Monday, September 2, 2013

Deserves Dante Alighieri more honors than William Shakespeare?

Literature Thoughts:

Just a thought: Deserves Dante Alighieri more honors than William Shakespeare?

                    Hi guys. Basically, I had this thought in my mind for longer time, and I just want to show you my opinion on it. For the record, they are both briliant autors, and they deserve to be in a honorary place in our history. But something makes special connection/rivalry between them, almost the same that was between Tesla and Edison, but in the special way, and I don´t mean like One of them helped each other for nothing same as Tesla improved most of Edisons patents, Dante and Shakespeare lived even in different eras. It´s some sort of connection that I cannot even describe.

Brief introduction:
                 Durante degli Alighieri, simply referred to as Dante (UK /ˈdænti/, US /ˈdɑːnteɪ/; Italian:
[ˈdante]; c. 1265–1321), was a major Italian poet of the Middle Ages. His Divine Comedy, originally called La Comedia and later called Divina by Boccaccio, is widely considered the greatest literary work composed in the Italian language and a masterpiece of world literature.

In Italy he is known as il Sommo Poeta ("the Supreme Poet") or just il Poeta. He, Petrarch and Boccaccio are also known as "the three fountains" or "the three crowns". Dante is also called the "Father of the Italian language". As an example to compare with William Shakespeares work to see who is a better writer, I chose his famous work of art, Divine Comedy
                   William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 (baptised) – 23 April 1616)[nb 1] was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon".[nb 2] His extant works, including some collaborations, consist of about 38 plays,[nb 3] 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, the authorship of some of which is uncertain. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. For this "battle", I chose the classic, Romeo and Juliet.

William Shakespeare:
                         Everybody knows that he improved the english language. To have an approximate idea, how he improved english, look at this video on youtube channel OUlearnShakespeare - The History of English (3/10).
                         For the record, some claim that he never existed and his name is pseudonym of Francis Bacon, which I doubt because if you look on his philosophical work New Organon, it doesn´t have the same stylistic that are characteristic for every person individually, but I am not an expert in literature, so it´s just a opinion. Plus, I think that a tax-collector, which Francis Bacon was, and a philosopher at the same time, wouldn´t have the time to write so many plays, because it would take all his time to do that, but let´s remember it´s my opinion.
                         But enough conspiracy, and let´s talk about him and his work that I chose. We need to
keep in mind that he was in a dangerous position as a writer. Basically he was an entertainer, that was balancing on thin ice, because as he like to wrote plays about royal families, the King himself could execute him for something that he didn´t liked in plays. He may intend some secrets in his plays, that would appear to King as his own situation in life and it could make him think about, but as I said, it was a thin line, because King could take it personally.
                          We must consider, that the Romeo and Juliet is a comedy. And comedy at that time doesn´t always ment to be funny in a humorous way. Comedy, like tragedy, was a story that has constantly building up nodus for the characters and it didn´t need to be resolved at the end, but apart from tragedy, it has some sort of funny undernote. In Shakespeares work, the funny undernote was irony. You can see the irony of Romeo and Juliet  in act when Juliet was supposed to be dead, but she is only asleep and nobody doesn´t know that, and Romeo dies because he cannot live with her, and than she awakes. The irony is in: Romeo dying for her, because she is dead (as he thinks), and then she awakes. So as you can see, irony is when the act of the story or play happenes opposed to characters properties. I am bad at explaining in english, so that´s why I wrote the same thing many times, but still if you don´t get it, chcek this video by TEDEducation about dramatic irony, that Shakespeare mostly used. You can also click here to watch it.

Also you can click here and/or here to learn more about situational and verbal irony.
                          And that is the thin ice, because not everybody gets the irony, and often people could take it personally.
                           Other property of irony is, that if it is used in play, it makes story more appealing to audience and it also makes it appear as having the laugh of audience. We must take in mind, that at the time women weren´t allowed to act, so Juliet was played by man, and Shakespeare knew it very well, so his intention of creating characters were different than the intentions of our autors nowdays.
                            So as you can see, Shakespeare was some sort of preacher. He appeal at the audience by irony, to give them a good time at theatre, but he made the play memorable by laughter, that the audience took something from the play to their actuall lives. At least I think that was his intention. The complexity of plays can indicate to Shakespeares ambition, to make them the most realistic as possible.

Dante Alighieri:
                           The idea of writing the Divine Comedy started, when he first saw Beatrice Portinari as a child. She was 15, and he was 10, but she instatly impressed him. She became his platonical love and he even "crowned" her as "Lady of his mind". She died of cholera later, but Dante never forget about her. Even he had a wife and two children, he never mention them in his works.  He also loved geology, and he even witnessed a falling meteor, that created a crater, which inspired him to put Lucifer in Hell upside down at the bottom, because he felt from the Heavens. His Divine Comedy was number 2 on the list of best selling books, the 1st was Bible, after he died, even though he was exiled from the church before he died.
                           The work itself is mystical. The story starts in place of his actuall death, and the work at the begining is more like revising his actuall personality in allegoricall way. You can see that the work is educational, because it´s showing actuall historical figures, and also philosphical, because it judges the conclusions of their lives at the end by ending in three worlds of afterlife. Also the number 10 is dominant through out the work. In Hell are 9 circles, and the 10th is Lucifer, stucked in the ground because of crashing to earth. His crashing formed 9 terraces of Mount Purgatory on the opposite side of earth, and the 10th terrace is Garden of Eden, which first people were cast out, because of  The First Sin. And above the earth, there were 9 heavenly spheres, which the 10th was rose where Virgin Mary was, and above that all, there was God, presented as 3 perfect circles that fit to each other so perfectly, that was beyond the logic.
                            His next common used number was 3, which he by this number divided some circles of worlds of Afterlife. For example, the circle of Hell, Violence, was divided into three sub-parts, Also he divided some circles by 10, like for example last circle of Hell, Fraud, had 9 sub-circles and the 10th sub-circle ,Lake Cocytus, that was the entering to Lucifer. Lucifer was stuck at it´s bottom, called the Circle of Treachery. He also as a geology fan-boy, he decided to make Hell colder, and colder, as you enter deeper and deeper into it, because he want to make it more realistic and thus he present the faith in Christian God more real. It´s also told that he was Rosecrucian. It was more a moral cult than occult cult or society., because they didn´t have meetings. They were based more on charity works, and discovering new things, to undestand Gods creation and thus God himself. Some say that they guarded the holy grail. Another Rosecrucian,was, for example, Paracelsus. But maybe it´s just a myth, but there is some evidence, as for example the use of number 10 and 3, the rose above the heavens, and so on.

                          So I think Dante is better than Shakespeare, and let me tell you why. Dantes work is appealing to an individual, but Shakespeares workes are cynical and they appeal to large public. Thus, the effect of his plays is less educational than Divine Comedy, because it dosen´t opens the space for freezing onto. Shakespeare  just is sending a something like sublimate linear message, but that´s it. The message can make discusion if discovered, but the effect is almost none.
an allegory of life, even though the both works started with the love-theme,
                           But Dante, for example, created a linear story, with variety of messages and meanings, different after every new re-reading. The 1st part of Divine comedy, Inferno  (Hell), can be understand through logic and reasoning. The second part Purgatory, can be understand also with logic, but only with guidence of morality and meaning of morals. The last part  Paradise (Heaven), is pure abstract, and it only makes sense, if you are reading it with love, and if you are reading it while in love, double experience points for you. So the divine comedy isn´t about the ending, as in Shakespeares plays, where the moral of story appears there. The morals of Divine Comedy, is throughout the whole journey, and it teaches you that sometimes story aren´t about happy endings, or endings in general, after all. It is like exploring the consciousness of your body, mind and spirit/soul, and your understanding and interpretation of Divine Comedy shows what person you are. None of authors didn´t create such a story with many apperances at the same time.
                            Only reason that Shakespeare is more widely known, is because of British Empire.                          
So what is your opinion? Let me know, also follow me on Twitter for future updates about what is next comming up on this blog.  See ya next time ;).


1 comment:

  1. I would disagree with the conclusion that the works of Shakespeare are less educational than Dante. The big difference between the two writers is the personality of each and the type of message that they show. Shakespeare is a mountain top covered with clouds, said Arnold, Dante's life is more known, Dante strove to create a theological literature, Shakespeare chose to leave the positions and fall in ambiguity, but here comes a detail, this ambiguity Shakespeare is like the endless ocean, we will never know everything about her, while Dante's work is like an immense island, but Shakespeare is a ocean, Shakespeare has more width than Dante, Shakespeare wrote 37 plays, 154 sonnets and others poems while Dante just a great work with a volume of 5 plays of Bard. Finally, for modernity Shakespeare is more relevant, there are more books about Shakespeare than about Dante, Shakespeare's most widely read, taught, what is wrong to say that Shakespeare is less educated, each of his pieces invite us to different interpretations more than does Dante.