|Due By (Pacific Time)||11/23/2016 06:00 pm|
Assignment: Write an essay response to one of the following topics. Off-topic essays will receive a grade of zero. Your response should include an argumentative thesis and claims about the text. Do not merely summarize the "plot" of the poem or story. Instead, meticulously analyze the text and present a viable interpretation supported by evidence (quotations) from the literary work.
1. The Divine Comedy, particularly the Inferno, is an act of memory: it is recalled and written during the act of reading. The poet is not only ever-present, he frequently tells readers what he feels as he writes, as well as what he felt during his journey through Hell. In a formal essay, analyze key passages in which the damned recollect their past lives. What does the poem ultimately say about the importance of memory?
2. The Inferno is often read as an allegorical tale intended to warn readers of the perils
of straying from "the path of truth" (1.12) offered by Christian doctrine; however, the inclusion of arguably sympathetic characters in the poem complicates such straight- forward interpretations. How does the inclusion of "noble sinners" affect one’s understanding of the poem?
3. In the Thousand and One Nights, Sharahzad’s storytelling strategy relies on epic tropes, such as invocation and repetition, while making connections between and within embedded tales. In a formal essay, discuss what this frame structure suggests about the transformative power of storytelling.
4. The prologue of the Thousand and One Nights—"The Story of King Sharahyar and Sharahzad, His Vizier’s Daughter"—establishes a central theme of the Nights. What is this theme and how does it relate to the embedded narratives of the Nights?
5. Although the storytellers of the Decameron are privileged members of Florentine society, their tales disregard medieval notions of propriety, especially regarding matters of love and desire. Read what Boccaccio says about love in his preface to the Decameron; then examine one or two of the stories in his work. What does the Decameron ultimately say about love and desire?*
*Note: For the fifth option, you must use Boccaccio’s preface as part
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