Morality and Ethics in Medieval European Literature

In much of the Medieval world, the religion played a major role not only in the structure of society but in the literature produced as well.  This unit will allow us to discuss the explosion of texts associated with defining morality in Europe during the Middle Ages and begin examining how revolt and revolution impacts literature.  We will focus on Dante's vivid descriptions of Hell in his Divine Comedy while we look to literary analysis associated with allegory and Dante's contributions to literature.  Because of his impact on English literature, among others, we will examine a sample of Medieval English literature to not only see the connections to Dante's work but, more importantly, to examine English perspectives about ethics during this time period.

Inferno (trans. Ciardi)



The image above is Botticelli's rendition of the levels of Hell in Dante's Inferno.  It was taken from'Enfer.jpg (where you can go to zoom in on specific areas within the image) and is used for noncommercial, educational purposes.