The purpose of this essay is to tell the story of Minos and give a brief depiction of his duties from Dante’s Inferno. Being one of three main judges in Hades, Minos stood before the second circle blocking the way until he judged all that went through. “There Minos sits, grinning, grotesque, and hale. He examines each lost soul as it arrives and delivers his verdict with his coiling tail” (Ciardi 35). Upon entering the circle each sinner was to confess their sin to Minos and he would then give their assignment. Minos’s tail being wrapped around the sinners was equal to the number of the circle that they were assigned to.
Literature of the Western World. Hurt, James and Wilkie, Brian. Prentice Hall, New Jersey. 2001.
When we consider the questions of how we ought to live our lives, we often seek for some schematic that we can employ to help us categorize actions or qualities as good, bad, or indifferent. Such a means of organization would indeed make it easier to determine what the right thing to do is. Aristotle once attempted to formulate a similar plan. His ethics used a scheme by which characteristics could be measured and the right amount attained. Such an account is known as the doctrine of the mean. Aristotle’s doctrine is meant to illuminate the nature of eudaimonia, which can be briefly defined as succeeding or flourishing, the key to which is arête.
A large number of the works of ancient poetry and literature have been said to carry a moral undertone. Homer's 'Odyssey' is no exception. This essay explores the moral positions that the poem seems to adopt. Subsequently, it will show that while the 'Odyssey' is indeed a moral epic, the moral position of the main characters themselves, namely Odysseus and the Gods, can, at times, be questionable.
Hutchins, Robert Maynard, ed. Great Books of the Western World. 54 vols. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1952. Vol. 1.
The Inferno was written by Dante Alighieri around 1314 and depicts the poet’s imaginary journey through Hell. Dante spent his life traveling from court to court both lecturing and writing down his experiences. His Divine Comedy – the three-part epic poem consisting of Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso (Hell, Purgatory and Heaven)– is generally regarded as one of the greatest poetic feats ever accomplished. All three parts are incredible literary feats with symbolism so complex and beautiful that scholars are still unraveling all the details today. However, this essay will focus on the first part of Dante’s work, Inferno, which consists of 34 cantos. Dante’s Inferno is a masterpiece of allegorical imagery where Virgil represents human reason, Beatrice love and hope, and Dante mankind on the journey of the human soul through life to reach salvation.