious.