The Dynamic Muse [A Final Thesis]

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The Dynamic Muse The Literary and Spiritual Personification of Creativity There have always been unseen forces that influence and inspire the lives of Men, forces that are as mysterious as they are powerful. The Ancient Greeks explained and personified these creative forces in a variety of contexts, and while these explanations have distinct manifestations in literature and religion across time, the explanations found in each sphere are surprisingly similar, and it is possible to catch a glimpse of the underlying power common to each interpretation. This study traces the origins of Muse figures from their beginnings in Ancient Greece and more »

Women in the Middle Ages

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The medieval woman is caught between two conflicting ideals. On the one hand, she is Eve, the temptress and corrupter of men; a position that sometimes disempowers her and places her as the victim of men’s power struggles, and other times gives her a dark power over her male counterparts. On the other side, she is Mary, the pure redeemer of womankind, embodying virtue, but this position is also an avenue for female disempowerment, objectifying her and making her little more than a prize to be won. The changing role of women during the Middle Ages was largely brought about more »

The Medieval Hero

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The medieval notion of the hero changes drastically from that of the classical period. Up until this time, the hero had been a hard, nigh unstoppable force, out for personal gain and glory. Achilles springs to mind, the fearless Greek hero who fought for the Achaeans at the siege of Troy, whose greatest motivation was the gain of geras, that is, material prizes and enduring glory (The Iliad, 1. 342-355). The medieval hero, on the other hand, was faced with the task of finding balance between earthly fame and spiritual purity. With the rise of Christianity, medieval knights became bound more »

A Close Reading from Cosmographia

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“A long chain of fate and history stemmed from the first man, who was shown as distinguished by the elevation of his head. Now were shown the ways of fortune, the downtrodden simplicity of the masses, the venerable exaltation of kings. Now poverty begot misery, or overabundance led to dissipation. Most people preserved a median existence between the two extremes. Now a human life was ordained to the toils of war, the pursuit of wisdom, or some other kind of endeavor. The sequence of the ages, introduced by the pure primal state of the Golden Age, could be seen degenerating more »