Comparison of the Odyssey with either Inferno or The Song of Roland

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The major assignment for this week is to compose a 900-word essay comparing The Odyssey with either The Song of Roland or Dante’s Inferno. In this paper you will write an in-depth analysis using your own ideas and excerpts from the epic poems in the form of quotes, paraphrase, or summary.

Pick a Topic

First, identify a topic in consultation with your instructor or write about one of the following options:

  1. Although nearly two thousand years separate The Odyssey and Dante’s Inferno, both works are epic poems that:
    • Explore the theme of good versus evil.
    • Employ journey as a metaphor for maturation.
    • Reveal and teach cultural values about leadership.
    • Caution audiences about the appeal of temptation.
    • Contemplate the nature of immortality.

Compare and contrast how one or two of these topics is developed in The Odyssey and Dante’s Inferno. Be sure to contextualize your examination in the cultural values, philosophies, literary movements, and ideas that typify each work. Use literary perspectives to enrich your analysis.

  1. The Song of Roland and The Odyssey, though separated by thousands of years, are both epic works whose protagonists are warriors engaged in violent conflict: Roland is a medieval Crusader and Odysseus is on a long journey home after conquering Troy. Additionally, both works:
    • Explore the theme of good versus evil.
    • Reveal and teach cultural values about leadership.
    • Contemplate the nature of immortality.
    • Examine the moral and practical implications of loyalty and betrayal.

Compare and contrast the figures Roland and Odysseus by considering whether and/or how they exhibit the characteristics of an epic hero. Be sure to contextualize your examination in the cultural values, philosophies, literary movements, and ideas that typify each work. Use literary perspectives to enrich your analysis.

Develop a Tentative Thesis

As you consider different options for your thesis,

  • Develop a few hypotheses about the text that are based on your own perspectives and relate to the topic that you chose to explore for this assignment.
  • In addition to considering the texts’ plots, reflect on the role(s) that genre and other elements of literature (see the online lecture on this topic) play in revealing medieval Western European and ancient Greek cultures, including important philosophies and values associated with these regions and eras.
  • Review the lectures on literary movements and literary perspectives (feminist, psychoanalytic, and historicist perspectives on literature) and identify which of these analytical tools best supports the ideas that you are beginning to develop.

intext citations, credible references, etc.

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