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Literary Masterpieces from the Western Civilization

BEOWULF (English)

Full Title · Beowulf
Author · Unknown
Type of work · Poem
Genre · Alliterative verse; elegy; resembles heroic epic, though smaller in scope
than most classical epics
Language · Anglo-Saxon (also called Old English)
Time and place written · Estimates of the date of composition range between 700
and 1000 A.D.; written in England
Date of first publication · the only manuscript in which Beowulf is preserved is
thought to have been written around 1000 A.D.
Publisher · the original poem exists only in manuscript form.
Narrator · A Christian narrator telling a story of pagan times
Point of view · the narrator recounts the story in the third person, from a generally
objective standpoint—detailing the action that occurs. The narrator does, however,
have access to every character’s depths. We see into the minds of most of the
characters (even Grendel) at one point or another and the narrative also moves
forward and backward in time with considerable freedom.
Tone · the poet is generally enthusiastic about Beowulf’s feats, but he often
surrounds the events he narrates with a sense of doom.
Tense · Past, but with digressions into the distant past and predictions of the future
Setting (time) · the main action of the story is set around 500 a.d.; the narrative
also recounts historical events that happened much earlier.
Setting (place) · Denmark and Geatland (a region in what is now southern Sweden)
Protagonist · Beowulf
Major conflict · the poem essentially consists of three parts. There are three central
conflicts: Grendel’s domination of Heorot Hall; the vengeance of Grendel’s mother
after Grendel is slain; and the rage of the dragon after a thief steals a treasure that
it has been guarding. The poem’s overarching conflict is between close-knit warrior
societies and the various menaces that threaten their boundaries.
Rising action · Grendel’s attack on Heorot, Beowulf’s defeat of Grendel, and
Grendel’s mother’s vengeful killing of Aeschere lead to the climactic encounter
between Beowulf and Grendel’s mother.
Climax · Beowulf’s encounter with Grendel’s mother constitutes the moment at
which good and evil are in greatest tension.
Falling action · Beowulf’s glorious victory over Grendel’s mother leads King
Hrothgar to praise him as a worthy hero and to advise him about becoming king. It
also helps Beowulf to transform from a brazen warrior into a reliable king.

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Themes · the importance of establishing identity; tensions between the heroic code
and other value systems; the difference between a good warrior and a good king
Motifs · Monsters; the oral tradition; the mead-hall
Symbols · the golden torque; the banquet
foreshadowing · The funeral of Shield Sheafson, with which the poem opens,
foreshadows Beowulf’s funeral at the poem’s end; the story of Sigemund told by
the scop, or bard, foreshadows Beowulf’s fight with the dragon; the story of King
Heremod foreshadows Beowulf’s eventual ascendancy to kingship.

King Hrothgar of Denmark, a descendant of the great king Shield Sheafson,
enjoys a prosperous and successful reign. He builds a great mead-hall, called Heorot,
where his warriors can gather to drink, receive gifts from their lord, and listen to stories
sung by the scops, or bards. But the jubilant noise from Heorot angers Grendel, a
horrible demon who lives in the swamplands of Hrothgar’s kingdom. Grendel terrorizes
the Danes every night, killing them and defeating their efforts to fight back. The Danes
suffer many years of fear, danger, and death at the hands of Grendel. Eventually,
however, a young Geatish warrior named Beowulf hears of Hrothgar’s plight. Inspired by
the challenge, Beowulf sails to Denmark with a small company of men, determined to
defeat Grendel.
Hrothgar, who had once done a great favor for Beowulf’s father Ecgtheow,
accepts Beowulf’s offer to fight Grendel and holds a feast in the hero’s honor. During
the feast, an envious Dane named Unferth taunts Beowulf and accuses him of being
unworthy of his reputation. Beowulf responds with a boastful description of some of his
past accomplishments. His confidence cheers the Danish warriors, and the feast lasts
merrily into the night. At last, however, Grendel arrives. Beowulf fights him unarmed,
proving himself stronger than the demon, who is terrified. As Grendel struggles to
escape, Beowulf tears the monster’s arm off. Mortally wounded, Grendel slinks back
into the swamp to die. The severed arm is hung high in the mead-hall as a trophy of
Overjoyed, Hrothgar showers Beowulf with gifts and treasure at a feast in his
honor. Songs are sung in praise of Beowulf, and the celebration lasts late into the night.
But another threat is approaching. Grendel’s mother, a swamp-hag who lives in a
desolate lake, comes to Heorot seeking revenge for her son’s death. She murders
Aeschere, one of Hrothgar’s most trusted advisers, before slinking away. To avenge
Aeschere’s death, the company travels to the murky swamp, where Beowulf dives into
the water and fights Grendel’s mother in her underwater lair. He kills her with a sword
forged for a giant, then, finding Grendel’s corpse, decapitates it and brings the head as a
prize to Hrothgar. The Danish countryside is now purged of its treacherous monsters.
The Danes are again overjoyed, and Beowulf’s fame spreads across the
kingdom. Beowulf departs after a sorrowful goodbye to Hrothgar, who has treated him
like a son. He returns to Geatland, where he and his men are reunited with their king
and queen, Hygelac and Hygd, to whom Beowulf recounts his adventures in Denmark.
Beowulf then hands over most of his treasure to Hygelac, who, in turn, rewards him.
In time, Hygelac is killed in a war against the Shylfings, and, after Hygelac’s son
dies, Beowulf ascends to the throne of the Geats. He rules wisely for fifty years, bringing
prosperity to Geatland. When Beowulf is an old man, however, a thief disturbs a
barrow, or mound, where a great dragon lies guarding a horde of treasure. Enraged, the
dragon emerges from the barrow and begins unleashing fiery destruction upon the

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Geats. Sensing his own death approaching, Beowulf goes to fight the dragon. With the
aid of Wiglaf, he succeeds in killing the beast, but at a heavy cost. The dragon bites
Beowulf in the neck and its fiery venom kills him moments after their encounter. The
Geats fear that their enemies will attack them now that Beowulf is dead. According to
Beowulf’s wishes, they burn their departed king’s body on a huge funeral pyre and then
bury him with a massive treasure in a barrow overlooking the sea.
Beowulf - The protagonist of the epic, Beowulf is a Geatish hero who fights the monster
Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and a fire-breathing dragon. Beowulf’s boasts and
encounters reveal him to be the strongest, ablest warrior around. In his youth,
he personifies all of the best values of the heroic culture. In his old age, he
proves a wise and effective ruler.
King Hrothgar - The king of the Danes. Hrothgar enjoys military success and prosperity
until Grendel terrorizes his realm. A wise and aged ruler, Hrothgar represents a
different kind of leadership from that exhibited by the youthful warrior
Beowulf. He is a father figure to Beowulf and a model for the kind of king that
Beowulf becomes.
Grendel - A demon descended from Cain, Grendel preys on Hrothgar’s warriors in the
king’s mead-hall, Heorot. Because his ruthless and miserable existence is part
of the retribution exacted by God for Cain’s murder of Abel, Grendel fits solidly
within the ethos of vengeance that governs the world of the poem.
Grendel’s mother - An unnamed swamp-hag, Grendel’s mother seems to possess fewer
human qualities than Grendel, although her terrorization of Heorot is explained
by her desire for vengeance—a human motivation.
The dragon - An ancient, powerful serpent, the dragon guards a horde of treasure in a
hidden mound. Beowulf’s fight with the dragon constitutes the third and final
part of the epic.
Shield Sheafson - The legendary Danish king from whom Hrothgar is descended, Shield
Sheafson is the mythical founder who inaugurates a long line of Danish rulers
and embodies the Danish tribe’s highest values of heroism and leadership. The
poem opens with a brief account of his rise from orphan to warrior-king,
concluding, “That was one good king”.
Beow - The second king listed in the genealogy of Danish rulers with which the poem
begins. Beow is the son of Shield Sheafson and father of Halfdane. The narrator
presents Beow as a gift from God to a people in need of a leader. He
exemplifies the maxim, “Behavior that’s admired / is the path to power among
people everywhere” (24–25).

Halfdane - The father of Hrothgar, Heorogar, Halga, and an unnamed daughter who
married a king of the Swedes, Halfdane succeeded Beow as ruler of the Danes.
Wealhtheow - Hrothgar’s wife, the gracious queen of the Danes.
Unferth - A Danish warrior who is jealous of Beowulf, Unferth is unable or unwilling to
fight Grendel, thus proving himself inferior to Beowulf.

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Hrethric - Hrothgar’s elder son, Hrethric stands to inherit the Danish throne, but
Hrethric’s older cousin Hrothulf will prevent him from doing so. Beowulf offers
to support the youngster’s prospect of becoming king by hosting him in
Geatland and giving him guidance.
Hrothmund - The second son of Hrothgar.
Hrothulf - Hrothgar’s nephew, Hrothulf betrays and usurps his cousin, Hrethic, the
rightful heir to the Danish throne. Hrothulf’s treachery contrasts with Beowulf’s
loyalty to Hygelac in helping his son to the throne.
Aeschere - Hrothgar’s trusted adviser.

Hygelac - Beowulf’s uncle, king of the Geats, and husband of Hygd. Hygelac heartily
welcomes Beowulf back from Denmark.
Hygd - Hygelac’s wife, the young, beautiful, and intelligent queen of the Geats. Hygd is
contrasted with Queen Modthryth.
Wiglaf - A young kinsman and retainer of Beowulf who helps him in the fight against the
dragon while all of the other warriors run away. Wiglaf adheres to the heroic
code better than Beowulf’s other retainers, thereby proving himself a suitable
successor to Beowulf.
Ecgtheow - Beowulf’s father, Hygelac’s brother-in-law, and Hrothgar’s friend. Ecgtheow
is dead by the time the story begins, but he lives on through the noble
reputation that he made for himself during his life and in his dutiful son’s
King Hrethel - The Geatish king who took Beowulf in as a ward after the death of
Ecgtheow, Beowulf’s father.
Breca - Beowulf’s childhood friend, whom he defeated in a swimming match. Unferth
alludes to the story of their contest, and Beowulf then relates it in detail.


Sigemund - A figure from Norse mythology, famous for slaying a dragon. Sigemund’s
story is told in praise of Beowulf and foreshadows Beowulf’s encounter with
the dragon.
King Heremod - An evil king of legend. The scop, or bard, at Heorot discusses King
Heremod as a figure who contrasts greatly with Beowulf.
Queen Modthryth - A wicked queen of legend who punishes anyone who looks at her
the wrong way. Modthryth’s story is told in order to contrast her cruelty with
Hygd’s gentle and reasonable behavior.

SparkNotes Editors. (2003). SparkNote on Beowulf. Retrieved December 8, 2012, from

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Iliad (Greek)

Full Title: The Iliad

Author: Homer
Type of Work: Poem

Genre: Epic
Language: Ancient Greek

Time and Place Written: Unknown, but probably mainland Greece, around 750 B.C.
Date of First Publication: Unknown
Publisher: Unknown
Narrator: The poet, who declares himself to be the medium through which one or many
of the Muses speak
Point of View: The narrator speaks in the third person. An omniscient narrator (he has
access to every character’s mind), he frequently gives insight into the thoughts and
feelings of even minor characters, gods and mortals alike.

Tone: Awe-inspired, ironic, lamenting, pitying

Tense: Past
Setting (Time): Bronze Age (around the twelfth or thirteenth century B.C.), The Iliad
begins nine years after the start of the Trojan War
Setting (Place): Troy (a city in what is now northwestern Turkey) and its immediate
Protagonist: Achilles
Major Conflict: Agamemnon’s demand for Achilles’ war prize, the maiden Briseis,
wounds Achilles’ pride; Achilles’ consequent refusal to fight causes the Achaeans to
suffer greatly in their battle against the Trojans.
Rising Action: Hector’s assault on the Achaean ships; the return of Patroclus to combat;
the death of Patroclus
Climax: Achilles’ return to combat turns the tide against the Trojans once and for all and
ensures the fated fall of Troy to which the poet has alluded throughout the poem.
Falling Action: The retreat of the Trojan army; Achilles’ revenge on Hector; the
Achaeans’ desecration of Hector’s corpse
Themes: The glory of war; military values over family life; the impermanence of human
life and its creations
Motifs: Armor; burial; fire
Symbols: The Achaean ships; the shield of Achilles

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Foreshadowing: Foreshadowing is prominent in The Iliad, as the poet constantly refers
to events that have yet to occur and to fated outcomes. Patroclus’s return to battle
foreshadows Achilles’ return to battle, for example, and Hector’s taunting of the dead
Patroclus foreshadows the desecration of his own corpse by Achilles. Also, Achilles and
Hector themselves make references to their own fates—about which they have been
informed; technically, only Hector’s references foreshadow any event in the poem itself,
however, as Achilles dies after the close of the epic.


Nine years after the start of the Trojan War, the Greek (“Achaean”) army sacks
Chryse, a town allied with Troy. During the battle, the Achaeans capture a pair of
beautiful maidens, Chryseis and Briseis. Agamemnon, the leader of the Achaean forces,
takes Chryseis as his prize, and Achilles, the Achaeans’ greatest warrior, claims Briseis.
Chryseis’s father, Chryses, who serves as a priest of the god Apollo, offers an enormous
ransom in return for his daughter, but Agamemnon refuses to give Chryseis back.
Chryses then prays to Apollo, who sends a plague upon the Achaean camp.
After many Achaeans die, Agamemnon consults the prophet Calchas to
determine the cause of the plague. When he learns that Chryseis is the cause, he
reluctantly gives her up but then demands Briseis from Achilles as compensation.
Furious at this insult, Achilles returns to his tent in the army camp and refuses to fight in
the war any longer. He vengefully yearns to see the Achaeans destroyed and asks his
mother, the sea-nymph Thetis, to enlist the services of Zeus, king of the gods, toward
this end. The Trojan and Achaean sides have declared a cease-fire with each other, but
now the Trojans breach the treaty and Zeus comes to their aid.
With Zeus supporting the Trojans and Achilles refusing to fight, the Achaeans
suffer great losses. Several days of fierce conflict ensue, including duels between Paris
and Menelaus and between Hector and Ajax. The Achaeans make no progress; even the
heroism of the great Achaean warrior Diomedes proves fruitless. The Trojans push the
Achaeans back, forcing them to take refuge behind the ramparts that protect their
ships. The Achaeans begin to nurture some hope for the future when a nighttime
reconnaissance mission by Diomedes and Odysseus yields information about the
Trojans’ plans, but the next day brings disaster. Several Achaean commanders become
wounded, and the Trojans break through the Achaean ramparts. They advance all the
way up to the boundary of the Achaean camp and set fire to one of the ships. Defeat
seems imminent, because without the ships, the army will be stranded at Troy and
almost certainly destroyed.
Concerned for his comrades but still too proud to help them himself, Achilles
agrees to a plan proposed by Nestor that will allow his beloved friend Patroclus to take
his place in battle, wearing his armor. Patroclus is a fine warrior, and his presence on the
battlefield helps the Achaeans push the Trojans away from the ships and back to the city
walls. But the counterattack soon falters. Apollo knocks Patroclus’s armor to the ground,
and Hector slays him. Fighting then breaks out as both sides try to lay claim to the body
and armor. Hector ends up with the armor, but the Achaeans, thanks to a courageous

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effort by Menelaus and others, manage to bring the body back to their camp. When
Achilles discovers that Hector has killed Patroclus, he fills with such grief and rage that
he agrees to reconcile with Agamemnon and rejoin the battle. Thetis goes to Mount
Olympus and persuades the god Hephaestus to forge Achilles a new suit of armor, which
she presents to him the next morning. Achilles then rides out to battle at the head of
the Achaean army.

Meanwhile, Hector, not expecting Achilles to rejoin the battle, has ordered his
men to camp outside the walls of Troy. But when the Trojan army glimpses Achilles, it
flees in terror back behind the city walls. Achilles cuts down every Trojan he sees.
Strengthened by his rage, he even fights the god of the river Xanthus, who is angered
that Achilles has caused so many corpses to fall into his streams. Finally, Achilles
confronts Hector outside the walls of Troy. Ashamed at the poor advice that he gave his
comrades, Hector refuses to flee inside the city with them. Achilles chases him around
the city’s periphery three times, but the goddess Athena finally tricks Hector into
turning around and fighting Achilles. In a dramatic duel, Achilles kills Hector. He then
lashes the body to the back of his chariot and drags it across the battlefield to the
Achaean camp. Upon Achilles’ arrival, the triumphant Achaeans celebrate Patroclus’s
funeral with a long series of athletic games in his honor. Each day for the next nine days,
Achilles drags Hector’s body in circles around Patroclus’s funeral bier.
At last, the gods agree that Hector deserves a proper burial. Zeus sends the god
Hermes to escort King Priam, Hector’s father and the ruler of Troy, into the Achaean
camp. Priam tearfully pleads with Achilles to take pity on a father bereft of his son and
return Hector’s body. He invokes the memory of Achilles’ own father, Peleus. Deeply
moved, Achilles finally relents and returns Hector’s corpse to the Trojans. Both sides
agree to a temporary truce, and Hector receives a hero’s funeral.


The Achaeans (also called the “Argives” or “Danaans”)

Achilles: The son of the military man Peleus and the sea-nymph Thetis. The most
powerful warrior in The Iliad, Achilles commands the Myrmidons, soldiers from his
homeland of Phthia in Greece. Proud and headstrong, he takes offense easily and reacts
with blistering indignation when he perceives that his honor has been slighted. Achilles’
wrath at Agamemnon for taking his war prize, the maiden Briseis, forms the main
subject of The Iliad.
Agamemnon (also called “Atrides”): King of Mycenae and leader of the Achaean army;
brother of King Menelaus of Sparta. Arrogant and often selfish, Agamemnon provides
the Achaeans with strong but sometimes reckless and self-serving leadership. Like
Achilles, he lacks consideration and forethought. Most saliently, his tactless
appropriation of Achilles’ war prize, the maiden Briseis, creates a crisis for the Achaeans,
when Achilles, insulted, withdraws from the war.
Patroclus: Achilles’ beloved friend, companion, and advisor, Patroclus grew up alongside
the great warrior in Phthia, under the guardianship of Peleus. Devoted to both Achilles
and the Achaean cause, Patroclus stands by the enraged Achilles but also dons Achilles’
terrifying armor in an attempt to hold the Trojans back.

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Odysseus: A fine warrior and the cleverest of the Achaean commanders. Along with
Nestor, Odysseus is one of the Achaeans’ two best public speakers. He helps mediate
between Agamemnon and Achilles during their quarrel and often prevents them from
making rash decisions.
Diomedes (also called “Tydides”): The youngest of the Achaean commanders,
Diomedes is bold and sometimes proves impetuous. After Achilles withdraws from
combat, Athena inspires Diomedes with such courage that he actually wounds two gods,
Aphrodite and Ares.
Great Ajax: An Achaean commander, Great Ajax (sometimes called “Telamonian Ajax”
or simply “Ajax”) is the second mightiest Achaean warrior after Achilles. His
extraordinary size and strength help him to wound Hector twice by hitting him with
boulders. He often fights alongside Little Ajax, and the pair is frequently referred to as
the “Aeantes.”
Little Ajax: An Achaean commander, Little Ajax is the son of Oileus (to be distinguished
from Great Ajax, the son of Telamon). He often fights alongside Great Ajax, whose
stature and strength complement Little Ajax’s small size and swift speed.
Nestor: King of Pylos and the oldest Achaean commander. Although age has taken much
of Nestor’s physical strength, it has left him with great wisdom. He often acts as an
advisor to the military commanders, especially Agamemnon. Nestor and Odysseus are
the Achaeans’ most deft and persuasive orators, although Nestor’s speeches are
sometimes long-winded.
Menelaus: King of Sparta; the younger brother of Agamemnon. While it is the abduction
of his wife, Helen, by the Trojan prince Paris that sparks the Trojan War, Menelaus
proves quieter, less imposing, and less arrogant than Agamemnon. Though he has a
stout heart, Menelaus is not among the mightiest Achaean warriors.
Idomeneus: King of Crete and a respected commander. Idomeneus leads a charge
against the Trojans in Book 13.
Machaon: A healer. Machaon is wounded by Paris in Book 11.
Calchas: An important soothsayer. Calchas’s identification of the cause of the plague
ravaging the Achaean army in Book 1 leads inadvertently to the rift between
Agamemnon and Achilles that occupies the first nineteen books of The Iliad.
Peleus: Achilles’ father and the grandson of Zeus. Although his name often appears in
the epic, Peleus never appears in person. Priam powerfully invokes the memory of
Peleus when he convinces Achilles to return Hector’s corpse to the Trojans in Book 24.
Phoenix: A kindly old warrior, Phoenix helped raise Achilles while he himself was still a
young man. Achilles deeply loves and trusts Phoenix, and Phoenix mediates between
him and Agamemnon during their quarrel.
The Myrmidons: The soldiers under Achilles’ command, hailing from Achilles’ homeland,
The Trojans
Hector: A son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba, Hector is the mightiest warrior in the
Trojan army. He mirrors Achilles in some of his flaws, but his bloodlust is not so great as
that of Achilles. He is devoted to his wife, Andromache, and son, Astyanax, but resents
his brother Paris for bringing war upon their family and city.
Priam: King of Troy and husband of Hecuba, Priam is the father of fifty Trojan warriors,
including Hector and Paris. Though too old to fight, he has earned the respect of both

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the Trojans and the Achaeans by virtue of his level-headed, wise, and benevolent rule.
He treats Helen kindly, though he laments the war that her beauty has sparked.
Hecuba: Queen of Troy, wife of Priam, and mother of Hector and Paris.
Paris (also known as “Alexander”): A son of Priam and Hecuba and brother of Hector.
Paris’s abduction of the beautiful Helen, wife of Menelaus, sparked the Trojan War.
Paris is self-centered and often unmanly. He fights effectively with a bow and arrow
(never with the more manly sword or spear) but often lacks the spirit for battle and
prefers to sit in his room making love to Helen while others fight for him, thus earning
both Hector’s and Helen’s scorn.
Helen: Reputed to be the most beautiful woman in the ancient world, Helen was stolen
from her husband, Menelaus, and taken to Troy by Paris. She loathes herself now for
the misery that she has caused so many Trojan and Achaean men. Although her
contempt extends to Paris as well, she continues to stay with him.
Aeneas: A Trojan nobleman, the son of Aphrodite, and a mighty warrior. The Romans
believed that Aeneas later founded their city (he is the protagonist of Virgil’s
masterpiece the Aeneid).
Andromache: Hector’s loving wife, Andromache begs Hector to withdraw from the war
and save himself before the Achaeans kill him.
Astyanax: Hector and Andromache’s infant son.
Polydamas: A young Trojan commander, Polydamas sometimes figures as a foil for
Hector, proving cool-headed and prudent when Hector charges ahead. Polydamas gives
the Trojans sound advice, but Hector seldom acts on it.
Glaucus: A powerful Trojan warrior, Glaucus nearly fights a duel with Diomedes. The
men’s exchange of armor after they realize that their families are friends illustrates the
value that ancients placed on kinship and camaraderie.
Agenor: A Trojan warrior who attempts to fight Achilles in Book 21. Agenor delays
Achilles long enough for the Trojan army to flee inside Troy’s walls.
Dolon: A Trojan sent to spy on the Achaean camp in Book 10.
Pandarus: A Trojan archer. Pandarus’s shot at Menelaus in Book 4 breaks the temporary
truce between the two sides.
Antenor: A Trojan nobleman, advisor to King Priam, and father of many Trojan warriors.
Antenor argues that Helen should be returned to Menelaus in order to end the war, but
Paris refuses to give her up.
Sarpedon: One of Zeus’s sons. Sarpedon’s fate seems intertwined with the gods’
quibbles, calling attention to the unclear nature of the gods’ relationship to Fate.
Chryseis: Chryses’ daughter, a priest of Apollo in a Trojan-allied town.
Briseis: A war prize of Achilles. When Agamemnon is forced to return Chryseis to her
father, he appropriates Briseis as compensation, sparking Achilles’ great rage.
Chryses: A priest of Apollo in a Trojan-allied town; the father of Chryseis, whom
Agamemnon takes as a war prize.

The Gods and Immortals

Zeus: King of the gods and husband of Hera, Zeus claims neutrality in the mortals’
conflict and often tries to keep the other gods from participating in it. However, he

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throws his weight behind the Trojan side for much of the battle after the sulking Achilles
has his mother, Thetis, ask the god to do so.
Hera: Queen of the gods and Zeus’s wife, Hera is a conniving, headstrong woman. She
often goes behind Zeus’s back in matters on which they disagree, working with Athena
to crush the Trojans, whom she passionately hates.
Athena: The goddess of wisdom, purposeful battle, and the womanly arts; Zeus’s
daughter. Like Hera, Athena passionately hates the Trojans and often gives the
Achaeans valuable aid.
Thetis: A sea-nymph and the devoted mother of Achilles, Thetis gets Zeus to help the
Trojans and punish the Achaeans at the request of her angry son. When Achilles finally
rejoins the battle, she commissions Hephaestus to design him a new suit of armor.
Apollo: A son of Zeus and twin brother of the goddess Artemis, Apollo is god of the sun
and the arts, particularly music. He supports the Trojans and often intervenes in the war
on their behalf.
Aphrodite: Goddess of love and daughter of Zeus, Aphrodite is married to Hephaestus
but maintains a romantic relationship with Ares. She supports Paris and the Trojans
throughout the war, though she proves somewhat ineffectual in battle.
Poseidon: The brother of Zeus and god of the sea. Poseidon holds a long-standing
grudge against the Trojans because they never paid him for helping them to build their
city. He therefore supports the Achaeans in the war.
Hephaestus: God of fire and husband of Aphrodite, Hephaestus is the gods’ metalsmith
and is known as the lame or crippled god. Although the text doesn’t make clear his
sympathies in the mortals’ struggle, he helps the Achaeans by forging a new set of
armor for Achilles and by rescuing Achilles during his fight with a river god.
Artemis: Goddess of the hunt, daughter of Zeus, and twin sister of Apollo. Artemis
supports the Trojans in the war.
Ares: God of war and lover of Aphrodite, Ares generally supports the Trojans in the war.
Hermes: The messenger of the gods. Hermes escorts Priam to Achilles’ tent in Book 24.
Iris: Zeus’s messenger.
SparkNotes Editors. (2002). SparkNote on The Iliad. Retrieved from
http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/iliad/> on December 06, 2012 at 8:02 PM.

Odyssey (Greek)
Full Title: The Odyssey
Author: Homer; some critics argue for multiple authorship
Type of Work: Poem
Genre: Epic
Language: Ancient Greek (Ionic dialect mixed with archaic forms and other dialects)
Time And Place Written: Unknown, but probably mainland Greece,
approximately 700 B.C.E.

Date Of First Publication: Unknown
Narrator: The poet, who invokes the assistance of the Muse; Odysseus narrates
Books 9–12.
Point Of View: The narrator speaks in the third person and is omniscient. He frequently
offers insight into the thoughts and feelings of even minor characters, gods and mortals
alike; Odysseus narrates Books 9–12 in the first person. Odysseus freely gives inferences
about the thoughts and feelings of other characters.
Tone: Celebratory and nostalgic; the poet views the times in which the action is set as
glorious and larger than life.
Tense: Past; large portions of the poem (especially Books 9–12) are narrated in
Setting (Time): Bronze Age (approximately twelfth century B.C.E.); theOdyssey begins
where the Iliad ends and covers the ten years after the fall of Troy.
Setting (Place): Odysseus’s wanderings cover the Aegean and surrounding seas and
eventually end in Ithaca, in northwestern Greece; Telemachus travels from Ithaca to
southern Greece.
Protagonist: Odysseus
Major Conflict: Odysseus must return home and vanquish the suitors who threaten his
estate; Telemachus must mature and secure his own reputation in Greek society.
Rising Action: The return of Odysseus to Ithaca; the return of Telemachus to Ithaca;
their entrance into the palace; the abuse Odysseus receives; the various omens; the
hiding of the arms and locking of the palace doors; Penelope’s challenge to the suitors;
the stringing of the bow
Climax: The beginning of Book 22, when the beggar in the palace reveals his true
identity as Odysseus
Falling Action: Odysseus and Telemachus fight and kill the suitors; they put to death the
suitors’ allies among the palace servants.
Themes: The power of cunning over strength; the pitfalls of temptation; the tension
between goals and obstacles; the misery of separation; maturation as a journey
Motifs: Disguises; storytelling; seductresses
Symbols: Food; the wedding bed; the great bow; symbols of temptation (Circe, the
lotus, the Sirens’ song, the cattle of the Sun)
Foreshadowing: Agamemnon’s fate at the hands of his wife and his vindication by his
son foreshadow the domestic troubles and triumphs Odysseus faces when he returns to
Ithaca; Odysseus is nearly recognized by his wife and servants several times in
Books 18–19, foreshadowing the revelation of his identity in Book 22

Ten years have passed since the fall of Troy, and the Greek hero Odysseus still
has not returned to his kingdom in Ithaca. A large and rowdy mob of suitors who have
overrun Odysseus’s palace and pillaged his land continue to court his wife, Penelope.
She has remained faithful to Odysseus. Prince Telemachus, Odysseus’s son, wants
desperately to throw them out but does not have the confidence or experience to fight

them. One of the suitors, Antinous, plans to assassinate the young prince, eliminating
the only opposition to their dominion over the palace. Unknown to the suitors,
Odysseus is still alive. The beautiful nymph Calypso, possessed by love for him, has
imprisoned him on her island, Ogygia. He longs to return to his wife and son, but he has
no ship or crew to help him escape. While the gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus
debate Odysseus’s future, Athena, Odysseus’s strongest supporter among the gods,
resolves to help Telemachus. Disguised as a friend of the prince’s grandfather, Laertes,
she convinces the prince to call a meeting of the assembly at which he reproaches the
suitors. Athena also prepares him for a great journey to Pylos and Sparta, where the
kings Nestor and Menelaus, Odysseus’s companions during the war, inform him that
Odysseus is alive and trapped on Calypso’s island. Telemachus makes plans to return
home, while, back in Ithaca, Antinous and the other suitors prepare an ambush to kill
him when he reaches port.
On Mount Olympus, Zeus sends Hermes to rescue Odysseus from Calypso.
Hermes persuades Calypso to let Odysseus build a ship and leave. The homesick hero
sets sail, but when Poseidon, god of the sea, finds him sailing home, he sends a storm to
wreck Odysseus’s ship. Poseidon has harbored a bitter grudge against Odysseus since
the hero blinded his son, the Cyclops Polyphemus, earlier in his travels. Athena
intervenes to save Odysseus from Poseidon’s wrath, and the beleaguered king lands at
Scheria, home of the Phaeacians. Nausicaa, the Phaeacian princess, shows him to the
royal palace, and Odysseus receives a warm welcome from the king and queen. When
he identifies himself as Odysseus, his hosts, who have heard of his exploits at Troy, are
stunned. They promise to give him safe passage to Ithaca, but first they beg to hear the
story of his adventures.
Odysseus spends the night describing the fantastic chain of events leading up
to his arrival on Calypso’s island. He recounts his trip to the Land of the Lotus Eaters, his
battle with Polyphemus the Cyclops, his love affair with the witch-goddess Circe, his
temptation by the deadly Sirens, his journey into Hades to consult the prophet Tiresias,
and his fight with the sea monster Scylla. When he finishes his story, the Phaeacians
return Odysseus to Ithaca, where he seeks out the hut of his faithful swineherd,
Eumaeus. Though Athena has disguised Odysseus as a beggar, Eumaeus warmly receives
and nourishes him in the hut. He soon encounters Telemachus, who has returned from
Pylos and Sparta despite the suitors’ ambush, and reveals to him his true identity.
Odysseus and Telemachus devise a plan to massacre the suitors and regain control of
When Odysseus arrives at the palace the next day, still disguised as a beggar,
he endures abuse and insults from the suitors. The only person who recognizes him is
his old nurse, Eurycleia, but she swears not to disclose his secret. Penelope takes an
interest in this strange beggar, suspecting that he might be her long-lost husband. Quite
crafty herself, Penelope organizes an archery contest the following day and promises to
marry any man who can string Odysseus’s great bow and fire an arrow through a row of
twelve axes— a feat that only Odysseus has ever been able to accomplish. At the
contest, each suitor tries to string the bow and fails. Odysseus steps up to the bow and,
with little effort, fires an arrow through all twelve axes. He then turns the bow on the
suitors. He and Telemachus, assisted by a few faithful servants, kill every last suitor.
Odysseus reveals himself to the entire palace and reunites with his loving
Penelope. He travels to the outskirts of Ithaca to see his aging father, Laertes. They
come under attack from the vengeful family members of the dead suitors, but Laertes,
reinvigorated by his son’s return, successfully kills Antinous’s father and puts a stop to
the attack. Zeus dispatches Athena to restore peace. With his power secure and his
family reunited, Odysseus’s long ordeal comes to an end.

Odysseus - The protagonist of the Odyssey
Telemachus - Odysseus’s son
Penelope - wife of Odysseus and mother of Telemachus
Athena - Daughter of Zeus and goddess of Wisdom
Poseidon - God of the Sea
Zeus - King of Gods and men
Antinous - The most arrogant of Penelope’s suitors
Eurymachus - a manipulative, deceitful suitor
Amphinomus - the most decent man seeking Penelope’s hand in marriage.
Eumaeus - the loyal shepered
Eurycleia - the aged and loyal servant
Melanthius - the brother of Melantho
Melantho - Sister of Melanthius and maidservant in Odysseus’s palace
Calypso - The beautiful nymph who falls in love with Odysseus
Polyphemus - One of the Cyclopes
Circe - The beautiful witch-goddess
Laertes - Odysseus’s aging father
Tiresias - A Theban prophet who inhabits the underworld
Nestor - King of Pylos
Menelaus - King of Sparta
Helen - Wife of Menelaus and queen of Sparta
Agamemnon - Former king of Mycenae, brother of Menelaus
Nausicaa - The beautiful daughter of King Alcinous and Queen Arete of the Phaeacians
Alcinous - King of the Phaeacians
Arete - Queen of the Phaeacians, wife of Alcinous, and mother of Nausicaa

SparkNotes Editors. (2002). SparkNote on The Odyssey. Retrieved December 3, 2012,
from http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/odyssey/

Song of Roland (“Chanson de Roland”) (French)

Charlemagne's army is fighting the Muslims in Spain. The last city standing is Saragossa,
held by the Muslim king Marsilla. Terrified of the might of Charlemagne's army of Franks,
Marsilla sends out messengers to Charlemagne, promising treasure and Marsilla's conversion to
Christianity if the Franks will go back to France. Charlemagne and his men are tired of fighting
and decide to accept this peace offer. They need now to select a messenger to go back to
Marsilla's court. The bold warrior Roland nominates his stepfather Ganelon. Ganelon is enraged;
he fears that he'll die in the hands of the bloodthirsty pagans and suspects that this is just
Roland's intent. He has long hated and envied his stepson, and, riding back to Saragossa with the
Saracen messengers, he finds an opportunity for revenge. He tells the Saracens how they could
ambush the rear guard of Charlemagne's army, which will surely be led by Roland as the Franks
pick their way back to Spain through the mountain passes, and helps the Saracens plan their
Just as the traitor Ganelon predicted, Roland gallantly volunteers to lead the rear guard.
The wise and moderate Olivier and the fierce archbishop Turpin are among the men Roland picks
to join him. Pagans ambush them at Roncesvals, according to plan; the Christians are
overwhelmed by their sheer numbers. Seeing how badly outnumbered they are, Olivier asks
Roland to blow on his Oliphant, his horn made out of an elephant tusk, to call for help from the
main body of the Frankish army. Roland proudly refuses to do so, claiming that they need no
help, that the rear guard can easily take on the pagan hordes. While the Franks fight
magnificently, there's no way they can continue to hold off against the Saracens, and the battle
begins to turn clearly against them. Almost all his men are dead and Roland knows that it's now
too late for Charlemagne and his troops to save them, but he blows his Oliphant anyway, so that
the emperor can see what happened to his men and avenge them. Roland blows so hard that his
temples burst. He dies a glorious martyr's death, and saints take his soul straight to Paradise.
When Charlemagne and his men reach the battlefield, they find only dead bodies. The
pagans have fled, but the Franks pursue them, chasing them into the river Ebro, where they all
drown. Meanwhile, the powerful emir of Babylon, Baligant, has arrived in Spain to help his vassal
Marsilla fend off the Frankish threat. Baligant and his enormous Muslim army ride after
Charlemagne and his Christian army, meeting them on the battlefield at Roncesvals, where the
Christians are burying and mourning their dead. Both sides fight valiantly. But when Charlemagne
kills Baligant, all the pagan army scatter and flee. Now Saragossa has no defenders left; the
Franks take the city. With Marsilla's wife Bramimonde, Charlemagne and his men ride back to
Aix, their capital in sweet France.
The Franks discovered Ganelon's betrayal some time ago and keep him in chains until it
is time for his trial. Ganelon argues that his action was legitimate revenge, openly proclaimed,
not treason. While the council of barons, which Charlemagne gathered to decide the traitor's
fate is initially swayed by this claim, one man, Thierry, argues that, because Roland was serving
Charlemagne when Ganelon delivered his revenge on him, Ganelon's action constitutes a
betrayal of the emperor. Ganelon's friend Pinabel challenges Thierry to trial by combat; the two
will fight a duel to see who's right. By divine intervention, Thierry, the weaker man, wins, killing
Pinabel. The Franks are convinced by this of Ganelon's villainy and sentence him to a most
painful death. The traitor is torn limb from limb by galloping horses and thirty of his relatives are
hung for good measure.

On the afternoon of August 15, 778, the rear guard of Charlemagne's army was
massacred at Roncesvals, in the mountains between France and Spain. Einhard, Charlemagne's
contemporary biographer, sets forth the incident as follows in his Life of Charlemagne:
While the war with the Saxons was being fought incessantly and almost continuously,
[Charlemagne] stationed garrisons at suitable places along the frontier and attacked Spain with
the largest military force he could muster; he crossed the Pyrenees, accepted the surrender of all
the towns and fortresses he attacked, and returned with his army safe and sound, except that he
experienced a minor setback caused by Gascon treachery on returning through the passes of the
Pyrenees. For while his army was stretched out in a long column, as the terrain and the narrow
defiles dictated, the Gascons set an ambush above them on the mountaintops—an ideal spot for
an ambush, due to the dense woods throughout the area—and rushing down into the valley, fell
upon the end of the baggage train and the rear guard who served as protection for those in
advance, and in the ensuing battle killed them to the last man, then seized the baggage, and
under the cover of night, which was already falling, dispersed as quickly as possible. The Gascons
were aided in this feat by the lightness of their armor and by the lay of the land where the action
took place, whereas the Franks were hindered greatly by their heavy armor and the terrain. In
this battle Eggihard, the surveyor of the royal table; Anselm, the count of the palace; and Roland,
prefect of the Breton Marches, were killed, together with many others. Nor could revenge be
taken at the moment, for as soon as the act had been done, the enemy scattered so completely
that no trace of them was left behind.
To make sense of his excursions into Spain, we must know that Charlemagne (742?-
814), king of the Franks, was a committed, militant Christian. A loyal ally of the pope and a great
conqueror, he forced conversions as he expanded the boundaries of his empire outward from his
central territory, straddling present-day France and Germany. In 800 he was crowned emperor
by the pope, legitimizing his rule over the former Roman empire in western Europe. While Spain
was at this time an extremely prosperous, even splendid, Muslim state, European Christianity
was rather fragile. Many of the tribes of Europe were pagan, Islam was expanding with
phenomenal rapidity, and Spain in particular, at the southern borders of Charlemagne's land,
represented just how precarious was Christianity's hold. In 778 Charlemagne invaded Spain,
trying to take advantage of skirmishes between the Muslim rulers, but was repulsed at
Saragossa. Later on, in 801, decades after the disaster at Roncesvals, vassals of Charlemagne
were able to capture Barcelona and establish a frontier just beyond the Pyrenees. They never,
however, got more than this slender foothold on the peninsula. (For more information, see the
section on Charlemagne in the Early Middle Ages Spark Note.)
In the reliable chronicles, Roland and the Roncesvals massacre get only a brief mention.
Perhaps, as some have suggested, the massacre really was a very bad blow to Charlemagne's
empire, instead of the "minor setback" described by Einhard, and perhaps Roland was in fact
much more than an ordinary "prefect of the Breton Marches"; perhaps, as Charlemagne's official
historian, Einhard was trying to make an embarrassing defeat and a painful loss sound less grave
than they were. We do not know. In any case, the story told in The Song of Roland has some
connection to the history of Charlemagne's failed conquest of Spain in 778, but this connection is
rather loose. Most of the story is doubtless just a story, without historical basis. The Song of
Roland is not a history book, but an epic poem which takes all sorts of liberties, making vivid
heroes out of dusty names, making adversaries into the most revolting of villains, and throwing
on all alike an air of grandeur. It does not give us facts—any quick comparison shows that it
contradicts the records of history in a thousand places—but instead legend.
While this epic isn't history in the same way that even Einhard's very biased chronicle,
for instance, is, it uses history to great effect. We cannot say for certain who wrote The Song of
Roland, or when, or where, but evidence suggests that it was composed around the beginning of
the twelfth century, centuries after Charlemagne's reign. This was the time of the First Crusade

against the Muslims in the Holy Land, directly inspired by Pope Urban II's famous speech at the
Council of Clermont in 1095. Urban exhorted all Christendom to fight for the Sepulcher,
promising that such war was holy and that fighting in it counted as full penance. It is probable
that the Song of Roland was written after this speech, for before this Turpin's militant theology
would likely have been considered heretical. The Song of Roland, born during this time, serves
the Crusades as a powerful piece of propaganda. It must be remembered that political and
ideological motivations do not affect a poem's stature as a poem; The Song of Roland is certainly
propaganda, but it does not therefore follow that it is "mere propaganda." Most works of art
contain ideological or political elements, or at least make ideological or political assumptions;
what ultimately distinguishes "mere propaganda" from real art is not political content, but
aesthetic success. And by that standard, The Song of Roland deserves its place in the canon of
medieval literature.
By the time that the The Song of Roland was written, more than three centuries after
the events it recounts, Charlemagne had become a superhuman figure in the European
imagination and a hero of romance; the stories of his exploits assumed the proportions of the
fantastic. He provides an ideal base on which to build enthusiasm for the Crusades. While no one
thought of going on a Crusade until centuries after his death, his figure as both a man of God,
beatified and in some churches honored as a saint—he was thought to have been in
communication with the angels and the direct instrument of God's will on earth—and as fierce a
warrior as any made his image an excellent symbol for the spirit of the Crusades. The bits of
history that find their way into the Song of Roland are remolded to fit the crusaders' world-view.
The massacre at Roncesvals becomes much more than a mishap; it becomes a drama of good
and evil, a demonstration of the wickedness of betraying the Christian cause. While in Einhard's
chronicle, the Frankish soldiers are ambushed by Gascons, a group of Christians hostile to
Charles's empire, in The Song of Roland, they are ambushed by Saracens, the medieval European
term for Arabs, and, by extension, all Muslims. This helps the crusaders of the twelfth century all
the more easily see the situation of the Franks in The Song of Roland as applicable to their own.
Charlemagne's conquest of Spain becomes a model for their own conquest of the Middle East.
Roland, Turpin, and Olivier become their own glorious forefathers, demonstrating the ideal of
the holy warrior, who serves God and his king with the same fierce loyalty; the portrayal of the
Saracens, on the other hand, demonstrates the blatant evil of the Muslims, the enemy they will
meet and fight in the Middle East. The final product of the epic poem has everything to do with
the needs of the twelfth century and very little to do with the events of the eighth century;
however, one of the needs of the men of the twelfth century was to find a heroic model for their
own mission in the past.

Charlemagne - Historically, Charlemagne (742?-814), was king of the Franks and a committed,
militant Christian. A loyal ally of the pope and a great conqueror, he forced conversions as he
expanded the boundaries of his empire outward from his central territory, straddling present-day
France and Germany. In 800 he was crowned emperor by the pope, legitimizing his rule over the
former Roman empire in western Europe. After his death, he became legendary; it is this
legendary Charlemagne, the most perfect Christian king, symbol of the spirit of the Crusades, and
favorite of heaven, who is presented in The Song of Roland as leader of the Frankish troops and
Roland's uncle and avenger. His name means literally, "Charles the Great."
Roland - Roland is only mentioned in passing in the historical records, as the prefect of the
Breton Marches, among those who fell at Roncesvals. In The Song of Roland, however, he is the
hero. He is one of the twelve peers of France, Charlemagne's nephew and favorite, a skillful and
extremely bold warrior and understands the Frankish campaign in Spain as a crusade, allowing no
compromise with the Saracens. His sometimes showy boldness and his great popularity among

the Franks and success on the battlefield arouse the venomous resentment of his stepfather,
Ganelon, who arranges with the Saracens the ambush at Roncesvals. He dies a martyr's death at
Roncesvals and is directly taken up to Paradise by saints and angels. The rest of the poem
recounts how Charlemagne avenges his death.
Olivier - A gallant warrior, one of the twelve peers of France, and Roland's best friend, Olivier is
the protagonist's foil, setting off Roland's daring with his own prudence: "Roland is bold, Olivier is
wise, and both of them are marvelously brave" (87.1093-1094). At Roncesvals, Olivier sees how
the Franks will be overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of the Saracens and urges Roland to blow
his oliphant and call back to Charlemagne for aid. Roland is too proud to do so, angering Olivier,
but the two end their quarrel before dying, remaining the greatest and most tender of
companions. Olivier, along with Roland and Turpin, is taken back to France for burial by
Charlemagne's men.
Turpin - The archbishop Turpin, who fights and dies alongside Roland at Roncesvals, represents
Christendom's turn towards militant activity at the time of the Crusades. The way he battles
against the pagans reflects the views put forth in Pope Urban II's famous speech at the Council of
Clermont in 1095, the direct inspiration for the First Crusade. He is a stout and valiant warrior—
"[n]o tonsured priest who ever sang a mass/performed such feats of prowess with his body"
(121.1606-1607). He is the last to die besides Roland; when he sees Roland faint, Turpin tenderly
sets out for a stream to fetch some water for his dear comrade, but, mortally wounded, he falls
down dead before reaching the water. Along with Olivier and Roland, he is taken by
Charlemagne's men back to France for burial.
Ganelon - Ganelon is a well-respected Frankish baron and Roland's stepfather. He resents his
stepson's boastfulness and great popularity among the Franks and success on the battlefield.
When Roland nominates him as messenger to the Saracens, Ganelon is so deeply offended that
he vows vengeance. This vengeance becomes treachery as Ganelon plots with the pagan
Blancandrin the ambush at Roncesvals. At the end, justice is served when Ganelon's comrade
Pinabel is defeated in a trial-by-combat, showing that Ganelon is a traitor in the eyes of God.
Thus Ganelon is torn limb from limb by four fiery horses.
Thierry - Thierry is the single dissenting voice at the council of barons convened to judge
Ganelon. While the others urge that Ganelon be acquitted and allowed to continue serving
Charlemagne, Thierry argues that, because Roland should have been immune from personal
attacks while he was in Charlemagne's service, Ganelon's action was not private vengeance but a
betrayal of the emperor. Ganelon's friend Pinabel then challenges him to trial-by-combat.
Pinabel is the mightier warrior, but God intervenes to allow Thierry victory. From this proof of
God's judgment of the matter, the Franks realize that Ganelon is the basest traitor and kill him.
Pinabel - Ganelon's closest companion and a mighty and eloquent Frankish baron, Pinabel
defends Ganelon at his trial. He at first convinces Charlemagne's council of barons to let Ganelon
live, but he is challenged by Thierry, and killed by the weaker man in trial-by-combat, thus
showing with whom God's favor lies. Pinabel's thirty kinsmen who, according to the protocol of
such things, volunteer to be hostages to ensure that Pinabel will show up at the appointed time
and place and conduct himself properly during the battle are rather gratuitously hung at the end
of the poem.
Naimes - The chronicles say nothing about Duke Naimes other than that he was a Gascon lord
who paid homage to Charlemagne, but he became known as a wise advisor in medieval legends.
He is prudent and loyal, but his prudence sometimes leads him astray, as when he urges
moderation and mercy toward Marsilla. He is less under the sway of his passions than
Charlemagne or any of the rest of Charlemagne's barons; when the Franks weep and faint upon
seeing the carnage at Roncesvals, "Naimes profoundly pities all of them" (177.2417). He fights
nobly in the battle against Baligant's army.

Oger - The Danish count Oger is one of Charlemagne's fiercest and most reliable vassals.
Gautier - Count Gautier of Hum is among the twelve barons Roland picks for his rear guard.
Gautier is to lead a thousand Franks in scouting around the hilltops and ravines around the pass.
He is the third to last to perish at Roncesvals, just before Turpin and Roland.
Basan and Basil - Some time earlier on in Charlemagne's Spanish campaign than the point at
which The Song of Roland begins, Marsilla had sent an embassy of pagans carrying olive branches
over to Charlemagne with a peace offer. Charlemagne then sent two of his counts, Basan and
Basil, over to the pagans to negotiate and the pagans chopped off their heads. Roland reminds
the king of this incident when urging him not to pay any attention to Marsilla's later offer of
peace; Ganelon too remembers the two ill-fated messengers when he takes such offense at
Roland nominating him as an envoy.
Alde - Alde the Beautiful is Olivier's sister and Roland's betrothed. She dies of grief the moment
she hears of Roland's death.
Baligant - At the beginning of Charlemagne's campaign in Spain, Marsilla sends for help from
Baligant, the emir of Babylon and the noblest that Islam has to offer. Years later, Baligant finally
arrives with an enormous army and sets out to give Charlemagne battle. Charlemagne and he are
evenly matched as far as skill and strength go, but, because of a light touch of angelic
intervention, Charlemagne is able to kill Baligant, thus avenging Roland and conquering Spain at
a stroke.
Marsilla - Marsilla is the pagan king of Saragossa, the last Spanish city to hold out against the
Frankish army. His vassal Blancandrin plans with Ganelon the ambush at Roncesvals and death of
Roland. While Roland does die that day, he brings a handsome price beforehand, chopping off
Marsilla's right hand. Badly weakened by this wound, Marsilla dies of grief when he hears of
Baligant's defeat. Marsilla's queen, Bramimonde, is later taken to Aix and converts to Christianity.
Bramimonde - Marsilla's queen Bramimonde falls into a deep despair and feels utterly disgraced
after her husband's defeat by the Franks. She begins to curse the Saracen gods for not having
helped Marsilla and his men on the battlefield and loses faith in Islam. When the Franks take
Saragossa, Charlemagne decides to bring her back to Aix to convert her to Christianity, which she
does by true conviction. She is baptized Juliana.
Blancandrin - The shrewd pagan Blancandrin is one of Marsilla's most useful vassals. He suggests
that they offer treasure, hostages, and a deceitful promise to Charlemagne that Marsilla will
come to Aix and convert to Christianity to save their honor and lands from the great Frankish
army. Marsilla picks him to deliver the peace offer to the Franks. He and the Frank Ganelon then
plot together the ambush at Roncesvals and death of Roland.
Aelroth - Aelroth is Marsilla's fiery nephew and leads the Saracen ambush squad along with a
dozen Muslim lords, paralleling the leadership of the Frankish rear guard by Charlemagne's
nephew Roland and the twelve peers. Fittingly, he is killed by Roland at Roncesvals.
Falsaron - One of the twelve Saracen lords picked to battle the twelve Frankish peers at
Roncesvals, Falsaron is Marsilla's brother. His forehead, we are told, is "a half-foot wide"
(94.1218). He is soon killed by Olivier.
Corsablis - King Corsablis from Barbary is an evil magician and one of the twelve Saracen lords
picked to battle the twelve Frankish peers at Roncesvals. He is soon killed by Turpin. The
implication that this expert in black magic is the Islamic equivalent of the archbishop is typical of
the way that Muslims are depicted in The Song of Roland.
Margariz - Margariz of Seville is "loved by all the ladies, he's so handsome; / not one can look his
way without a glow, / nor, looking at him, keep herself from giggling" (77.957-959). He is one of

the twelve Saracen lords picked to battle the twelve Frankish peers at Roncesvals. There he gives
Olivier a good blow, but God protects Olivier from being wounded by it.
Jurfaleu - Marsilla’s only son, Jurfaleu the Blond, is killed at Roncesvals; his head is chopped off
by Roland.

SparkNotes Editors. (n.d.). SparkNote on Song of Roland. Retrieved December 8, 2012, from

Divina Commedia (Italian)

The Divine Comedy (Italian: Divina Commedia) is the title usually employed to
designate an epic poem written by Dante Alighieri between 1308 and his death in 1321; the
author's own title for the work was simply "Comedìa". The epithet Divina was later applied to it
by Giovanni Boccaccio, and the first printed edition to add the word divine to the title was that of
the Venetian humanist Lodovico Dolce, published in 1555 by Gabriele Giolito de' Ferrari. It is
widely considered the preeminent work of Italian literature, and is seen as one of the greatest
works of world literature. The poem's imaginative and allegorical vision of the afterlife is a
culmination of the medieval world-view as it had developed in the Western Church. It helped
establish the Tuscan dialect, in which it is written, as the standardized Italian language. It is
divided into three parts: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso.


The Divine Comedy is composed of 14,233 lines that are divided into three canticas
(cantiche)—Inferno (Hell), Purgatorio (Purgatory), and Paradiso (Paradise)—each consisting of
33 cantos (Ital. pl. canti). An initial canto serves as an introduction to the poem and is generally
considered to be part of the first cantica, bringing the total number of cantos to 100. The poem is
written in the first person, and tells of Dante's journey through the three realms of the dead,
lasting from the night before Good Friday to the Wednesday after Easter in the spring of 1300.
The Roman poet Virgil guides him through Hell and Purgatory and Beatrice, Dante's ideal
woman, guides him through Heaven.

The poem begins on the night before Good Friday in the year 1300, "halfway along our
life's path" (Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita). Dante is thirty-five years old, half of the biblical
life expectancy of 70 (Psalms 89:10, Vulgate), lost in a dark wood assailed by beasts (a lion,
a leopard, and a she-wolf) he cannot evade, and unable to find the "straight way" (diritta via) –
also translatable as "right way" – to salvation (symbolized by the sun behind the mountain).
Conscious that he is ruining himself and that he is falling into a "deep place" (basso loco) where
the sun is silent ('l sol tace), Dante is at last rescued by Virgil, and the two of them begin their
journey to the underworld. Each sin's punishment in Inferno is a contrapasso, a symbolic instance
of poetic justice; for example, fortune-tellers have to walk with their heads on backwards, unable
to see what is ahead, because that was what they had tried to do in life.

Having survived the depths of Hell, Dante and Virgil ascend out of the under gloom, to
the Mountain of Purgatory on the far side of the world. The Mountain is on an island, the only
land in the Southern Hemisphere, created by the displacement of rock which resulted when
Satan's fall created Hell (which Dante portrays as existing underneath Jerusalem). The mountain

has seven terraces, corresponding to the seven deadly sins or "seven roots of sinfulness." The
classification of sin here is more psychological than that of the Inferno, being based on motives,
rather than actions. It is also drawn primarily from Christian theology, rather than from classical
sources. However, Dante's illustrative examples of sin and virtue draw on classical sources as well
as on the Bible and on contemporary events.

After an initial ascension, Beatrice guides Dante through the nine celestial spheres of
Heaven. These are concentric and spherical, as in Aristotelian and Ptolemaic cosmology. While
the structures of the Inferno and Purgatorio were based on different classifications of sin, the
structure of the Paradiso is based on the four cardinal virtues and the three theological virtues.
Dante meets and converses with several great saints of the Church, including Thomas Aquinas,
Bonaventure, Saint Peter, and St. John. The Paradiso is consequently more theological in nature
than the Inferno and the Purgatorio. However, Dante admits the vision of heaven he receives is
the one that his human eyes permit him to see, and the vision of heaven found in the Cantos is
Dante's own personal one. The Divine Comedy finishes with Dante seeing the Triune God. In a
flash of understanding, which he cannot express, Dante finally understands the mystery of
Christ's divinity and humanity, and his soul becomes aligned with God's love.

Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_Comedy on December 8, 2012 at time 6:00

The Canterbury Tales (English) – Wife of Bath’s Tale / Pardoner’s Tale

Full Title: The Canterbury Tales
Author: Geoffrey Chaucer
Type of Work: Poetry (two tales are in prose: the Tale of Melibee and the Parson’s Tale)
Genres: Narrative collection of poems; character portraits; parody; estates satire;
romance; fabliau
Language: Middle English
Time and Place Written: Around 1386–1395, England
Date of First Publication: Sometime in the early fifteenth century
Publisher: Originally circulated in hand-copied manuscripts
Narrator: The primary narrator is an anonymous, naïve member of the pilgrimage, who
is not described. The other pilgrims narrate most of the tales.
Point Of View: In the General Prologue, the narrator speaks in the first person,
describing each of the pilgrims as they appeared to him. Though narrated by different
pilgrims, each of the tales is told from an omniscient third-person point of view,
providing the reader with the thoughts as well as actions of the characters.
Tone: The Canterbury Tales incorporates an impressive range of attitudes toward life
and literature. The tales are by turns satirical, elevated, pious, earthy, bawdy, and
comical. The reader should not accept the naïve narrator’s point of view as Chaucer’s.
Tense: Past

Setting (Time): The late fourteenth century, after 1381
Setting (Place): The Tabard Inn; the road to Canterbury
Protagonists: Each individual tale has protagonists, but Chaucer’s plan is to make none
of his storytellers superior to others; it is an equal company. In the Knight’s Tale, the
protagonists are Palamon and Arcite; in the Miller’s Tale, Nicholas and Alisoun; in the
Wife of Bath’s Tale, the errant knight and the loathsome hag; in the Nun’s Priest’s Tale,
the rooster Chanticleer.
Major Conflict: The struggles between characters, manifested in the links between
tales, mostly involve clashes between social classes, differing tastes, and competing
professions. There are also clashes between the sexes, and there is resistance to the
Host’s somewhat tyrannical leadership.
Rising Action: As he sets off on a pilgrimage to Canterbury, the narrator encounters a
group of other pilgrims and joins them. That night, the Host of the tavern where the
pilgrims are staying presents them with a storytelling challenge and appoints himself
judge of the competition and leader of the company.


In a land populated by fairies and elves, in the days of King Arthur, a young
knight rapes a maiden he sees walking from the river one day. For his offense, Queen
Guinevere and her ladies rule that his punishment is to find out within one year what
women most desire, or else he'll be beheaded.
The knight departs on his quest to find the answer to this question, but despite
questioning women all over the land and receiving numerous answers, he cannot find
two women who agree on what women most desire.
After a year, the knight returns to King Arthur's court with a heavy heart, no
closer to knowing what women most desire. On the way, he comes across a ring of 24
fairy ladies dancing. The fairies quickly disappear, only to be replaced by an ugly old hag.
Upon learning of his quest, the hag agrees to tell the knight what women most desire if
he promises to grant her anything she desires. The knight agrees.
The hag tells the knight what women most desire – to have sovereignty over
their husbands and lovers. The queen and all the ladies assemble agree that he is
correct. As the court is adjourning, the hag petitions the queen to force the knight to
fulfill his promise to her: she wants the knight to marry her. Despite the knight's
reluctance, the queen insists that he must do so, and the
knight and hag are married.
On their wedding knight, the knight doesn't want to consummate the marriage.
The hag asks what ails him, and he tells her that she is so ugly, old, and low-class that it's
no wonder he does not desire her. This prompts a long speech from the hag on the true
origins of gentility, and the advantages of poverty and old age. The hag concludes her
speech by offering the knight a choice: either he can have her old and ugly, but a good
and faithful wife, or he can have her young and beautiful, but with no guarantee of
these other good qualities. The knight turns the decision over to his wife, asking her to
make the choice.
Once the hag has confirmed that her husband has yielded sovereignty to her,
she tells him that she will be both: young and beautiful, and a faithful, good wife to him.
The knight takes his young, beautiful wife in his arms and they live happily ever after.

The wife is not only faithful and good, but also obedient to her husband for the rest of
their lives together.
The Wife concludes her story by praying Jesus to send women "housbondes
meke, yonge, and fresshe a-bedde / and grace to'overbyde hem that we wedde" (1265-
1266). She also calls down a curse on husbands who refuse to be ruled by their wives.


There once lived in Flanders a company of three rioters who did nothing but
engage in irresponsible and sinful behavior. At this point, the narrator interrupts the tale
itself to launch a lengthy diatribe against drunkenness - mentioning Herod, Seneca,
Adam, Sampson, Attila the Hun and St. Paul as either sources or famed drunkards. This
in turn oddly becomes a diatribe against people whose stomachs are their gods (their
end, we are told, is death), and then a diatribe against the stomach, called, at one point
a “stynkyng cod, fulfilled of dong and of corrupcioun” (a stinking bag, full of dung and
decayed matter). This distraction from the story itself ends with an attack on dice-
playing (dice here called “bicched bones”, or cursed dice).
The three drunkards were in a tavern one night, and, hearing a bell ring, looked
outside to see men carrying a corpse to its grave. One of them called to his slave to go
and ask who the corpse was: he was told by a boy that the corpse was an old fellow
whose heart was smashed in two by a secret thief called Death. This drunkard agreed,
and discussed with his companions how this “Death” had indeed slain many people, of
all ranks, of both sexes, that very year. The three then made a vow (by “Goddes digne
bones”) to find Death and slay him.
When they had gone not even half a mile, they met an old, poor man at a style,
who greeted them courteously. The proudest of the drunkards responded rudely, asking
the man why he was still alive at such a ripe age. The old man answered that he was
alive, because he could not find anyone who would exchange their youth for his age -
and, although he knocked on the ground, begging it to let him in, he still did not die.
Moreover, the old man added, it was not courteous of the drunkards to speak so rudely
to an old man.
One of the other drunkards responded still more rudely that the old man was to tell
them where Death was, or regret not telling them dearly. The old man, still polite, told
the drunkards they could find Death up the crooked way and underneath an oak tree.
The drunkards ran until they came to the tree, and, underneath it, they found
eight bushels of gold coins. The worst one of them spoke first, arguing that Fortune had
given them the treasure to live their life in happiness - but realizing that they could not
carry the gold home without people seeing them and thinking them thieves. Therefore,
he suggested, they should draw lots, and one of them should run back to the town to
fetch bread and wine, while the other two protected the treasure. Then, at night, they
could agree where to take the treasure and carry it safety. This was agreed, and lots
were drawn: the youngest of them was picked to go to the town.
However, as soon as he had gone to the town, the two remaining drunkards
plotted amongst themselves to stab him upon his return, and then split the gold
between them. While he was in the town, the youngest thought of the beauty of the
gold coins, and decided to buy some poison in order to kill the other two, keeping the
gold for himself. Thus, he went to an apothecary, bought some “strong and violent”
poison, poured it into two of three wine bottles (the third was for him to drink from),
topped them up with wine, and returned to his fellows.

Exactly as the other two had planned it, it befell. They killed him on his return,
and sat down to enjoy the wine before burying his body – and, as it happened, drank
the poison and died. The tale ends with a short sermon against sin, asking God to forgive
the trespass of good men, and warning them against the sin of avarice, before (this, we
can presume narrated in the Pardoner’s voice) inviting the congregation to “come up”
and offer their wool in return for pardons.
The tale finished, the Pardoner suddenly remembers that he has forgotten one
thing - that he is carrying relics and pardons in his “male” (pouch, bag) and begins to
invite the pilgrims forward to receive pardon, inciting the Host to be the first to receive
his pardon. “Unbokele anon thy purs”, he says to the Host, who responds that the
Pardoner is trying to make him kiss “thyn old breech” (your old pants), swearing it is a
relic, when actually it is just painted with his shit. I wish, the Host says, I had your
“coillons” (testicles) in my hand, to shrine them in a hog’s turd.
The Pardoner is so angry with this response, he cannot speak a word, and, just
in time, the Knight steps in, bringing the Pardoner and the Host together and making
them again friends. This done, the company continues on its way.

Shmoop Editorial Team. (November 11, 2008).The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's
Tale Summary. Retrieved December 5, 2012, from http://www.shmoop.com/the-wife-

SparkNotes Editors. (2003). SparkNote on The Canterbury Tales. Retrieved December 3,

2012, from http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/canterbury

GradeSaver. The Canterbury Tales: The Pardoner’s Tale Summary.

Retrieved December 9, 2012, from http://www.gradesaver.com/the-canterbury-

El Cid Campeador (Spanish)

The hero of El Cid is a Castilian soldier, Rodrigo Dias de Bivar, who is known by
the Arabic title of Sidi or El Cid. The poem begins with the exile of the Cid as a result of
intrigues and slander by means of which an enemy, Count Garcia Ordonez, turns the
king against him. He leaves his wife and two daughters in a monastery. To raise money
he tricks two Jews of Burgos by selling them a chest which he claims to be full of gold
and jewels but which in reality is filled with sand.
He sets out with three hundred faithful followers to gain his living in the small
Moorish state of Aragon. Here he prospers well. He wins battle after battle and
accumulates booty and ransom from the Moors. His fame attracts more followers, and
with his invincible army he even defeats in battle the powerful count of Barcelona and
acquires the great city of Valencia. He sends for his wife and daughters. His wealth and
fame return him into King Alfonso’s favor.
The king offers to marry his two daughters to two noblemen (ricos hombres),
the Infantes de Carreon, relatives of his old enemy, Count Garcia Ordonez, to which the

Cid agrees. His sons-in-law are proud and insolent and marry his daughters (whom they
consider beneath their rank) only because of the wealthy dowry the Cid gives them.
After the marriage, the Infantes obtain permission from the Cid to take their
wives home; but away from the Cid, the bridegrooms strip their bodies naked, beat
them, and run away with their dowries. They leave their young wives in the depth of the
The Cid appeals to King Alfonso for justice. The king summons a court at Toledo
and the cid appears before it. He demands the return of his two famous swords which
the Infantes have taken. The request is granted. He demands the restoration of his
daughters’ dowries. This is also granted. The third demand is the right to defend his
honor by fighting the two Infantes in a single combat. While the court debates this
request, two messengers arrive from the King of Aragon and the king of Navarre
requesting the hands of his daughters in marriage. The Cid’s two nephews, who are
present, challenge the Infantes de Carreon in single combat. The story ends with the
defeat of the Infantes and the complete restoration of the Cid’s wealth and honor.

The story is about how someone must fight for his honor. We must fight for our own
rights. And why is that? Because the life you are having is yours and you are responsible
of it. That’s the only one that the epic wants to emphasize. And of course, never give up
for yourself not only in protecting it but also enhancing, raising and developing it.

https://sites.google.com/site/sirrheynanong/useful-links Tuesday Dec. 11, 2012 (12:30)

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (English)

Full Title: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Author: Anonymous; referred to as the Gawain-poet or the Pearl-poet
Type of Work: Alliterative poem
Genre: Romance, Arthurian legend
Language: Middle English (translated into modern English)
Time and Place Written: Ca. 1340–1400, West Midlands, England
Point Of View: The Gawain-poet tells the story mainly from Gawain’s point of view.
However, he also occasionally narrates moments that happen outside the scope of
Gawain’s direct experience, most notably the host’s daily hunts.
Tense: Past; some commentaries on the action in the present tense
Setting (Time): The mythical past of King Arthur’s court (sometime after Rome’s fall, but
before recorded history)
Settings (Place): Camelot; the wilderness; Bertilak’s castle; the Green Chapel
Protagonist: Sir Gawain

Themes: The nature of chivalry; the letter of the law
Motifs: The seasons; games
Symbols: The pentangle; the green girdle

During a New Year’s Eve feast at King Arthur’s court, a strange figure, referred
to only as the Green Knight, pays the court an unexpected visit. He challenges the
group’s leader or any other brave representative to a game. The Green Knight says that
he will allow whomever accepts the challenge to strike him with his own axe, on the
condition that the challenger find him in exactly one year to receive a blow in return.
Stunned, Arthur hesitates to respond, but when the Green Knight mocks
Arthur’s silence, the king steps forward to take the challenge. As soon as Arthur grips
the Green Knight’s axe, Sir Gawain leaps up and asks to take the challenge himself. He
takes hold of the axe and, in one deadly blow, cuts off the knight’s head. To the
amazement of the court, the now-headless Green Knight picks up his severed head.
Before riding away, the head reiterates the terms of the pact, reminding the young
Gawain to seek him in a year and a day at the Green Chapel. After the Green Knight
leaves, the company goes back to its festival, but Gawain is uneasy.
Time passes, and autumn arrives. On the Day of All Saints, Gawain prepares to
leave Camelot and find the Green Knight. He puts on his best armor, mounts his horse,
Gringolet, and starts off toward North Wales, traveling through the wilderness of
northwest Britain. Gawain encounters all sorts of beasts, suffers from hunger and cold,
and grows more desperate as the days pass. On Christmas Day, he prays to find a place
to hear Mass, then looks up to see a castle shimmering in the distance. The lord of the
castle welcomes Gawain warmly, introducing him to his lady and to the old woman who
sits beside her. For sport, the host (whose name is later revealed to be Bertilak) strikes a
deal with Gawain: the host will go out hunting with his men every day, and when he
returns in the evening, he will exchange his winnings for anything Gawain has managed
to acquire by staying behind at the castle. Gawain happily agrees to the pact, and goes
to bed.
The first day, the lord hunts a herd of does, while Gawain sleeps late in his
bedchambers. On the morning of the first day, the lord’s wife sneaks into Gawain’s
chambers and attempts to seduce him. Gawain puts her off, but before she leaves she
steals one kiss from him. That evening, when the host gives Gawain the venison he has
captured, Gawain kisses him, since he has won one kiss from the lady. The second day,
the lord hunts a wild boar. The lady again enters Gawain’s chambers, and this time she
kisses Gawain twice. That evening Gawain gives the host the two kisses in exchange for
the boar’s head.
The third day, the lord hunts a fox, and the lady kisses Gawain three times. She
also asks him for a love token, such as a ring or a glove. Gawain refuses to give her
anything and refuses to take anything from her, until the lady mentions her girdle. The
green silk girdle she wears around her waist is no ordinary piece of cloth, the lady
claims, but possesses the magical ability to protect the person who wears it from death.
Intrigued, Gawain accepts the cloth, but when it comes time to exchange his winnings
with the host, Gawain gives the three kisses but does not mention the lady’s green
girdle. The host gives Gawain the fox skin he won that day, and they all go to bed happy,
but weighed down with the fact that Gawain must leave for the Green Chapel the
following morning to find the Green Knight.

New Year’s Day arrives, and Gawain dons his armor, including the girdle, then
sets off with Gringolet to seek the Green Knight. A guide accompanies him out of the
estate grounds. When they reach the border of the forest, the guide promises not to tell
anyone if Gawain decides to give up the quest. Gawain refuses, determined to meet his
fate head-on. Eventually, he comes to a kind of crevice in a rock, visible through the tall
grasses. He hears the whirring of a grindstone, confirming his suspicion that this strange
cavern is in fact the Green Chapel. Gawain calls out, and the Green Knight emerges to
greet him. Intent on fulfilling the terms of the contract, Gawain presents his neck to the
Green Knight, who proceeds to feign two blows. On the third feint, the Green Knight
nicks Gawain’s neck, barely drawing blood. Angered, Gawain shouts that their contract
has been met, but the Green Knight merely laughs.
The Green Knight reveals his name, Bertilak, and explains that he is the lord of
the castle where Gawain recently stayed. Because Gawain did not honestly exchange all
of his winnings on the third day, Bertilak drew blood on his third blow. Nevertheless,
Gawain has proven himself a worthy knight, without equal in all the land. When Gawain
questions Bertilak further, Bertilak explains that the old woman at the castle is really
Morgan le Faye, Gawain’s aunt and King Arthur’s half sister. She sent the Green Knight
on his original errand and used her magic to change Bertilak’s appearance. Relieved to
be alive but extremely guilty about his sinful failure to tell the whole truth, Gawain
wears the girdle on his arm as a reminder of his own failure. He returns to Arthur’s
court, where all the knights join Gawain, wearing girdles on their arms to show their

Sir Gawain - The story’s protagonist, Arthur’s nephew
Green Knight - A mysterious visitor to Camelot. The Green Knight’s
Bertilak Of Hautdesert - The sturdy, good-natured lord of the castle where Gawain
spends Christmas.
Bertilak’s Wife - Bertilak’s wife attempts to seduce Gawain on a daily basis during his
stay at the castle.
Morgan Le Faye - The Arthurian tradition typically portrays Morgan as a powerful
sorceress, trained by Merlin.
King Arthur - The king of Camelot. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
Queen Guinevere - Arthur’s wife. The beautiful young Guinevere of Sir Gawain and the
Green Knight.
Gringolet - Gawain’s horse.

SparkNotes Editors. (2003). SparkNote on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Retrieved
10, 2012, from http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/gawain/

II. Ancient Literary Masterpieces from the Asian and African Civilization

Epic of Gilgamesh (Mesopotamian)

Full Title: The Epic of Gilgamesh
Author: The ancient authors of the stories that compose the poem are anonymous. The
latest and most complete version yet found, composed no later than around 600 b.c.,
was signed by a Babylonian author and editor who called himself Sin-Leqi-Unninni.
Type of Work: Epic poem
Genre: Heroic quest; heroic epic
Language: Sumerian; Akkadian; Hurrian; Hittite. All these languages were written in
cuneiform script.
Time and Place Written: Between 2700 b.c. and around 600 b.c. in Mesopotamia
(present-day Iraq)
Date Of First Publication: Tablet XI of Gilgamesh was first translated into English and
published in 1872. The first comprehensive scholarly translation to be published in
English was R. Campbell Thompson’s in 1930.
Publisher: The Clarendon Press, Oxford
Narrator: Most of the epic is related by an objective, unnamed narrator.
Point Of View: Third person. After Enkidu appears in Tablet I, most of the story is told
from Gilgamesh’s point of view. Utnapishtim narrates the flood story in Tablet XI.
Tone: The narrator never explicitly criticizes Gilgamesh, who is always described in the
most heroic terms, but his portrayal of him often includes irony. In the first half of the
story, Gilgamesh is heedless of death to the point of rashness, while in the second, he is
obsessed by it to the point of paralysis. Gilgamesh’s anticlimactic meeting with
Utnapishtim, for example, is quietly ironic, in that everyone involved, including
Utnapishtim and his wife, knows more than Gilgamesh does.
Tense: Past
Setting (Time): 2700 b.c.
Setting (Place): Mesopotamia
Protagonist: Gilgamesh, king of Uruk
Major Conflict: Gilgamesh struggles to avoid death.
Rising Action: In the first half of the poem, Gilgamesh bonds with his friend Enkidu and
sets out to make a great name for himself. In doing so, he incurs the wrath of the gods.
Climax: Enkidu dies.
Falling Action: Bereft by the loss of his friend, Gilgamesh becomes obsessed with his
own mortality. He sets out on a quest to find Utnapishtim, the Mesopotamian Noah
who received eternal life from the gods, in the hope that he will tell him how he too can
avoid death.
Themes: Love as a motivating force; the inevitability of death; the gods are dangerous
Motifs: Seductions; doubling and twinship; journeys; baptism

Symbols: Religious symbols; doorways
Foreshadowing: The most important instances of foreshadowing are explicit, because
they come in the form of premonitory dreams. Gilgamesh dreams about a meteor,
which his mother tells him represents the companion he will soon have. Few things,
however, are as ephemeral as a falling star, and already we have a hint of Enkidu’s
eventual fate. Enkidu interprets dreams during their journey to the forbidden forest. In
one a mountain falls on them, which Enkidu says represents the defeat of Humbaba. It
also suggests Enkidu’s journey to the underworld and Gilgamesh’s passage through the
twin-peaked mountain. In another dream, a bull attacks them. Enkidu says the bull is
Humbaba, but it may also be the Bull of Heaven they fight later.

The epic’s prelude offers a general introduction to Gilgamesh, king of Uruk,
who was two-thirds god and one-third man. He built magnificent ziggurats, or temple
towers, surrounded his city with high walls, and laid out its orchards and fields. He was
physically beautiful, immensely strong, and very wise. Although Gilgamesh was godlike
in body and mind, he began his kingship as a cruel despot. He lorded over his subjects,
raping any woman who struck his fancy, whether she was the wife of one of his warriors
or the daughter of a nobleman. He accomplished his building projects with forced labor,
and his exhausted subjects groaned under his oppression. The gods heard his subjects’
pleas and decided to keep Gilgamesh in check by creating a wild man named Enkidu,
who was as magnificent as Gilgamesh. Enkidu became Gilgamesh’s great friend, and
Gilgamesh’s heart was shattered when Enkidu died of an illness inflicted by the gods.
Gilgamesh then traveled to the edge of the world and learned about the days before the
deluge and other secrets of the gods, and he recorded them on stone tablets.
The epic begins with Enkidu. He lives with the animals, suckling at their breasts,
grazing in the meadows, and drinking at their watering places. A hunter discovers him
and sends a temple prostitute into the wilderness to tame him. In that time, people
considered women and sex calming forces that could domesticate wild men like Enkidu
and bring them into the civilized world. When Enkidu sleeps with the woman, the
animals reject him since he is no longer one of them. Now, he is part of the human
world. Then the harlot teaches him everything he needs to know to be a man. Enkidu is
outraged by what he hears about Gilgamesh’s excesses, so he travels to Uruk to
challenge him. When he arrives, Gilgamesh is about to force his way into a bride’s
wedding chamber. Enkidu steps into the doorway and blocks his passage. The two men
wrestle fiercely for a long time, and Gilgamesh finally prevails. After that, they become
friends and set about looking for an adventure to share.
Gilgamesh and Enkidu decide to steal trees from a distant cedar forest
forbidden to mortals. A terrifying demon named Humbaba, the devoted servant of Enlil,
the god of earth, wind, and air, guards it. The two heroes make the perilous journey to
the forest, and, standing side by side, fight with the monster. With assistance from
Shamash the sun god, they kill him. Then they cut down the forbidden trees, fashion the
tallest into an enormous gate, make the rest into a raft, and float on it back to Uruk.
Upon their return, Ishtar, the goddess of love, is overcome with lust for Gilgamesh.
Gilgamesh spurns her. Enraged, the goddess asks her father, Anu, the god of the sky, to
send the Bull of Heaven to punish him. The bull comes down from the sky, bringing with
him seven years of famine. Gilgamesh and Enkidu wrestle with the bull and kill it. The
gods meet in council and agree that one of the two friends must be punished for their
transgression, and they decide Enkidu is going to die. He takes ill, suffers immensely,

and shares his visions of the underworld with Gilgamesh. When he finally dies,
Gilgamesh is heartbroken.
Gilgamesh can’t stop grieving for Enkidu, and he can’t stop brooding about the
prospect of his own death. Exchanging his kingly garments for animal skins as a way of
mourning Enkidu, he sets off into the wilderness, determined to find Utnapishtim, the
Mesopotamian Noah. After the flood, the gods had granted Utnapishtim eternal life,
and Gilgamesh hopes that Utnapishtim can tell him how he might avoid death too.
Gilgamesh’s journey takes him to the twin-peaked mountain called Mashu, where the
sun sets into one side of the mountain at night and rises out of the other side in the
morning. Utnapishtim lives beyond the mountain, but the two scorpion monsters that
guard its entrance refuse to allow Gilgamesh into the tunnel that passes through it.
Gilgamesh pleads with them, and they relent.
After a harrowing passage through total darkness, Gilgamesh emerges into a
beautiful garden by the sea. There he meets Siduri, a veiled tavern keeper, and tells her
about his quest. She warns him that seeking immortality is futile and that he should be
satisfied with the pleasures of this world. However, when she can’t turn him away from
his purpose, she directs him to Urshanabi, the ferryman. Urshanabi takes Gilgamesh on
the boat journey across the sea and through the Waters of Death to Utnapishtim.
Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh the story of the flood—how the gods met in council and
decided to destroy humankind. Ea, the god of wisdom, warned Utnapishtim about the
gods’ plans and told him how to fashion a gigantic boat in which his family and the seed
of every living creature might escape. When the waters finally receded, the gods
regretted what they’d done and agreed that they would never try to destroy humankind
again. Utnapishtim was rewarded with eternal life. Men would die, but humankind
would continue.
When Gilgamesh insists that he be allowed to live forever, Utnapishtim gives
him a test. If you think you can stay alive for eternity, he says, surely you can stay awake
for a week. Gilgamesh tries and immediately fails. So Utnapishtim orders him to clean
himself up, put on his royal garments again, and return to Uruk where he belongs. Just
as Gilgamesh is departing, however, Utnapishtim’s wife convinces him to tell Gilgamesh
about a miraculous plant that restores youth. Gilgamesh finds the plant and takes it with
him, planning to share it with the elders of Uruk. But a snake steals the plant one night
while they are camping. As the serpent slithers away, it sheds its skin and becomes
young again.
When Gilgamesh returns to Uruk, he is empty-handed but reconciled at last to
his mortality. He knows that he can’t live forever but that humankind will. Now he sees
that the city he had repudiated in his grief and terror is a magnificent, enduring
achievement—the closest thing to immortality to which a mortal can aspire.
Gilgamesh - King of Uruk, the strongest of men, and the personification of all human
virtues. A brave warrior, fair judge, and ambitious builder, Gilgamesh surrounds the city
of Uruk with magnificent walls and erects its glorious ziggurats, or temple towers. Two-
thirds god and one-third mortal, Gilgamesh is undone by grief when his beloved
companion Enkidu dies, and by despair at the prospect of his own extinction. He travels
to the ends of the Earth in search of answers to the mysteries of life and death.

Enkidu - Companion and friend of Gilgamesh. Hairy-bodied and brawny, Enkidu was
raised by animals. Even after he joins the civilized world, he retains many of his
undomesticated characteristics. Enkidu looks much like Gilgamesh and is almost his
physical equal. He aspires to be Gilgamesh’s rival but instead becomes his soul mate.
The gods punish Gilgamesh and Enkidu by giving Enkidu a slow, painful, inglorious death
for killing the demon Humbaba and the Bull of Heaven.
Shamhat - The temple prostitute who tames Enkidu by seducing him away from his
natural state. Though Shamhat’s power comes from her sexuality, it is associated with
civilization rather than nature. She represents the sensuous refinements of culture—the
sophisticated pleasures of lovemaking, food, alcohol, music, clothing, architecture,
agriculture, herding, and ritual.
Utnapishtim - A king and priest of Shurrupak, whose name translates as “He Who Saw
Life.” By the god Ea’s connivance, Utnapishtim survived the great deluge that almost
destroyed all life on Earth by building a great boat that carried him, his family, and one
of every living creature to safety. The gods granted eternal life to him and his wife.
Utnapishtim’s Wife - An unnamed woman who plays an important role in the story.
Utnapishtim’s wife softens her husband toward Gilgamesh, persuading him to disclose
the secret of the magic plant called How-the-Old-Man-Once-Again-Becomes-a-Young-
Urshanabi - The guardian of the mysterious “stone things.” Urshanabi pilots a small
ferryboat across the Waters of Death to the Far Away place where Utnapishtim lives. He
loses this privilege when he accepts Gilgamesh as a passenger, so he returns with him to
The Hunter - Also called the Stalker. The hunter discovers Enkidu at a watering place in
the wilderness and plots to tame him.
Partial List of Important Deities and Demons
Anu - The father of the gods and the god of the firmament.
Aruru - A goddess of creation who fashioned Enkidu from clay and her spittle.
Ea - The god of fresh water, crafts, and wisdom, a patron of humankind. Ea lives in Apsu,
the primal waters below the Earth.
Humbaba - The fearsome demon who guards the Cedar Forest forbidden to mortals.
Humbaba’s seven garments produce an aura that paralyzes with fear anyone who would
withstand him. He is the personification of awesome natural power and menace. His
mouth is fire, he roars like a flood, and he breathes death, much like an erupting
volcano. In his very last moments he acquires personality and pathos, when he pleads
cunningly for his life.
Scorpion-Man - Guardian, with his wife, of the twin-peaked mountain called Mashu,
which Shamash the sun god travels through every night. The upper parts of the
monsters’ bodies are human, and the lower parts end in a scorpion tail. They are
familiar figures in Mesopotamian myth.
Siduri - The goddess of wine-making and brewing. Siduri is the veiled tavern keeper who
comforts Gilgamesh and who, though she knows his quest is futile, helps him on his way
to Utnapishtim.
Tammuz - The god of vegetation and fertility, also called the Shepherd. Born a mortal,
Tammuz is the husband of Ishtar.
Enlil - God of earth, wind, and air. A superior deity, Enlil is not very fond of humankind.

Ereshkigal - Terrifying queen of the underworld.
Ishtar - The goddess of love and fertility, as well as the goddess of war. Ishtar is
frequently called the Queen of Heaven. Capricious and mercurial, sometimes she is a
nurturing mother figure, and other times she is spiteful and cruel. She is the patroness
of Uruk, where she has a temple.
Lugulbanda - Third king of Uruk after the deluge (Gilgamesh is the fifth). Lugulbanda is
the hero of a cycle of Sumerian poems and a minor god. He is a protector and is
sometimes called the father of Gilgamesh.
Ninsun - The mother of Gilgamesh, also called the Lady Wildcow Ninsun. She is a minor
goddess, noted for her wisdom. Her husband is Lugulbanda.
Shamash - The sun god, brother of Ishtar, patron of Gilgamesh. Shamash is a wise judge
and lawgiver.


Bible (Hebrew)

Full Title – Stories of Queen Esther
Reference – The Bible Stories vol.6, My Bible Friends and Women’s Devotional Bible
Author – Arthur S. Maxwell, Etta B. Degering and Nancy Cole
Type of Work – Sacred Writings and religious narrative
Language – Ancient Hebrew

Hadassah became an orphan at an early age that’s why her cousin Mordecai
(who worked for the King of Persia) decided to adopt her in order for her to have her
own family. This girl who was also known as Esther turned out to be a lovely lady not
only in forms but also in features.
One day, the King of Persia decided to choose a Queen and because of her
stunning beauty she was chosen by the King. Although she hadn’t revealed her
nationality and family background because Mordecai had forbidden her. Because she
was raised by Mordecai in a Christian family the King was attracted more than any of the
other women and even won his favor and approval. That’s why she was made Queen.
Haman who was given seat of honor by King Xerxes than of all the nobles was
being respected by all the royals by means of kneeling down except for one person who
wouldn’t kneel down or pay him honor. Do you know who that person is? Yes, it’s
Mordecai. Haman was enraged that’s why he decided to kill Mordecai n and his people
the, the Jews.
So, Haman told the king that there are certain people in his Kingdom whose
customs are different and made the king decided to make a decree to destroy them. But

King Xerxes gave him the signet ring and told him that he has already the authority on
Here is where Queen Esther helped her people, the Jews out of the hands of
Haman. But all the officials and the people of the royal provinces know that they cannot
approach the King without being summoned or else they die. The only exception is if the
king extended the Gold scepter which he does when Queen Esther entered the court.
But before she does this she ordered all the Jews including her maids to fast in 3 days
and nights and face the reality that if she perish, then she perish.
Because of Queen Esther’s faith to God, she save her people from the hand of
Haman and Haman was hanged while Mordecai was being honored by King Xerxes.

Queen Esther (Hadassah) - once an orphan who grew up to become a beautiful lady
inside and out and was raised by her cousin Mordecai. She became the famous Queen
Esther, wife of King Xerxes.
Mordecai - Cousin of Hadassah and one of the officials in the court who worked for the
King of Persia to answer the questions of all the people who comes to king and ask for
King Xerxes – Also known as Ahasuerus in the Bible. The King of Persia who was
attracted to Hadassah and made her his Queen. He also gave Haman his signet ring but
extend the Gold scepter to Queen Esther just to save her life.
Haman – Prime minister of king Xerxes and belied to have been a descendant of Agag,
King of Amalek. He is also known for his proud, cruel and ruthless characters. He was
the one who ordered to destroy and kill all the Jews but in the end he was hanged on
the gallows for plotting to kill all the children of Israel in one day.
Parable of the Lost Coin
Full Title – The parable of the Lost Coin
References – The Bible
Author – Various writers, Anonymous
Type of Work -A Parable- a figure of speech, an extended metaphor, a story using
common actions or scenarios designed to illustrate a spiritual truth, a principle, or a
moral lesson.
The word parable comes from the Greek word parable, which means to place beside
or side by side for the purpose of comparison. A parable can usually be identified by the
use of the word “like.” This was the method of teaching Jesus used most often.

The parable of the Lost Coin is the second illustration of a three-part parable
that was introduced in the preceding chapter. The sub-parables of the Lost Sheep, the
Lost Coin and the Prodigal Son (or the Lost Son) were spoken in a single discourse by
Jesus to a single audience.

The coin specified by Luke was a Greek drachma, which was almost the
equivalent of a Roman Denarius. It was a silver coin, and although worth by our
standards less than twenty cents, it was the common wage for a day's labor. Some
scholars have suggested that in this case the coin was especially valuable to the woman
since it formed an ornament for her head. It was customary for Jewish women to save
up ten coins and string them together for a necklace or hair dress. The ornament
became a treasured possession worn as the sign of a married woman, very much like a
wedding band is worn today. At any rate, whether as a part of her cherished jewelry or
simply as something of monetary worth, the coin was of priceless value to the woman.
That is evident from her diligent search. On missing the coin, she at once lit her little oil
lamp and began to sweep. A lamp was necessary for the search even in daytime, for
houses then was usually built without windows and with only one door. In the house
there was no wood or stone flooring, only the packed earth covered with dried reeds
and rushes. With a floor like this there were many places where a coin could be lodged.
All of this made the search a difficult and trying experience and helps explain why the
woman was overjoyed when she found the silver piece that had been lost.

Jesus – who tells the Pharisees about the 3 Parables which is “The Parable of the Lost
Sheep, The Parable of the Lost Coin and the Parable of the Prodigal Son
The Woman – who has 10 silver coins but lost one

Qur’an (Arabic)

The word “Quran” comes from the Arabic verb, qara’a meaning “to recite”,
“to read”. According to Mohammed, the command given to him, Gabriel three times in
the cave of Hira was “to qara’a” or read. Mohammad replied, “What shall I read”?
Thus, the word for Mohammad’s revelation is known as the Quran.
The words in the Quran are linked to the 23-years of Mohammad’s call, from
A.D. 610 to his death in 632. The revelations, in the Quran, according to Islam are from
an identical book located in Heaven, revealed through the angel Gabriel.
What is the Qu’ran
The Quran, according to Islam, is the very word of Allah, revealed through
Gabriel to the prophet Mohammed. The language of the Quran is Arabic, the dialect
belonging to the Quraish tribe, the tribe entrusted with the city of Mecca, and the tribe
Mohammad’s family was a part of.
The Quran is divided into 114 chapters, called surah(s), these chapters, with the
exception of the first are generally arranged according to length. Surah 2, the Cow is the
longest and the last ones the shortest.
The chapters of the Quran also have a title derived from a word within the text,
these titles do not necessarily have a link to the subject manner in the surah, from
which it is derived. The titles have names such as “The Cow” (Surah 2), “Women” (Surah
4), “The Bee” 16 (Surah 16).
In the beginning of the Surah is a short introduction prayer, the Basmalah,
which says “In the name of God, the Compassionate the Merciful”. This prayer is at the
start of every surah except the ninth.

The verses of the Surah, called āyah vary in size (pl, ayat) , the earliest are the
shortest, the longer Surahs have longer verses with less rhyme. The Quran, in the Arabic
is written in rhyme prose, saj, a style similar to the prose used by the kāhins, or
soothsayers of Arabia.
The Quran is presented as the speech of God (Allah), who is speaking, first
person through Gabriel to Mohammad. Allah refers to himself as “We” and Mohammed
is the one told, “to say”. Mohammed, directed to tell the message Allah has given him is
Allah’s final messenger to the world, the “seal of the prophets”. Here is an example
from the Quran Surah 2, the Cow.
35. And We said: O Adam! Dwell thou and thy wife in the Garden, and eat ye
freely (of the fruits) thereof where ye will; but come not nigh this tree lest ye become
wrongdoers. 36. But Satan caused them to deflect there from and expelled them from
the (happy) state in which they were; and We said: Fall down, one of you a foe unto the
other! There shall be for you on earth a habitation and provision for a tune. Surah 2:35-
94. Say (unto them): If the abode of the Hereafter in the providence of Allah is
indeed for you alone and not for othersof mankind (as ye pretend), then long for death
(for ye must long for death) if ye are truthful. 95. But they will never long for it, because
of that which their own hands have sent before them. Allah is Aware of evildoers. Surah
How was the Quran revealed?
The Quran is the written text, of the revelation, which Mohammad claimed he
received from Allah. The account of how Mohammed first received the revelation of
the Quran is recorded in the traditions of the prophets, the Hadith (Traditions) and by
early Islamic historians, who explain the events.
Mohammed and his attempted Suicide during the period of silence (610-613)
Following the first appearance of the “angel” and the proclamation of his “Call”
there was a period of silence for about three-years. During this period, Mohammad was
distraught and often thought about suicide, wishing to throw himself off the mountains
of Hira or Qubays. Hykal writes,
Muhammad expected the revelations to guide his path from day to day, but
they subsided. Gabriel did not appear for some time, and all around him there was
nothing but silence. Muhammad fell into solitude, separated from himself as well as
from the people. His old fears recurred. It is told that even Khadijah said to him, "Does it
not seem that your Lord is displeased with you?" Dismayed and frightened, he returned
to the mountain and the cave of Hira'. There, he prayed for God fervently, seeking
assiduously to reach Him. Particularly, he wanted to ask God about the cause of this
divine displeasure. Khadijah did not dread these days any less than Muhammad, nor
was she any less fearful. Often Muhammad wished to die, but he would again feel the
call and the command of his Lord which dispelled such ideas. It was also told that he
once thought of throwing himself down from the top of Mount Hira' or Mount Abu
Qubays, thinking what good was this life if his greatest hope therein was to be
frustrated and destroyed? Torn between these fears on one hand and despair on the
other, revelation came to him after a long interval.
Mohammad’s death
The Quran was revealed to Mohammad during a 23-year period, A.D. 610 to
632. Mohammad’s death in 632, was not expected, he was 62-years old when he died.
Muhammad gave his revelations orally and did not write them down, the claim being,

he could neither read nor write, the prophet was mouthpiece of Allah, there was no
need to have written scripture.
In the year 632, Mohammad made his last pilgrimage to Mecca, a few month
later on June 8th, 632 Muhammad died by the side of his young wife, Aisha who cradled
the prophet as he passed. Muslim traditions as recorded by the Marmauke Pickthall,
blame Mohammed’s death on a Jewish captive of Kheyber fortress in North Arabia.
It was at Kheybar that a Jewess prepared for the Prophet poisoned meat, of
which he only tasted a morsel without swallowing it, then warned his comrades that it
was poisoned. One Muslim, who had already swallowed a mouthful, died immediately,
and the Prophet himself, from the mere taste of it, derived the illness, which eventually
caused his death. The woman who cooked the meat was brought before him. When she
said that she had one it on account of the humiliation of her people, he forgave her.

Retrieved from: http://www.truthnet.org/islam/Islam-Bible/2thequran/TheQuran.htm

Book of the Dead (Egyptian)

The Book of the Dead is the name given by Egyptologists to a group of

mortuary spells written on sheets of papyrus covered with magical texts and
accompanying illustrations called vignettes. These were placed with the dead in order to
help them pass through the dangers of the underworld and attain an afterlife of bliss in
the Field of Reeds. Some of the texts and vignettes are also found on the walls of tombs
and on coffins or written on linen or vellum rather than on papyrus.
The texts are divided into individual spells or chapters, nearly two hundred in
total, though no one papyrus contains them all.
These spells were influenced by and developed after the Pyramid Texts and
Coffin Texts.
In the Coffin Texts, as in the Book of the Dead, the sun-god is no longer
supreme with regard to the afterlife, as he was in the Pyramid Texts
The Coffin Texts also spoke of a belief in an afterlife spent in the Field of Reeds
where agricultural tasks would be performed by the deceased for all eternity. To
undertake this work for the deceased, the ushabti-formaula makes its first appearance
in the Coffin Texts, and are later incorporated into the Book of the Dead. The ushabtis
were small figurines, often representing the deceased or servants of the deceased. They
would act as magical substitute workers and relieve the deceased of all hard work in the
The Pyramid Texts were carved on the inside or pyramid walls of Kings and queens of
the 6th Dynasty and early First Intermediate Period for another 200 years.

The Book of the Dead developed from a tradition of funerary manuscripts
dating back to the Egyptian Old Kingdom. The first funerary texts were the Pyramid
Texts were written on the walls of the burial chambers within pyramids, and were

exclusively for the use of the Pharaoh. Towards the end of the Old Kingdom, the
Pyramid Texts ceased to be an exclusively royal privilege, and were adopted by regional
governors and other high-ranking officials.
The Coffin Texts used a newer version of the language, new spells, and included
illustrations for the first time. The Coffin Texts were most commonly written on the
inner surfaces of coffins, though they are occasionally found on tomb walls or on papyri.

The spells of the Book of the Dead made use of several magical techniques
which can also be seen in other areas of Egyptian life. A number of spells are for magical
amulets, which would protect the deceased from harm. In addition to being represented
on a Book of the Dead papyrus, these spells appeared on amulets wound into the
wrappings of a mummy. Everyday magic made use of amulets in huge numbers. Other
items in direct contact with the body in the tomb, such as headrests, were also
considered to have amuletic value. A number of spells also refer to Egyptian beliefs
about the magical healing power of saliva.

Egyptian concepts of death and afterlife

The spells in the Book of the Dead depict Egyptian beliefs about the nature of
death and the afterlife. The Book of the Dead is a vital source of information about
Egyptian beliefs in this area.

Mummification served to preserve and transform the physical body into a sah,
an idealised form with divine aspects the Book of the Dead contained spells aimed at
preserving the body of the deceased, which may have been recited during the process
of mummification. The heart, which was regarded as the aspect of being which included
intelligence and memory, was also protected with spells, and in case anything happened
to the physical heart, it was common to bury jewelled heart scarabs with a body to
provide a replacement.

The nature of the afterlife which the dead person enjoyed is difficult to define,
because of the differing traditions within Ancient Egyptian religion. The deceased
person is shown encountering the Great Ennead, a group of gods, as well as his or her
own parents. While the depiction of the Field of Reeds is pleasant and plentiful, it is also
clear that manual labour is required. For this reason burials included a number of
statuettes named shabti, or later ushebti. These statuettes were inscribed with a spell,
also included in the Book of the Dead, requiring them to undertake any manual labour
that might be the owner's duty in the afterlife.
The deceased was required to pass a series of gates, caverns and mounds
guarded by supernatural creatures. These terrifying entities were armed with enormous
knives and are illustrated in grotesque forms, typically as human figures with the heads
of animals or combinations of different ferocious beasts.

Moral/ Lesson Of The Literature And Its Influence In Modern Times
The book of the dead is only a tradition followed on the Egyptian country. But
in modern times maybe some people couldn’t believe it especially in some other

The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife by Erik Hornung, translated by David
Lorton The Book of the Dead by R.O. Faulkner

Ramayana (Indian)

The Ramayana is one of the two great Indian epics, the other being the
Mahabharata. The Ramayana tells about life in India around 1000 BCE and offers models
in dharma. The hero, Rama, lived his whole life by the rules of dharma; in fact, that was
why Indian consider him heroic. When Rama was a young boy, he was the perfect son.
Later he was an ideal husband to his faithful wife, Sita, and a responsible ruler of
Aydohya. "Be as Rama," young Indians have been taught for 2,000 years; "Be as Sita."
The original Ramayana was a 24,000 couplet-long epic poem attributed to the
Sanskrit poet Valmiki. Oral versions of Rama's story circulated for centuries, and the epic
was probably first written down sometime around the start of the Common Era. It has
since been told, retold, translated and transcreated throughout South and Southeast
Asia, and the Ramayana continues to be performed in dance, drama, puppet shows,
songs and movies all across Asia.
From childhood most Indians learn the characters and incidents of these epics
and they furnish the ideals and wisdom of common life. The epics help to bind together
the many peoples of India, transcending caste, distance and language. Two all-Indian
holidays celebrate events in the Ramayana. Dussehra, a fourteen-day festival in
October, commemorates the siege of Lanka and Rama's victory over Ravana, the demon
king of Lanka. Divali, the October-November festival of Lights, celebrates Rama and
Sita's return home to their kingdom of Ayodhya
1. Dasharatha, King of Aydohya, has three wives and four sons. Rama is the
eldest. His mother is Kaushalya. Bharata is the son of his second and favorite wife,
Queen Kaikeyi. The other two are twins, Lakshman and Shatrughna. Rama and Bharata
are blue, perhaps indicating they were dark skinned or originally south Indian deities.
2) A sage takes the boys out to train them in archery. Rama has hit an apple
hanging from a string.
3) In a neighboring city the ruler's daughter is named Sita. When it was time for
Sita to choose her bridegroom, at a ceremony called a swayamvara, the princes were
asked to string a giant bow. No one else can even lift the bow, but as Rama bends it, he
not only strings it but breaks it in two. Sita indicates she has chosen Rama as her
husband by putting a garland around his neck. The disappointed suitors watch.

4) King Dasharatha, Rama's father, decides it is time to give his throne to his
eldest son Rama and retire to the forest to seek moksha. Everyone seems pleased. This
plan fulfills the rules of dharma because an eldest son should rule and, if a son can take
over one's responsibilities, one's last years may be spent in a search for moksha. In
addition, everyone loves Rama. However Rama's step-mother, the king's second wife, is
not pleased. She wants her son, Bharata, to rule. Because of an oath Dasharatha had
made to her years before, she gets the king to agree to banish Rama for fourteen years
and to crown Bharata, even though the king, on bended knee, begs her not to demand
such things. Broken-hearted, the devastated king cannot face Rama with the news and
Kaikeyi must tell him.
5) Rama, always obedient, is as content to go into banishment in the forest as
to be crowned king. Sita convinces Rama that she belongs at his side and his brother
Lakshman also begs to accompany them. Rama, Sita and Lakshman set out for the
Bharata, whose mother's evil plot has won him the throne, is very upset when
he finds out what has happened. Not for a moment does he consider breaking the rules
of dharma and becoming king in Rama's place. He goes to Rama's forest retreat and
begs Rama to return and rule, but Rama refuses. "We must obey father," Rama says.
Bharata then takes Rama's sandals saying, "I will put these on the throne, and every day
I shall place the fruits of my work at the feet on my Lord." Embracing Rama, he takes the
sandals and returns to Aydohya.
6) Years pass and Rama, Sita and Lakshman are very happy in the forest. Rama
and Lakshman destroy the rakshasas (evil creatures) who disturb the sages in their
meditations. One day a rakshasa princess tries to seduce Rama, and Lakshmana wounds
her and drives her away. She returns to her brother Ravana, the ten-headed ruler of
Lanka (Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon), and tells her brother (who has a weakness for
beautiful women) about lovely Sita.
Ravana devises a plan to abduct Sita. He sends a magical golden deer which Sita
desires. Rama and Lakshman go off to hunt the deer, first drawing a protective circle
around Sita and warning her she will be safe as long as she does not step outside the
circle. As they go off, Ravana (who can change his shape) appears as a holy man begging
alms. The moment Sita steps outside the circle to give him food, Ravana grabs her and
carries her off to his kingdom in Lanka.
7) Rama is broken-hearted when he returns to the empty hut and cannot find
Sita. A band of monkeys offer to help him find Sita.
Ravana has carried Sita to his palace in Lanka, but he cannot force her to be his
wife so he puts her in a grove and alternately sweet-talks her and threatens her in an
attempt to get her to agree to marry him. Sita will not even look at him but thinks only
of her beloved Rama. Hanuman, the general of the monkey band can fly since his father
is the wind, and Hanuman flies to Lanka and, finding Sita in the grove, comforts her and
tells her, Rama will soon come and save her.
8) Ravana's men capture Hanuman, and Ravana orders them to wrap
Hanuman's tail in cloth and to set it on fire. With his tail burning, Hanuman hops from
house-top to house-top, setting Lanka afire. He then flies back to Rama to tell him
where Sita is.
9) Rama, Lakshman and the monkey army build a causeway from the tip of
India to Lanka and cross over to Lanka. A might battle ensues. Rama kills several of
Ravana's brothers and then

Rama confronts ten-headed Ravana. (Ravana is known for his wisdom as well as
for his weakness for women which may explain why he is pictured as very brainy.) Rama
finally kills Ravana.
10). Rama frees Sita. After Sita proves here purity, they return to Ayodhya and
Rama becomes king. His rule, Ram-rajya, is an ideal time when everyone does his or her
dharma and "fathers never have to light the funeral pyres for their sons."


Dasaratha -- King of Ayodhya (capital of Kosala), whose eldest son was Rama. Dasaratha
had three wives and four sons -- Rama, Bharata, and the twins Lakshmana and
Rama -- Dasaratha's first-born son, and the upholder of Dharma (correct conduct and
duty). Rama, along with his wife Sita, have served as role models for thousands of
generations in India and elsewhere. Rama is regarded by many Hindus as an incarnation
of the god Vishnu.
Sita -- Rama's wife, the adopted daughter of King Janak.Sita was found in the furrows of
a sacred field, and was regarded by the people of Janak's kingdom as a blessed child.
Bharata-- Rama's brother by Queen Kaikeyi. When Bharata learned of his mother's
scheme to banish Rama and place him on the throne, he put Rama's sandals on the
throne and ruled Ayodhya in his name.
Hanuman -- A leader of the monkey tribe allied with Rama against Ravana. Hanuman
has many magical powers because his father was the god of the wind. Hanuman's
devotion to Rama, and his supernatural feats in the battle to recapture Sita, has made
him one of the most popular characters in the Ramayana.
Ravana -- The 10-headed king of Lanka who abducted Sita.
Kaushlaya -- Dasaratha's first wife, and the mother of Rama.
Lakshmana -- Rama's younger brother by Dasaratha's third wife, Sumitra. When Rama
and Sita were exiled to the forest, Lakshmana followed in order to serve.

Retrieved from http://www.mythome.org/RamaSummary.html on January 12, 2013 at

6:00 pm

Mahabharata (Indian)

The Mahābhārata has existed in various forms for well over two thousand
years. First, starting in the middle of the first millennium BCE, it existed in the form of
popular stories of Gods, kings, and seers retained, retold, and improved by priests living
in shrines, ascetics living in retreats or wandering about, and by traveling bards,
minstrels, dance-troupes, etc. Later, after about 350 CE, it came to be a unified, sacred
text of 100,000 stanzas written in Sanskrit, distributed throughout India by kings and
wealthy patrons, and declaimed from temples. Even after it became a famous Sanskrit
writing it continued to exist in various performance media in many different local genres
of dance and theater throughout India and then Southeast Asia. Finally, it came to exist,
in numerous literary and popular transformations in many of the non-Sanskrit

vernacular languages of India and Southeast Asia, which (with the exception of Tamil, a
language that had developed a classical literature in the first millennium BCE) began
developing recorded literatures shortly after 1000 CE. It was one of the two most
important factors that created the "Hindu" culture of India (the other was the other all-
India epic, the Rāmāyaṇa, pronounced approximately as Raa-MEYE-a-na), and the
Mahābhārata and Rāmāyaṇa still exert tremendous cultural influence throughout India
and Southeast Asia. But the historical importance of the Mahābhārata is not the main
reason to read the Mahābhārata. Quite simply, the Mahābhārata is a powerful and
amazing text that inspires awe and wonder. It presents sweeping visions of the cosmos
and humanity and intriguing and frightening glimpses of divinity in an ancient narrative
that is accessible, interesting, and compelling for anyone willing to learn the basic
themes of India's culture. The Mahābhārata definitely is one of those creations of
human language and spirit that has traveled far beyond the place of its original creation
and will eventually take its rightful place on the highest shelf of world literature beside
Homer's epics, the Greek tragedies, the Bible, Shakespeare, and similarly transcendent

The Mahabharata tells the story of two sets of paternal first cousins--the five
sons of the deceased king Pandu (the five Pandavas and the one hundred sons of blind
King Dhritarashtra--who became bitter rivals, and opposed each other in war for
possession of the ancestral Bharata kingdom with its capital in the "City of the
Elephants," Hastinapura , on the Ganga river in north central India. What is dramatically
interesting within this simple opposition is the large number of individual agendas the
many characters pursue, and the numerous personal conflicts, ethical puzzles, subplots,
and plot twists that give the story a strikingly powerful development.
The five sons of Pandu were actually fathered by five Gods (sex was mortally
dangerous for Pandu, because of a curse) and these heroes were assisted throughout
the story by various Gods, sages, and brahmins, including the great sage Krishna
Dvaipayana Vyasa (who later became the author of the epic telling this story), who was
also their actual grandfather (he had engendered Pandu and the blind Dhrtarastra upon
their nominal father's widows in order to preserve the lineage). The one hundred sons
of the blind king Dhartarashtra, on the other hand, had a grotesque, demonic birth, and
are said more than once in the text to be human incarnations of the demons who are
the perpetual enemies of the devotees of the lord. The most dramatic figure of the
entire Mahabharata, however, is Sri Krishna who is the supreme personality of Godhead
himself, descended to earth in human form to reestablish his devotees as care takers of
the earth, and who practice Dharma. Krishna Vasudeva was the cousin of both parties,
but he was a friend and advisor to the Pandavas, became the brother-in-law of Arjuna ,
and served as Arjuna's mentor and charioteer in the great war. Krishna Vasudeva is
portrayed several times as eager to see the war occur, and in many ways the Pandavas
were his human instruments for fulfilling that end.
The Dhartarashtra party behaved viciously and brutally toward the Pandavas in
many ways, from the time of their early childhood. Their malice displayed itselfwhen
they took advantage of the eldest Pandava, Yudhishthira (who had by now become the
ruler of the world) in a game of dice: The Dhartarashtras 'won' all his brothers, himself,
and even the Pandavas' common wife Draupadi They humiliated all the Pandavas and
physically abused Draupadi; they drove the Pandava party into the wilderness for twelve
years, and the twelve years of exile had to be followed by the Pandavas' living
somewhere in society, in disguise, without being discovered.

The Pandavas fulfilled their part of that bargain by living out side the kingdom,
but the evil leader and eldest son of Dhartarashtra, Duryodhana , was unwilling to
restore the Pandavas to their half of the kingdom when the thirteen years had expired.
Both sides then called upon their many allies and two large armies arrayed themselves
on 'Kuru's Field' (Kuru was one of the eponymous ancestors of the clan), eleven divisions
in the army of Duryodhana against seven divisions for Yudhishthira. Much of the action
in the Mahabharata is accompanied by discussion and debate among various interested
parties, and the most famous dialog of all time, Krishna Vasudeva's ethical lecture and
demonstration of his divinity to his devotee and friend Arjuna (the Holy Bhagavad Gita
appeared in the Mahabharata just prior to the commencement of the world war.
Several of the important ethical and theological themes of the Mahabharata are tied
together in this Gita, and this "Song of the Blessed One" has exerted much the same sort
of powerful and far-reaching influence in the Vedic Civilization that the New Testament
has had in the Christian world. The Pandavas won the eighteen day battle, but it was a
victory that deeply troubled all except those who were able to understand things on the
divine level (chiefly Krishna, Vyasa, and Bhishma the Bharata patriarch who was symbal
of the virtues of the era now passing away). The Pandavas' five sons by Draupadi, as well
as Bhimasena and Arjuna Pandava's two sons by two other mothers (respectively, the
young warriors and Abhimanyu, were all tragic victims in the war. Worse perhaps, the
Pandava victory was won by the Pandavas slaying, in succession, four men who were
like fathers to them: Bhishma, their teacher Drona , Karna (who was, though none of the
Pandavas knew it, the first born, pre-marital, son of their mother), and their maternal
uncle Shalya (all four of these men were, in succession, 'supreme commanders' of
Duryodhana's army during the war). Equally troubling was the fact that the killing of the
first three of these 'respected elders,' and of some other enemy warriors as well, was
accomplished only through ' trickery', most of which were suggested by Krishna
Vasudeva as absolutely required by the circumstances.
The ethical gaps were not resolved to anyone's satisfaction on the surface of
the narrative and the aftermath of the war was dominated by a sense of horror and
malaise. Yudhishthira alone was terribly troubled, but his sense of the war's
wrongfulness persisted to the end of the text, in spite of the fact that everyone else,
from his wife to Krishna Vasudeva, told him the war was right and good; in spite of the
fact that the dying patriarch Bhishma lectured him at length on all aspects of the Good
Law (the Duties and Responsibilities of Kings, which have rightful violence at their
center; the ambiguities of Righteousness in abnormal circumstances; and the absolute
perspective of a beatitude that ultimately transcends the oppositions of good versus
bad, right versus wrong, pleasant versus unpleasant, etc.); in spite of the fact that he
performed a grand Horse Sacrifice as expiation for the putative wrong of the war. These
debates and instructions and the account of this Horse Sacrifice are told at some length
after the massive and narrative of the battle; they form a deliberate tale of pacification
that aims to neutralize the inevitable reactions of the war.

In the years that follow the war Dhritarashtra and his queen Gandhari , and
Kunti , the mother of the Pandavas, lived a life of asceticism in a forest retreat and died
with yogic calm in a forest fire. Krishna Vasudeva departed from this earth thirty-six
years after the war. When they learned of this, the Pandavas believed it time for them
to leave this world too and they embarked upon the 'Great Journey,' which involved
walking north toward the polar mountain, that is toward the heavenly worlds, until
one's body dropped dead. One by one Draupadi and the younger Pandavas died along
the way until Yudhishthira was left alone with a dog that had followed him all the way.
Yudhishthira made it to the gate of heaven and there refused the order to drive the dog

back, at which point the dog was revealed to be an incarnate form of the God Dharma
(the God who was Yudhishthira's actual, physical father), who was there to test
Yudhishthira's virtue. Once in heaven Yudhishthira faced one final test of his virtue: He
saw only the Dhartarashtra Clan in heaven, and he was told that his brothers were in
hell. He insisted on joining his brothers in hell, if that were the case! It was then
revealed that they were really in heaven, that this illusion had been one final test for

List of Pandavas:
•Pandu- Younger brother of Dhritarastra; husband of Kunti; Father of the Pandava's
born to Vichitravirya's widow queen Ambalika.
•Madri- Second wife of Pandu; Mother of Nakul and Sahdeva; daughter of King Shalya.
•Kunti - wife of Pandu and mother to the five Pandavas and Karna
•Draupadi - wife to the five Pandavas
•Yudhisthira- leader of the Pandavas, rightful heir to the throne
•Arjuna- mightiest of warriors
•Bhima - Pandu and Kunti's second son, sired by Vayu, the wind-god. Bhima is described
as a powerful, large and hugely strong man. His favorite weapon was the mace. After
the great war he was installed by Yudhisthira as the crown prince.
•Nakula- Son of Madri and Pandu, known for patience
•Sahadeva- Second son of Madri and Pandu; The youngest Pandava. One of the two
twin sons of Madri fathered by the Ashvini gods. He conquered southern Bharata before
Yudhisthira's Rajasuya sacrifice. Famous for his perceptive powers and intelligence, he
was appointed as Yudhisthira's personal advisor after the Kurukshetra war. Besides
being married to Draupadî, he married a princess of Madra named Vijaya.
•Agyatabas, Pandavas

List of Kauravas:
•Vidhura- Son of Vyasa and a palace maidservant; Brother to Dhritarstra and Pandu;
counsel to the King of Hatinapur. Vidura was said to be an expansion of Yamaraja, the
lord of justice. Once a rishi named Mandavya was mistaken for a robber. The king
arrested and punished him by having him pierced by a lance. The sage later went to
Yamarâja and asked why this had happened and was told that in his childhood he had
pierced an insect with a blade of grass. Hearing that he had received punishment for a
mistake made when he was still an ignorant child, the sage cursed Yamaraja to take
birth on earth as a sûdra. Thus he became Vidura.
•Gandhari- wife of Dhritarashtra
•Duhsala- Daughter of Gandhari and Dhritarastra; Lone sister of the hundred Kauravas.
•Kichaka- was the army commander of Matsya, the country ruled by King Virata. He is
also the brother of Sudeshna

•Duryodhana- Eldest son of Dhritarastra sons and leader of the Kauravas. Born to
Gandhari from a boon she got from Vyasa. He was one of a hundred sons and one
daughter, incubated in jars filled with ghee.
•Dushasana- Brother of Duryodhana and son of Gandhari. He dragged and attempted to
disrobe Draupadi.
•Karna- Eldest son of Kunti, sired by the Sun God; Friend of Duryodhana; Raised by a
charioteer when his mother abandoned him at birth. Karna was a tremendous archer,
famed for his generosity and loyalty. He pledged hiumself to Duryodhana and became
an enemy of the Pandavas. Karna had a passionate rivalry and hatred for Arjuna in
•Shakuni- Younger brother of Gandhari; maternal uncle of Duryodhana; An expert dice

Retrieved from :
http://www.dharmakshetra.com/literature/summary%20of%20mahabharata.html on
1/11/13 at 10:00am.
h2Description.html on 1/11/13 at 10:00am.
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Who_were_the_main_characters_of_Mahabharata on
1/11/13 at 10:00am.

Panchatantra (Indian)

Panchatantrais an ancient Indian inter-related collection of animal fables in

verse and prose, in a frame story format.The original Sanskrit work, which some scholars
believe was composed in the 3rd century BCE.
Panchatantra was believed to be written by a scholar named Vishnu Sharma
In the Indian tradition, The Panchatantra is anītiśāstra. Nīti can be roughly
translated as "the wise conduct of life"and a śāstra is a technical or scientific treatise;
thus it is considered a treatise on political science and human conduct. Its literary
sources are "the expert tradition of political science and the folk and literary traditions
of storytelling". It draws from the Dharma and Arthaśāstras, quoting them extensively. It
is also explained that nīti "represents an admirable attempt to answer the insistent
question how to win the utmost possible joy from life in the world of men" and that nīti
is "the harmonious development of the powers of man, a life in which security,
prosperity, resolute action, friendship, and good learning are so combined to produce
In a certain town, there lived a Brahmin, by the name of Dev Sharma. One day,
his wife gives birth to a son.
The very same day a female mongoose gave birth to a baby mongoose, but she
herself died.

Out of compassion, the Brahmin's wife took the little mongoose to her house
and brought him up as her own son, giving him her own breast milk and bathing him in
However, she was always on her guard, thinking to herself, “This mongoose has
inherited the defects of his species and may someday harm my son"
She was a very fond mother.
One day, the woman put her son to bed and then wanted to take her pitcher to
fetch water.
So she said to her husband,' I'm going to the well to fetch water. Look after the
baby and make sure the mongoose doesn't hurt him'.
But after she had gone the Brahmin also left the house and went to beg for
Meanwhile, a black snake emerged from a hole.
To defend the child, who was like a brother to him, the mongoose attacked his
natural enemy, fought with him, bit him to pieces and killed him.
His mouth and claws were all spattered with the snake's blood.
Then, in this eagerness to show how brave he had been, the mongoose went
and stood outside the house, waiting for the Brahmin's wife.
But when she arrived and saw him covered with blood, the woman jumped to
the conclusion that he had killed her son.
She brought the heavy pitcher, full of water, down heavily on the mongoose
and killed him on the spot.
When she went inside, she found her child safe in his cradle, and a black snake,
torn to shreds, lying nearby.
She was heart-broken. She felt as though she had been guilty of killing her own
son and began to beat her breasts in self-reproach.
After some time, the Brahmin returned home.
'Damn you,' cried his grief-stricken wife. 'Greedy fellow, you were so anxious
for alms that you didn't listen to me.
Now repent the loss of your second son, eat the fruit of your greed'.
MORAL LESSON: Think hard and do not do anything in haste.
In a certain town, there lived four young Brahmins. They were great friends.
Three of them were very well versed in the Holy Scriptures, but lacked in
The fourth was completely ignorant of the Holy Scriptures, but had good
One day, these four friends had a discussion together.
They said, “What is the good of scholarship, if you cannot impress kings in far
off lands by it, or earn money with it? So, let us travel east".
Accordingly, they set out.

When they had covered some distance, the eldest of them said, "One of us has
only common-sense and no scholarship.
Now, no one earns the king's esteem by mere common-sense, so let us not give
him any of our shares of the profits. In fact, let him go home".
The second Brahmin turned to the one with common-sense and said to him,
"My friend, you are no scholar, so you had better go home".
But the third one said, 'we shouldn't behave like this towards our friend.
After all, we have all grown up together and played games with one another
since we were children, so let him come.
What is more, he should get his share of our earnings'.
Finally, the others agreed and they all proceeded on their way.
After sometime, they came to a jungle and found the bones of a lion lying
Then one of them suggested, 'Let's put our scholarship to test. Here lies a dead
We'll see if we can bring him to life'.
And so, one of them collected bones and made a skeleton of a lion.
The second one put flesh and blood into it, covering it with skin.
The third one was on the verge of putting the very life back into the lion, when
the fourth restrained him.
'Stop friend! He cried.' For goodness sake, don't do that! Look here, if you bring
this dead lion to life, he'll kill the whole lot of us!'
But the third Brahmin shouted, “You don't think I am going to waste my
knowledge after we have come so far."
'All right then' said the fellow with common-sense', but just wait a minute,
while I climb up this tree'.
And off he went up the tree.
The third Brahmin brought the lion to life.
The lion immediately set on the three of them and killed them.
The one with the common-sense waited until the lion had gone, then he got
down from the tree and went home.
MORAL LESSON: Common sense is preferable to knowledge.
Retrieved from http://www.chandiramani.com/talesofpanchatantra_new.html on
January 14, 2013 at 2:40 am
Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panchatantra on January 14, 2013 at 2:40

One Thousand and One Nights (“Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves”) (Arab)

King Shahryar, was betrayed by his wife. He sought consolation with his
brother, Shah Zaman, only to learn Shah Zaman was also married to an unfaithful
woman. The king’s grief turned so bitter he swore to marry a different virgin every night,
only to have her killed the next morning. He was convinced his bride’s early death was
the only way to keep a woman faithful.
Once the king had taken three thousand wives, the lovely Scheherazade
persuaded her father to let her become the king’s next bride. Scheherazade’s father, a
trusted advisor to the king who had the unfortunate job of beheading each of the king’s
new brides, knew his daughter's marriage to the king would mean certain death for her
but she convinced him she had a plan that would stop the king’s killing of all the virgins
of the land. She needed the help of Dunyazad, her sister, to do so and with tremendous
reluctance, their father agreed to Scheherazade’s plan.
On Scheherazade’s wedding night, Dunyazad, according to plan, begged the
king to allow Scheherazade to finish telling her the bedtime story she’d started before
her marriage to the king. Dunyazad assured the king she understood it would be the last
night of Scheherazade’s life and the last opportunity she’d have to hear the rest of the
story. The king, who never slept anyway, agreed.
Through the night, Scheherazade spun such a spellbinding story that the king
was mesmerized. In what seemed like only moments, dawn was breaking and
Scheherazade’s story was reaching its most exciting part. The king was so riveted by the
story he postponed Scheherazade’s death for one more night, so she could finish telling
him the story before being put to death on the second morning of their marriage.
Each night, for one thousand and one nights, Scheherazade told the king the
most bewitching, delightful stories he’d ever heard. Each morning, just as the sun was
rising, the stories reached their peak of excitement but had to be interrupted, for one
more day, until Scheherazade could finish the story during the following night. Each day,
the king spared her life just one more day, so he could hear the end of the story. Finally
she runs out of stories. The king long decide he loves her and decides she will not die.
They live happily ever after.
Ali baba and the Forty Thieves
Ali Baba and his elder brother Cassim are the sons of a merchant. After the
death of their father, the greedy Cassim marries a wealthy woman and becomes well-to-
do, building on their father's business—but Ali Baba marries a poor woman and settles
into the trade of a woodcutter.
One day Ali Baba, a poor woodcutter, happens to see and overhear a large
band of thieves - forty in all – visiting their treasure store in the forest where he is
cutting wood. The thieves treasure is in a cave, the mouth of which is sealed by magic -
it opens on the words "Open, Sesame", and seals itself on the words "Close,Sesame".
When the thieves are gone, Ali Baba enters the cave himself, and takes some of
the treasure home.He and his wife decide to bury the gold. His wife wants to measure
out the gold, so she borrows a measuring cup from the wife of AliBaba’ s brother.The
sister-in-law, being curious, puts some wax in the bottom of the cup.Thus, a little bit of

gold is stuck in the measuring cup when Ali Baba’s wife returns it. Ali Baba's rich
brother, Cassim, finds out about his brother's unexpected wealth, and Ali Baba tells
Cassimabout the cave.
Cassim goes to the cave to take more of the treasure, but forgets the magic
words to get back out of the cave, and the thieves find him there, and kill him.When his
brother does not come back, Ali Baba goes to the cave to look for him, and finds the
body, bringing it home.
With the help of Morgiana, a clever slave-girl in Cassim's household, they are
able to give
Cassim a properburial withoutarousing any suspicions about his death.The
thieves, find the body gone, realize that somebody else must know their secret, and set
out totrack him down.
The first several times they are foiled by Morgiana, who is now a member of Ali
Baba's household, but eventually they are able to ascertain the location of Ali Baba's
The lead thief pretends to be an oil merchant in need of Ali Baba's hospitality,
bringing with him mulesloaded with 40 oil jars, one filled with oil, the other 39 with the
other thieves.
Once Ali Baba is asleep,the thieves plan to kill him.Again, Morgiana discovers
and foils the plan, killing the 39 thieves in their oil jars by pouring boiling oil on
them.When their leader comes to rouse his men, he discovers that theyare dead, and
The lead thief, disguised as a merchant, befriends Ali Baba's nephew (who is
now in charge of the lateCassim's business), and is invited to dinner at Ali Baba's house.
He is recognized by Morgiana, whoperforms a dance with a dagger for the
diners and plunges it into the heart of the thief when he is off hisguard.
Thus Ali Baba and his household lived all their lives in wealth in that city where
the rest had been pauper, and by the blessing of that secret treasure he rose to high
degree and dignities.

Retrived from http://www.datehookup.com/conten t-scheherazade-and-her-one-
thousand-and-one-nights.htm on January 11, 2013 at 1:15pm
Retrieved from http://www.scribd.com/doc/61712512/Alibaba-and-the-Forty-Thieves
on January 12, 2013 at 1:15pm

III. Other Significant Literatures from around the World
Oedipus Rex (Greek)

Full Title: Antigone, Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus
Author: Sophocles
Type of Work: Play
Genre: Antigone and Oedipus the King are tragedies; Oedipus at Colonus is difficult to
Language: Ancient Greek
Time And Place Written: Antigone is believed to have been written around441 B.C.,
Oedipus the King around 430 B.C., and Oedipus at Colonussometime near the end of
Sophocles’ life in 406–405 B.C. The plays were all written and produced in Athens,
Date of First Publication: The plays probably circulated in manuscript in fifth-century
B.C. Athens and have come down to modern editors through the scribal and editorial
efforts of scholars in ancient Greece, ancient Alexandria, and medieval Europe.
Publisher: There is no known publisher of original or early editions. The most important
modern edition of the Greek texts, prepared by A. C. Pearson, was published by Oxford
University Press in 1924 and reprinted with corrections in 1928.
Tone: Tragic
Tense: Present
Setting (Time): All three plays are set in the mythical past of ancient Greece.
Setting (Place): Antigone and Oedipus the King are set in Thebes,Oedipus at Colonus in
Colonus (near Athens).
Protagonist: Oedipus is the protagonist of both Oedipus the King andOedipus at
Colonus. Antigone is the protagonist of Antigone.
Major Conflict: Antigone’s major conflict is between Creon and Antigone. Creon has
declared that the body of Polynices may not be given a proper burial because he led the
forces that invaded Thebes, but Antigone wishes to give her brother a proper burial
nevertheless. The major conflict of Oedipus the King arises when Tiresias tells Oedipus
that Oedipus is responsible for the plague, and Oedipus refuses to believe him. The
major conflict ofOedipus at Colonus is between Oedipus and Creon. Creon has been told
by the oracle that only Oedipus’s return can bring an end to the civil strife in Thebes—
Oedipus’s two sons, Eteocles and Polynices, are at war over the throne. Oedipus, furious
at Thebes for exiling him, has no desire to return.
Rising Action: The rising action of Oedipus the King occurs when Creon returns from the
oracle with the news that the plague in Thebes will end when the murderer of Laius, the
king before Oedipus, is discovered and driven out. The rising action of Oedipus at
Colonus occurs when Creon demands that Oedipus return to Thebes and tries to force
him to do so. The rising action ofAntigone is Antigone’s decision to defy Creon’s orders
and bury her brother.

Climax: The climax of Oedipus the King occurs when Oedipus learns, quite contrary to
his expectations, that he is the man responsible for the plague that has stricken
Thebes—he is the man who killed his father and slept with his mother. The climax of
Oedipus at Colonus happens when we hear of Oedipus’s death. The climax of Antigone
is when Creon, too late to avert tragedy, decides to pardon Antigone for defying his
orders and burying her brother.
Falling Action: In Oedipus the King, the consequences of Oedipus’s learning of his
identity as the man who killed his father and slept with his mother are the falling action.
This discovery drives Jocasta to hang herself, Oedipus to poke out his own eyes, and
Creon to banish Oedipus from Thebes. The falling action of Oedipus at Colonus is
Oedipus’s curse of Polynices. The curse is followed by the onset of a storm, which
Oedipus recognizes as a signal of his imminent death. The falling action of
Antigoneoccurs after Creon decides to free Antigone from her tomblike prison. Creon
arrives too late and finds that Antigone has hanged herself. Haemon, Antigone’s fiancé,
attempts to kill Creon but ends up killing himself. Creon’s wife, Eurydice, stabs herself.
Themes: The power of unwritten law, the willingness to ignore the truth, the limits of
free will
Motifs: Suicide, sight and blindness, graves and tombs
Symbols: Oedipus’s swollen foot, the three-way crossroads, Antigone’s entombment
Foreshadowing: Oedipus’s name, which literally means “swollen foot,” foreshadows his
discovery of his own identity. Tiresias, the blind prophet, appears in both Oedipus the
King and Antigone and announces what will happen to Oedipus and to Creon—only to
be completely ignored by both. The truth that comes from Tiresias’s blindness
foreshadows the revelation that inspires Oedipus to blind himself. Oedipus’s command
in Oedipus at Colonus that no one, not even his own daughters, know where he has
been buried foreshadows the problems surrounding burial in Antigone.


Oedipus the King
A plague has stricken Thebes. The citizens gather outside the palace of their
king, Oedipus, asking him to take action. Oedipus replies that he already sent his
brother-in-law, Creon, to the oracle at Delphi to learn how to help the city. Creon
returns with a message from the oracle: the plague will end when the murderer of Laius,
former king of Thebes, is caught and expelled; the murderer is within the city. Oedipus
questions Creon about the murder of Laius, who was killed by thieves on his way to
consult an oracle. Only one of his fellow travelers escaped alive. Oedipus promises to
solve the mystery of Laius’s death, vowing to curse and drive out the murderer.
Oedipus sends for Tiresias, the blind prophet, and asks him what he knows
about the murder. Tiresias responds cryptically, lamenting his ability to see the truth
when the truth brings nothing but pain. At first he refuses to tell Oedipus what he
knows. Oedipus curses and insults the old man, going so far as to accuse him of the
murder. These taunts provoke Tiresias into revealing that Oedipus himself is the
murderer. Oedipus naturally refuses to believe Tiresias’s accusation. He accuses Creon
and Tiresias of conspiring against his life, and charges Tiresias with insanity. He asks why
Tiresias did nothing when Thebes suffered under a plague once before. At that time, a
Sphinx held the city captive and refused to leave until someone answered her riddle.
Oedipus brags that he alone was able to solve the puzzle. Tiresias defends his skills as a
prophet, noting that Oedipus’s parents found him trustworthy. At this mention of his

parents, Oedipus, who grew up in the distant city of Corinth, asks how Tiresias knew his
parents. But Tiresias answers enigmatically. Then, before leaving the stage, Tiresias puts
forth one last riddle, saying that the murderer of Laius will turn out to be both father
and brother to his own children, and the son of his own wife.
After Tiresias leaves, Oedipus threatens Creon with death or exile for
conspiring with the prophet. Oedipus’s wife, Jocasta (also the widow of King Laius),
enters and asks why the men shout at one another. Oedipus explains to Jocasta that the
prophet has charged him with Laius’s murder, and Jocasta replies that all prophecies are
false. As proof, she notes that the Delphic oracle once told Laius he would be murdered
by his son, when in fact his son was cast out of Thebes as a baby, and Laius was
murdered by a band of thieves. Her description of Laius’s murder, however, sounds
familiar to Oedipus, and he asks further questions. Jocasta tells him that Laius was killed
at a three-way crossroads, just before Oedipus arrived in Thebes. Oedipus, stunned, tells
his wife that he may be the one who murdered Laius. He tells Jocasta that, long ago,
when he was the prince of Corinth, he overheard someone mention at a banquet that
he was not really the son of the king and queen. He therefore traveled to the oracle of
Delphi, who did not answer him but did tell him he would murder his father and sleep
with his mother. Hearing this, Oedipus fled his home, never to return. It was then, on
the journey that would take him to Thebes, that Oedipus was confronted and harassed
by a group of travelers, whom he killed in self-defense. This skirmish occurred at the
very crossroads where Laius was killed.
Oedipus sends for the man who survived the attack, a shepherd, in the hope
that he will not be identified as the murderer. Outside the palace, a messenger
approaches Jocasta and tells her that he has come from Corinth to inform Oedipus that
his father, Polybus, is dead, and that Corinth has asked Oedipus to come and rule there
in his place. Jocasta rejoices, convinced that Polybus’s death from natural causes has
disproved the prophecy that Oedipus would murder his father. At Jocasta’s summons,
Oedipus comes outside, hears the news, and rejoices with her. He now feels much more
inclined to agree with the queen in deeming prophecies worthless and viewing chance
as the principle governing the world. But while Oedipus finds great comfort in the fact
that one-half of the prophecy has been disproved, he still fears the other half—the half
that claimed he would sleep with his mother.
The messenger remarks that Oedipus need not worry, because Polybus and his
wife, Merope, are not Oedipus’s biological parents. The messenger, a shepherd by
profession, knows firsthand that Oedipus came to Corinth as an orphan. One day long
ago, he was tending his sheep when another shepherd approached him carrying a baby,
its ankles pinned together. The messenger took the baby to the royal family of Corinth,
and they raised him as their own. That baby was Oedipus. Oedipus asks who the other
shepherd was, and the messenger answers that he was a servant of Laius.
Oedipus asks that this shepherd be brought forth to testify, but Jocasta,
beginning to suspect the truth, begs her husband not to seek more information. She
runs back into the palace. The shepherd then enters. Oedipus interrogates him, asking
who gave him the baby. The shepherd refuses to disclose anything, and Oedipus
threatens him with torture. Finally, he answers that the child came from the house of
Laius. Questioned further, he answers that the baby was in fact the child of Laius
himself, and that it was Jocasta who gave him the infant, ordering him to kill it, as it had
been prophesied that the child would kill his parents. But the shepherd pitied the child,
and decided that the prophecy could be avoided just as well if the child were to grow up
in a foreign city, far from his true parents. The shepherd therefore passed the boy on to
the shepherd in Corinth.

Realizing who he is and who his parents are, Oedipus screams that he sees the
truth and flees back into the palace. The shepherd and the messenger slowly exit the
stage. A second messenger enters and describes scenes of suffering. Jocasta has hanged
herself, and Oedipus, finding her dead, has pulled the pins from her robe and stabbed
out his own eyes. Oedipus now emerges from the palace, bleeding and begging to be
exiled. He asks Creon to send him away from Thebes and to look after his daughters,
Antigone and Ismene. Creon, covetous of royal power, is all too happy to oblige.

Oedipus - The protagonist of Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonus.Oedipus
becomes king of Thebes before the action of Oedipus the Kingbegins. He is renowned
for his intelligence and his ability to solve riddles—he saved the city of Thebes and was
made its king by solving the riddle of the Sphinx, the supernatural being that had held
the city captive. Yet Oedipus is stubbornly blind to the truth about himself. His name’s
literal meaning (“swollen foot”) is the clue to his identity—he was taken from the house
of Laius as a baby and left in the mountains with his feet bound together. On his way to
Thebes, he killed his biological father, not knowing who he was, and proceeded to marry
Jocasta, his biological mother.
Jocasta - Oedipus’s wife and mother, and Creon’s sister. Jocasta appears only in the
final scenes ofOedipus the King.In her first words, she attempts to make peace between
Oedipus and Creon, pleading with Oedipus not to banish Creon. She is comforting to her
husband and calmly tries to urge him to reject Tiresias’s terrifying prophecies as false.
Jocasta solves the riddle of Oedipus’s identity before Oedipus does, and she expresses
her love for her son and husband in her desire to protect him from this knowledge.
Antigone - Child of Oedipus and Jocasta, and therefore both Oedipus’s daughter and his
sister. Antigone appears briefly at the end of Oedipus the King, when she says goodbye
to her father as Creon prepares to banish Oedipus. She appears at greater length in
Oedipus at Colonus, leading and caring for her old, blind father in his exile. But Antigone
comes into her own inAntigone. As that play’s protagonist, she demonstrates a courage
and clarity of sight unparalleled by any other character in the three Theban plays.
Whereas other characters—Oedipus, Creon, Polynices—are reluctant to acknowledge
the consequences of their actions, Antigone is unabashed in her conviction that she has
done right.
Creon - Oedipus’s brother-in-law, Creon appears more than any other character in the
three plays combined. In him more than anyone else we see the gradual rise and fall of
one man’s power. Early in Oedipus the King,Creon claims to have no desire for kingship.
Yet, when he has the opportunity to grasp power at the end of that play, Creon seems
quite eager. We learn inOedipus at Colonus that he is willing to fight with his nephews
for this power, and in Antigone Creon rules Thebes with a stubborn blindness that is
similar to Oedipus’s rule. But Creon never has our sympathy in the way Oedipus does,
because he is bossy and bureaucratic, intent on asserting his own authority.
Polynices - Son of Oedipus, and thus also his brother. Polynices appears only very
briefly in Oedipus at Colonus. He arrives at Colonus seeking his father’s blessing in his
battle with his brother, Eteocles, for power in Thebes. Polynices tries to point out the
similarity between his own situation and that of Oedipus, but his words seem
opportunistic rather than filial, a fact that Oedipus points out.
Tiresias - Tiresias, the blind soothsayer of Thebes, appears in both Oedipus the King and
Antigone. In Oedipus the King, Tiresias tells Oedipus that he is the murderer he hunts,
and Oedipus does not believe him. In Antigone,Tiresias tells Creon that Creon himself is

bringing disaster upon Thebes, and Creon does not believe him. Yet, both Oedipus and
Creon claim to trust Tiresias deeply. The literal blindness of the soothsayer points to the
metaphorical blindness of those who refuse to believe the truth about themselves when
they hear it spoken.
Haemon - Creon’s son, who appears only inAntigone.Haemon is engaged to marry
Antigone. Motivated by his love for her, he argues with Creon about the latter’s decision
to punish her.
Ismene - Oedipus’s daughter Ismene appears at the end of Oedipus the King and to a
limited extent in Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone. Ismene’s minor part underscores her
sister’s grandeur and courage. Ismene fears helping Antigone bury Polynices but offers
to die beside Antigone when Creon sentences her to die. Antigone, however, refuses to
allow her sister to be martyred for something she did not have the courage to stand up
Theseus - The king of Athens in Oedipus at Colonus. A renowned and powerful warrior,
Theseus takes pity on Oedipus and defends him against Creon. Theseus is the only one
who knows the spot at which Oedipus descended to the underworld—a secret he
promises Oedipus he will hold forever.
Chorus - Sometimes comically obtuse or fickle, sometimes perceptive, sometimes
melodramatic, the Chorus reacts to the events onstage. The Chorus’s reactions can be
lessons in how the audience should interpret what it is seeing, or how it should not
interpret what it is seeing.

Hinilawod (Filipino)

Hinilawod: Adventures of Humadapnon

The term "Hinilawod" means Tales from the Mouth of The Halawod River".
Hinilawod is an epic poem written by the early inhabitants of a place called Sulod in
central Panay. Hinilawod is not just a literary piece but also a source of information
about culture, religion and rituals of the ancient people of Sulod; showing us that
ancient Filipinos believed in the “sacred,” in the importance of family honor and in
personal courage and dignity. Hinilawod was first discovered “by accident” in 1955,
when F. Landa Jocano, Filipino anthropologist became interested in native folklore. He
traveled the hinterlands of his home province, Panay, with two colleagues collecting folk
songs, stories, and riddles. It was during one of those trips to the upland barrios of
Lambunao, Maasin, Janiuay, and Calinog in Iloilo that his attention was called to a long
and popular tale called Hinilawod. Portions of the story were sung to him and his
colleague by an old man called Ulang Udig.
SUMMARY: Adventures of Datu Paubari and his Sons
When the goddess of the eastern sky Alunsina (also known as Laun Sina, "The
Unmarried One") reached maidenhood, the king of the gods, Kaptan, decreed that she
should marry. All the unmarried gods of the different domains of the universe tried their
luck to win her hand to no avail. She chose to marry a mortal, Datu Paubari, the mighty
ruler of Halawod. Her decision angered her other suitors. They plotted to bring harm to
the newlyweds. A meeting of the council of gods was called by Maklium-sa-t'wan, god of
the plains, where a decision by those present was made to destroy Halawod by flood.
Alunsina and Paubari escaped harm through the assistance of Suklang Malayon, the
goddess and guardian of happy homes and sister of Alunsina, who learned of the evil

plot and warned the two so they were able to seek refuge on higher ground. After the
flood waters subsided, Paubari and Alunsina returned to the plains secretly. They settled
near the mouth of the Halawod River. Several months later Alunsina became pregnant
and told Paubari to prepare the siklot, things necessary for childbirth. She delivered a
set of triplets and summoned the high priest BungotBanwa to perform the rites of the
gods of Mount Madya-as (the mountain abode of the gods)to ensure the good health of
the children. The high priest promptly made an altar and burned some alanghiran fronds
and a pinch of kamangyan. When the ceremony was over he opened the windows of the
north side of the room and a cold northernly wind came in and suddenly the three
infants were transformed into strong, handsome young men. Labaw Donggon, the
eldest of the three, asked his mother to prepare his magic cape, hat, belt and kampilan
(sword) for he heard of a place called Handug where a beautiful maiden named Angoy
Ginbitinan lived. The journey took several days. He walked across plains and valleys,
climbed up mountains until he reached the mouth of the Halawod river. When he finally
met the maiden's father and asked for her hand in marriage, the father asked him to
fight the monster Manalintad as part of his dowry. He went off to confront the monster
and with the help of his magic belt Labaw Donggon killed the monster and to prove his
feat he brought to Angoy Ginbitinan's father the monster's tail. After the wedding
Labaw Donggon proceeded home with his new bride. Along the way they met a group of
young men who told him that they were on their way to Tarambang Burok to win the
hand of Abyang Durunuun, sister of Sumpoy the lord of the underworld and whose
beauty was legendary. Labaw Donggon and his bride continued on their journey home.
The moment they arrived home Labaw Donggon told his mother to take care of his wife
because he is taking another quest, this time he was going to Tarambang Burok. Before
he can get to the place he has to pass a ridge guarded by a giant named Sikay
Padalogdog who has a hundred arms. The giant would not allow Labaw Donggon to go
through without a fight. However, Sikay Padalogdog was no match to Labaw Donggon's
prowess and skill in fighting so he gave up and allowed him to continue. Labaw Donggon
won the hand of Abyang Durunuun and also took her home. Before long he went on
another journey, this time it is to Gadlum to ask for the hand of Malitong Yawa
Sinagmaling Diwata who is the young bride of Saragnayan the lord of darkness.This trip
required him to use his biday nga inagta (black boat) on which he sailed across the seas
for many months, went across the region of the clouds, passed the land of stones until
finally he reached the shores of Tulogmatian which was the seaside fortress of
Saragnayan. The moment he set foot on the ground Saragnayan asked him, "Who are
you and why are you here?" To which he answered, "I am Labaw Donggon, son of Datu
Paubari and goddess Alunsina of Halawod. I came for the beautiful Malitong Yawa
Sinagmaling Diwata."Saragnayan laughed. He told Labaw Donggon that what he wished
for was impossible to grant because she was his wife. Labaw Donggon then challenged
Saragnayan to a duel saying that whoever wins will have her.The challenge was
accepted and they started fighting. Labaw Donggon submerged Saragnayan under water
for seven years, but when he let go of him, Saragnayan was still alive. The latter
uprooted a coconut tree and started beating Labaw Donggon with it. He survived the
beating but was not able to surpass the powers of Saragnayan's pamlang (amulet) and
eventually he gave up and was imprisoned by Saragnayan beneath his house.Back home
Angoy Ginbitinan and Abyang Durunuun both delivered sons. Angoy Ginbitinan's child
was named Aso Mangga and Abyang Durunuun's son was called Abyang Baranugon.
Only a few days after they were born Aso Mangga and Abyang Baranugon embarked to
look for their father. They rode their sailboats through the region of eternal darkness,
passed the region of the clouds and the land of stones, finally reaching Saragnayan's
home. Saragnayan noticed that Abyang Baranugon's umbilical cord have not yet been
removed, he laughed and told the child to go home to his mother. Abyang Baranugon
was slighted by the remarks and immediately challenged Saragnayan to a duel. They

fought and Abyang Baranugon defeated Saragnayan and won his father's freedom.
Labaw Donggon's defeat and subsequent imprisonment by the Lord of Darkness also
angered his brothers. Humadapnon was so enraged that he swore to the gods of
Madya-as that he Humadapnon prepared to go to Saragnayan's domain. He employed
the aid of Buyong Matanayon of Mount Matiula who was well-known for his skill in
swordsmanship. For their journey they rode on a sailboat called biday nga rumba-
rumba. They travelled through the region of the clouds, passed by the region of eternal
darkness and ended up at a place called Tarambang Buriraw. In this place was a ridge
called Talagas Kuting-tang where a seductive sorceress named Piganun lived. Piganun
changed herself to a beautiful maiden and captured the heart of Humadapnon. Buyong
Matanayon begged with Humadapnon to leave the place with him but the latter
refused. After seven months passed, Buyong Matanayon remembered that they have
brought with them some ginger. One evening at dinner time Buyong Matanayon threw
seven slices of ginger into the fire. When Pinganun smelled the odor of burning ginger
she left the dinner table because sorcerers hated the odor of ginger. Immediately
Buyong Matanayon struck Humadapnon, who became unconscious. He dragged his
friend with him and they were able to escape. They continued with their trek and
everywhere they went they exacted revenge on all of Saragnayan's people and relatives.
One day they reached a place called Piniling Tubig who was ruled by Datu Umbaw
Pinaumbaw. There was a big gathering in the village and when they asked what was
going on they were told that the datu was giving his daughter for marriage to whoever
could remove the huge boulder that rolled from a mountain into the center of the
village. Many men tried their luck but no one so far was able to even move the stone.
Humadapnon took off his magic cape and used it to lift the stone and threw it back into
the mountain. The datu kept his word and Humadapnon married his daughter. During
the wedding feast Humadapnon heared about the beauty of the goddess of greed
Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan from a guest minstrel who sang at the celebration.
After the wedding Humadapnon went to seek the hand of the goddess in marriage.
Along the way he encountered Buyong Makabagting, son of the mighty Datu
Balahidyong of Paling Bukid who was also travelling with the same purpose in mind.
Upon learning of Humadapnon's intent, Buyong Makabagting challenged him to a duel.
They fought and Buyong Makabagting was no match to Humadapnon's strength and
skill. The fight ended when Buyong Makabagting surrendered and even promised to aid
Humadapnon in his quest. Humadapnon married the goddess and brought her home.
Meanwhile, right after Humadapnon left to seek Saragnayan's followers and relatives his
brother Dumalapdap left for Burutlakan-ka-adlaw where the maiden Lubay-Lubyok
Hanginun si Mahuyokhuyokon lived. For the trip he brought along Dumasig, the most
powerful wrestler in Madya-as. Several months later they came to a place called
Tarambuan-ka-banwa where they encountered the two-headed monster Balanakon
who guarded a narrow ridge leading to the place where the maiden lived. With the aid
of Dumasig, Dumalapdap killed Balanakon. However, upon approaching the gate of the
palace where the maiden lived he was confronted by Uyutang, a batlike monster with
sharp poisonous claws. There ensued a bloody battle between the Humadapnon and
the monster. They fought for seven months and their skill and prowess seemed to be
equal. But on the seventh month, Humadapnon was able to grab on to Uyutang's ankle
and broke it. Then he took his iwang daniwan (magic dagger) and stabbed Uyutang
under the armpit. Uyutang cried out so loud that the ridge where they were fighting
broke into two and there was an earthquake. Half of the ridge became the island of
Buglas (Negros) and the other became the island of Panay. Dumalapdap married Lubay-
Lubyok Hanginun si Mahuyokhuyokan and then took her home. Datu Paubari was very
happy when he was reunited with his three sons and he prepared a feast in their honor.
After the celebration, the three brothers left for different parts of the world. Labaw

Donggon went to the north, Humadapnon went south, Dumalapdap to the west and
Datu Paubari remained in the east.
The Adventures of Humadapnon
A message from his spirit friends, Taghoy and Duwindi, came to Humadapnon
in his sleep. In his dream he was told that a lovely maiden named Nagmalitong Yawa
lived in a village by the mouth of the Halawod river. Humadpnon was the chief of the
Sulod Nation whose people occupied an area close to the source of the Pan-ay river.
Humadapnon went to look for the maiden. He rode his golden boat for the journey. One
day his boat was taken by a mysterious force that led it to a stagnant sea where the
water was the color of human blood. It took Humadapnon and his crew seven months to
cross this body of water. They all thought they were safe until a strong wind came upon
them and the boat was blown into a passage near the mouth of the Saruma river where
two islands continuously hit each other at intervals. With the help of his spirit friends
Humadapnon was able to navigate his boat through the channel safely.One day they
came upon an island called Tarangban which was inhabited by beautiful women headed
by a sorceress named Ginmayunan. Through the use of her charms and magic she
persuaded Humadapnon to stay. Later Humadapnon and his crew were imprisoned by
the women in the island for seven years. Taghoy and Duwindi went to seek the help of
Nagmalitong Yawa to free their friend. Nagmalitong Yawa, disguised as a man named
Buyung Sunmasakay, won the freedom of Humadapnon and his crew. Afterwards
Buyung Sunmasakay performed a ritual which removed the charms of Ginmayunan on
Humadapnon. When Buyung Sunmasakay transformed back into Nagmalitong Yawa,
Humadapnon was struck by her beauty and immediately asked for her hand in marriage.
The maiden, who also was in love with him, told Humadapnon that she has to go back
home to ask the blessings of her parents before she gets married. So they proceeded to
Halawod. Along the way Humadapnon encountered Buyung Paglambuhan who ruled an
island fortress in the middle of the sea. He vanquished the latter. Humadapnon and
Nagmalitong Yawa were married in Halawod. During the wedding feast, Dumalapdap
met Huyung Adlaw, the daughter of one of the guests, Nabalansang Sukla who was the
god of the Upperworld. Dumalapdap requested his brother Humadapnon to help him
talk to the maiden's parents. They planned to go to the Upperworld after the wedding
feast. The journey took seven years. Matan-ayon, Humadapnon's mother suggested to
Malitong Yawa that she should marry again for it seems that her husband is not coming
back. Nagmalitong Yawa decided to re-marry this time to a man named Buyung
Sumagulung, son of Mamang Paglambuhan who ruled an island fortress. The wedding
ceremony was about to start when Humadapnon and Dumalapdap returned. At a
distance Humadapnon blew his horn to signal his arrival. Those who were gathered for
the ceremony grew fearful and some of the men went to the shoreline to meet the
brothers and inform them of what was happening. The two were so angered that they
killed all guests and the groom. Humadapnon confronted his wife about her treachery.
She explained that it was his mother who made the suggestion for her to re-marry.
Humadapnon stabbed his wife to death. Later his conscience bothered him for what he
did to his wife. His spirit friends also told him that his wife was not at fault and that what
he did was unjust. With remorse in his heart he approached his sister Labing Anyag and
asked for her help for she had the power to bring back life to the dead. Seeing that her
brother was geniunely sorry for what he did, she complied and brought back
Nagmalitong Yawa from the dead. Nagmalitong Yawa also felt shame for what she did to
her husband so she ran away from him and went to Humadapnon followed her to the
Underworld killing the eight-headed snake that guarded the channel leading to the
place. She ran towards the Upperworld but half-way between the Middleworld and the
Upperworld she was spirited away by a young man riding on the shoulders of the wind.
Humadapnon caught up with them and challenged the stranger to a duel. They fought

for seven years with no one gaining the upperhand. The long fight was being witnessed
by Alunsina from above. She got tired watching the contest so she came down to settle
the case. During the deliberations it was revealed to everyone's surprise that the
stanger was Amarotha, also a son of Alunsina who died at childbirth but was brought
back to life by her to keep her company. Alunsina decided that each man was entitled to
a part of Nagmalitong Yawa so she ordered that the latter's body be cut in half. One half
went to Humadapnon and the other to Amarotha. Alunsina then turned each half into a
whole live person. Humadapnon brought his wife back to Panay and ruled the island for

Paubari - The mortal who dared to woo the goddess of the skies.
Alunsina - The goddess of the skies, who, at the beginning of the tale is set to choose a
god whom she will marry.
Haring Kaptan - The father of Alunsina.
Bakhaw - The lord of the forest and suitor to Alunsina.
Balud - The lord of the seas and suitor to Alunsina.
Panganud - The lord of the skies and suitor to Alunsina.
Bungot Banwa - The high priest.
The dama - Ladies-in-Waiting for the Princess Alunsina.
Labaw Donggon - The eldest son of Alunsina and Paubari.
Ginbitinan - Princess of Handug and 1st wife to Labaw Donggon.
Durunuun - Princess of the Underworld and 2nd wife to Labaw Donggon.
Manaludtod - The dragon that dared go against Labaw Donggon.
Sikay Padalogdog - The hundred-armed monster that went against Labaw Donggon

http://www.scribd.com/doc/68062171/Hinilawod On January 26, 2013 at 6:30pm

Hans Christian Andersen’s Tales (Danish)

Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish author and poet who is best
remembered for his fairytales. He was born in the town of Odense, Denmark on April 2,
1805. His stories called eventyrs or “fantastic tales” express themes that transcend age
and nationality. Andersen's birthday is celebrated as International Children's Book Day.
Some of the fairytales he had written are The Ugly Duckling, The Little Mermaid, The
Emperor’s New Clothes, Thumbelina, The Little Match Girl and more.

"The Little Match Girl" (Published on December 1845)
It was so terribly cold. Snow was falling, and it was almost dark. Evening came
on, the last evening of the year. In the cold and gloom a poor little girl, bareheaded and
barefoot, was walking through the streets. Of course when she had left her house she'd
had slippers on, but what good had they been? They were very big slippers, way too big
for her, for they belonged to her mother. The little girl had lost them running across the
road, where two carriages had rattled by terribly fast. One slipper she'd not been able to
find again, and a boy had run off with the other, saying he could use it very well as a
cradle some day when he had children of his own. And so the little girl walked on her
naked feet, which were quite red and blue with the cold. In an old apron she carried
several packages of matches, and she held a box of them in her hand. No one had
bought any from her all day long, and no one had given her a cent.
Shivering with cold and hunger, she crept along, a picture of misery. The
snowflakes fell on her long fair hair, which hung in pretty curls over her neck. In all the
windows lights were shining, and there was a wonderful smell of roast goose, for it was
New Year's Eve. In a corner formed by two houses, she sat down and drew up her little
feet under her. She was getting colder and colder, but did not dare to go home, for she
had sold no matches, nor earned a single cent, and her father would surely beat her.
Besides, it was cold at home, for they had nothing over them but a roof through which
the wind whistled even though the biggest cracks had been stuffed with straw and rags.
Her hands were almost dead with cold. Oh, how much one little match might
warm her! She drew one out. It made a warm, bright flame, like a little candle, as she
held her hands over it; but it gave a strange light! It really seemed to the little girl as if
she were sitting before a great iron stove with shining brass knobs and a brass cover.
How wonderfully the fire burned! How comfortable it was! The youngster stretched out
her feet to warm them too; then the little flame went out, the stove vanished, and she
had only the remains of the burnt match in her hand.
She struck another match against the wall. It burned brightly, and when the
light fell upon the wall it became transparent like a thin veil, and she could see through
it into a room. On the table a snow-white cloth was spread, and on it stood a shining
dinner service. The roast goose steamed gloriously, stuffed with apples and prunes. And
what was still better, the goose jumped down from the dish and waddled along the floor
with a knife and fork in its breast, right over to the little girl. Then the match went out,
and she could see only the thick, cold wall. She lighted another match. Then she was
sitting under the most beautiful Christmas tree. It was much larger and much more
beautiful than the one she had seen last Christmas. Thousands of candles burned on the
green branches, and colored pictures like those in the printshops looked down at her.
The little girl reached both her hands toward them. Then the match went out. But the
Christmas lights mounted higher. She saw them now as bright stars in the sky. One of
them fell down, forming a long line of fire.
"Now someone is dying," thought the little girl, for her old grandmother, the
only person who had loved her, and who was now dead, had told her that when a star
fell down a soul went up to God.
She rubbed another match against the wall. It became bright again, and in the
glow the old grandmother stood clear and shining, kind and lovely.
"Grandmother!" cried the child. "Oh, take me with you! I know you will
disappear when the match is burned out. You will vanish like the warm stove, the
wonderful roast goose and the beautiful big Christmas tree!"

And she quickly struck the whole bundle of matches, for she wished to keep
her grandmother with her. And the matches burned with such a glow that it became
brighter than daylight. Grandmother took the little girl in her arms, and both of them
flew in brightness and joy above the earth, very, very high, and up there was neither
cold, nor hunger, nor fear-they were with God.
But in the corner, leaning against the wall, sat the little girl with red cheeks and
smiling mouth, frozen to death on the last evening of the old year. The New Year's sun
rose upon a little pathetic figure. The child sat there, stiff and cold, holding the matches,
of which one bundle was almost burned.
"She wanted to warm herself," the people said. No one imagined what
beautiful things she had seen, and how happily she had gone with her old grandmother
into the bright New Year.
"The Emperor's New Clothes" (Published on April 7, 1837)
There was an Emperor so exceedingly fond of new clothes that he spent all his
money on being well dressed. He had a coat for every hour of the day.
One day came two swindlers. They let it be known they were weavers, and they
said they could weave the most magnificent fabrics imaginable. Not only were their
colors and patterns uncommonly fine, but clothes made of this cloth had a wonderful
way of becoming invisible to anyone who was unfit for his office, or who was unusually
"Those would be just the clothes for me," thought the Emperor. "If I wore them
I would be able to discover which men in my empire are unfit for their posts. And I could
tell the wise men from the fools. Yes, I certainly must get some of the stuff woven for
me right away." He paid the two swindlers a large sum of money to start work at once.
They set up two looms and pretended to weave, though there was nothing on
the looms. All the finest silk and the purest old thread which they demanded went into
their traveling bags, while they worked the empty looms far into the night.
"I'd like to know how those weavers are getting on with the cloth," the
Emperor thought.
"I'll send my honest old minister to the weavers," the Emperor decided. "He'll
be the best one to tell me how the material looks, for he's a sensible man and no one
does his duty better."
So the honest old minister went to the room where the two swindlers sat
working away at their empty looms.
"Heaven help me," he thought as his eyes flew wide open, "I can't see anything
at all". But he did not say so.
Both the swindlers begged him to be so kind as to come near to approve the
excellent pattern, the beautiful colors. They pointed to the empty looms, and the poor
old minister stared as hard as he dared. He couldn't see anything, because there was
nothing to see. "Heaven have mercy," he thought. "Can it be that I'm a fool? I'd have
never guessed it, and not a soul must know. Am I unfit to be the minister? It would
never do to let on that I can't see the cloth."
"Don't hesitate to tell us what you think of it," said one of the weavers.
"Oh, it's beautiful -it's enchanting." The old minister peered through his
spectacles. "Such a pattern, what colors!" I'll be sure to tell the Emperor how delighted I
am with it."

"We're pleased to hear that," the swindlers said. They proceeded to name all
the colors and to explain the intricate pattern.
The Emperor presently sent another trustworthy official to see how the work
progressed and how soon it would be ready. The same thing happened to him that had
happened to the minister. He looked and he looked, but as there was nothing to see in
the looms he couldn't see anything.
"Isn't it a beautiful piece of goods?" the swindlers asked him, as they displayed
and described their imaginary pattern.
"I know I'm not stupid," the man thought, "so it must be that I'm unworthy of
my good office. That's strange. I mustn't let anyone find it out, though." So he praised
the material he did not see. He declared he was delighted with the beautiful colors and
the exquisite pattern. To the Emperor he said, "It held me spellbound."
The Emperor wanted to see it for himself while it was still in the looms. He
found them weaving with might and main, but without a thread in their looms.
"Magnificent," said the two officials already duped. "Just look, Your Majesty,
what colors! What a design!" They pointed to the empty looms, each supposing that the
others could see the stuff.
"What's this?" thought the Emperor. "I can't see anything. This is terrible! Am I
a fool? Am I unfit to be the Emperor? What a thing to happen to me of all people! - Oh!
It's very pretty," he said. "It has my highest approval." And he nodded approbation at
the empty loom. Nothing could make him say that he couldn't see anything.
His whole retinue stared and stared. One saw no more than another, but they
all joined the Emperor in exclaiming, "Oh! It's very pretty," and they advised him to wear
clothes made of this wonderful cloth especially for the great procession he was soon to
lead. "Magnificent! Excellent! Unsurpassed!" were bandied from mouth to mouth, and
everyone did his best to seem well pleased.
The swindlers pretended to take the cloth off the loom. They made cuts in the
air with huge scissors. And at last they said, "Now the Emperor's new clothes are ready
for him."
Then the Emperor himself came with his noblest noblemen, and the swindlers
each raised an arm as if they were holding something. They said, "These are the
trousers, here's the coat, and this is the mantle," naming each garment. "All of them are
as light as a spider web. One would almost think he had nothing on, but that's what
makes them so fine."
"Exactly," all the noblemen agreed, though they could see nothing, for there
was nothing to see.
The Emperor undressed, and the swindlers pretended to put his new clothes on
him, one garment after another. They took him around the waist and seemed to be
fastening something - that was his train-as the Emperor turned round and round before
the looking glass.
"How well Your Majesty's new clothes look. Aren't they becoming!" He heard
on all sides, "That pattern, so perfect! Those colors, so suitable! It is a magnificent
Then the minister of public processions announced: "Your Majesty's canopy is
waiting outside."

"Well, I'm supposed to be ready," the Emperor said, and turned again for one
last look in the mirror. "It is a remarkable fit, isn't it?" He seemed to regard his costume
with the greatest interest.
The noblemen who were to carry his train stooped low and reached for the
floor as if they were picking up his mantle. Then they pretended to lift and hold it high.
They didn't dare admit they had nothing to hold.
So off went the Emperor in procession under his splendid canopy. Everyone in
the streets and the windows said, "Oh, how fine are the Emperor's new clothes! Don't
they fit him to perfection? And see his long train!" Nobody would confess that he
couldn't see anything, for that would prove him either unfit for his position, or a fool. No
costume the Emperor had worn before was ever such a complete success.
"But he hasn't got anything on," a little child said.
"Did you ever hear such innocent prattle?" said its father. And one person
whispered to another what the child had said, "He hasn't anything on. A child says he
hasn't anything on."
"But he hasn't got anything on!" the whole town cried out at last.
The Emperor shivered, for he suspected they were right. But he thought, "This
procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen
held high the train that wasn't there at all.

Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Christian_Andersen on January 26,
2013 at 4:02pm
Retrieved from http://www.andersen.sdu.dk/vaerk/hersholt/TheLittleMatchGirl_e.html
on January 26, 2013 at 4:30pm
Retrieved from
http://www.andersen.sdu.dk/vaerk/hersholt/TheEmperorsNewClothes_e.html on
January 26, 2013 at 4:45pm

Children’s and Household Tales or Grimm’s Fairy Tales (German)

Grimm Brothers
The Brothers Grimm are Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, German professors best
known for publishing collections of authentic folk tales and fairy tales. In 1812, The first
volume of the first edition was published, containing 86 stories; the second volume of
70 stories followed in 1814. For the second edition, two volumes were issued in 1819
and a third in 1822, totalling 170 tales. The third edition appeared in 1837; fourth
edition, 1840; fifth edition, 1843; sixth edition, 1850; seventh edition, 1857. Stories
were added, and also subtracted, from one edition to the next, until the seventh held
211 tales. All editions were extensively illustrated, first by Philipp Grot Johann and, after
his death in 1892, by Robert Leinweber

God Father Death

A poor man has twelve children, and works just hard enough to feed each of
them every day. When his thirteenth child was born, the man decided to find a
godfather for this child. So he runs out into the highway, and found God walking on the
highway. God asked to be the godfather, promising the child health and happiness. The
man, after finding out that the man was God, declined, saying that God condoned
poverty, and was ignorant that God rewards suffering in Heaven. Then the man met the
Devil on the highway. The Devil then asked to be the godfather, offering the child gold
and the world's joys. The man, after finding out that the man was the Devil, declined,
saying that the Devil deceives mankind.
The man, still walking down the highway, meets Death. The man decides to
make Death the child's godfather, saying that Death takes away the rich and the poor,
without discrimination. The next Sunday, Death became the child's godfather.
When the boy came of age, Death appeared to him and led him into the woods, where
special herbs grew. There, Death promised the boy to make him a famous physician.
Death then explained that whenever the boy would visit an ill person, Death would
appear next to the sick one. If Death stands at the persons head, that person is to be
given the special herb found in the forest, and cured. But, if Death appears at the
persons feet, any treatment on them would be useless, as they would soon die.
The boy soon becomes famous, just as Death had foreseen, and received plenty of gold
for his amazing ability to see whether a person would live or die. Soon, the king of all
the lands became ill, and sent for this famous physician.
When the physician went to see the king, he noticed immediately Death
standing at the foot of the king's bed. The physician felt pity for the king, and decided to
trick Death. The physician then turned the king in his bed so that Death was over his
head, and gave him the herb to eat. This healed the king, and sped his recovery.
Soon after, Death approached the physician, expressing his anger for tricking him and
disobeying Death's rules. But because the physician was Death's godchild, he did not
punish him. Death then warned the physician that if he was to ever trick Death again, he
would take the physician's life.
Not much later, the king's daughter became ill as well, and the physician went
to see her as well. It was there that the king promised his daughter's hand in marriage
and inherit the crown if he was to cure her. When the physician visited the princess, he
saw Death at her feet. But the physician ignored this, as he was captivated by the

princess's beauty and thoughts of being her husband. He then turned the princess so
that Death was at her head, then fed her the herb.
Just as the princess was coming around, Death grasped the physician by the
arm and dragged him to an underground cavern. In this cave were thousands upon
thousands of candles, each melted at different lengths. Death explained that the length
of the candle showed how much longer a person has to live. When Death showed the
physician his candle, he noticed that it was very short, showing that he didn't have much
longer to live.
The physician pleaded with his godfather to light a new candle for him, so that
he may live a happy life as king and husband to the beautiful princess. Death
reconsidered, and gathered a new candle to pass the flame of his godchild.
Just as he was going to light the new candle, Death took his revenge on the physician by
letting the flame of the first candle fall. As soon as the candle extinguished, the
physician fell to the ground, dead.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grimms%27_Fairy_Tales on January 27, 2013 at 10pm
http://www.grimmstories.com/en/grimm_fairy-tales/godfather_death on January 27,
2013 at 10:30pm

The Tale of Genji (Japanese)


- It is a classic work of Japanese literature written by the Japanese noble woman and
lady-in-waiting Murasaki Shikibu in the early years of the 11th century, around the peak
of the Heian period.
-Written 1,000 years ago, The Tale of Genji has 54 chapters and over 1,000 pages of text
in its English translation. It is generally considered to be the world's first true novel, and
was certainly the first psychological novel ever written.
-It also serves as a kind of travel guide to the world of Genji.


There was once a time when one of the Ladies of the Imperial Court became
the special favorite of the Emperor and bore him a healthy baby boy. This was much to
the upset of the other ladies who, through their continuous jealousy and hostility, made
the favored lady quite ill. Eventually all the tormenting drove her to an early grave.
The beautiful boy grew up and seemed destined to become the Crown Prince.
However, because he lacked the backing of powerful guardians at the Court, the
Emperor knew he would not be happy as Crown Prince. So, instead, he appointed him as
one of his retainers and gave him the name, Genji. From then on he was known as
'Hikaru Genji' (The 'Shining' Genji).
When Genji was still very young, the Emperor took a new wife, named
Fujitsubo, a lady who bore an uncanny resemblance to the tragic lady who had been
Genji's mother. Genji's longing for the mother he had never really known led to an
infatuation for Fujitsubo which, some years later, resulted in her conceiving a child by

Genji (the future Emperor Reizei). (This illicit affair was one that haunted Genji for the
rest of his life).
While Genji was married to a lady called Aoi no Ue, later in the story he
happened to meet a young girl called Murasaki no Ue who, it turned out, was
Fujitsubo's niece. She was living in pitiful circumstances so Genji took her away to raise
her so that one day she might make a perfect lady.
As well as the ladies already mentioned, Genji romantically pursued many
women including the widow of the former Crown Prince, a married woman, a lady who
was his best friend's lover, a very naive Princess, and an old maid of nearly 60. Perhaps
most surprisingly, Genji also romanced the daughter of his main politically enemy. His
love for the ladies in his life was always pure and sincere but connected to his unfulfilled
longing for the beautiful mother he had lost so young.
Around the time when his brother the Emperor Suzaku succeeded his father as
Emperor, Genji was forced to leave Kyoto and into exile in a remote area near to
present-day Kobe. The fall from grace was the result of his scandalous affair with the
daughter of one of his political enemies. He spent his exile quietly but, nevertheless,
pursued a new romance, having an affair with Akashi no Kimi, the daughter of another
Kyoto aristocrat. This relationship also resulted in a child, this time a girl. When his
brother abdicated as Emperor, Genji's son became the new Emperor (Emperor Reizei).
As a result, Genji quickly recovered his political power, becoming a Minister and walking
the path of a highly influential politician.
Genji built a palatial mansion, known as 'The Rokujo Estate' invited all his ladies
to live with him and seemingly achieved an almost ideal lifestyle. However, after he
decided to take a new lady, known as 'Onna San no Miya' as his wife, life at the Rokujo
Estate began to lose its luster. She was the daughter of Genji's dying brother, the
Emperor Suzaku and the complicated personal relations between all his ladies became a
nuisance. He was no longer a young man. Even more unfortunate was that a young man
named Kashiwagi, the son of Genji's best friend, seduced the somewhat naive Onna San
no Miya. The result of this liaison was a child, a boy named Kaoru, who later became the
central character in the closing 'The Ten Uji Chapters' Genji felt he only had himself to
blame and that fate was punishing him. He too, in his younger days, had illicitly fathered
a child, the baby born to Fujitsubo and the boy that became the Emperor Reizei. The
irony left such a deep wound in his heart that he decided to go into self-exile.
It is at this point in the 'Tale' that the story of Genji himself ends and the
narrative jumps to the final section, a time after Genji's death, set in the city of Uji, and
follows two protagonists. One of them was Kaoru, Genji's youngest child, reportedly the
exact likeness of his father and the other was Niou no Miya, Genji's grandson. These last
ten chapters also involve three beautiful ladies and depict the sad love stories that befall
all these characters.
Genji - The eponymous hero of the tale, he is the son of an emperor (usually referred to
as Kiritsubo Emperor) and of a low-ranking imperial concubine (known to readers as
Lady Kiritsubo or Kiritsubo Kōi).
Kiritsubo Lady – Genji’s mother and the favorite of Emperor Kiritsubo, Lady Kiritsubo is
disadvantaged at court because she lacks parental support. Her father, a Grand
Counselor, is already dead at the beginning of the narrative, and her mother cannot
provide her with political support

Kiritsubo Emperor - Genji’s father, who despite the large social gap between him and
the Kiritsubo Lady, maintains an unwavering devotion to her, tragically exposing her to
the jealousy of his other consorts.
Suzaku – The son of Kiritsubo Emperor by the Kokiden Lady, Genji’s half-brother and
grandson of the powerful Minister of the Right, he is named Heir Apparent, although the
Kiritsubo Emperor would have personally preferred to make Genji a Crown Prince.
Kokiden Lady – Kiritsubo Emperor's consort of higher rank (nyōgo) than Lady Kiritsubo
(kōi), she is the daughter of the powerful Minister of the Right. Bitterly jealous of the
emperor’s love for Kiritsubo, once her rival is dead, her animosity comes to affect her
rival’s son, Genji.
Fujitsubo – Daughter of a previous emperor and thus imperial princess, Fujitsubo enters
the service of Emperor Kiritsubo at the age of sixteen, mainly because of her
resemblance to the deceased Lady Kiritsubo.

Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tale_of_Genji on (January 27, 2013) at
Retrieved from http://www.uji-genji.jp/en/genji/world/ on (January 27, 2013) at

The Adventures of Don Quixote (Spanish)

Full Title: The Adventures of Don Quixote
Author: Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Type of Work: Novel
Genre: Parody; comedy; romance; morality novel
Language: Spanish
Time and Place Written: Spain; late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries
Date of First Publication: The First Part, 1605; the Second Part, 1615
Narrator: Cervantes, who claims to be translating the earlier work of Cide
Hamete Benengeli, a Moor who supposedly chronicled the true historical
adventures of Don Quixote
Point of View: Cervantes narrates most of the novel’s action in the third person,
following Don Quixote’s actions and only occasionally entering into the thoughts
of his characters. He switches into the first person, however, whenever he
discusses the novel itself or Benengeli’s original manuscript.
Tone: Cervantes maintains an ironic distance from the characters and events in
the novel, discussing them at times with mock seriousness.
Tense: Past, with some moments of present tense
Setting (Time): 1614

Setting (Place): Spain
Protagonist: Don Quixote
Major Conflict: The First Part: Don Quixote sets out with Sancho Panza on a life
of chivalric adventures in a world no longer governed by chivalric values; the
priest attempts to bring Don Quixote home and cure his madness. The Second
Part: Don Quixote continues his adventures with Sancho, and Sampson Carrasco
and the priest conspire to bring Don Quixote home by vanquishing him.
Rising Action: The First Part: Don Quixote wanders Spain and encounters many
strange adventures before the priest finds him doing penance in the Sierra
Morena. The Second Part: Don Quixote wanders Spain and has many
adventures, especially under the watch of a haughty Duke and Duchess.
Climax: The First Part: Don Quixote and the priest meet in the Sierra Morena,
and Dorothea begs for Don Quixote to help her avenge her stolen kingdom. The
Second Part: Sampson, disguised as the Knight of the White Moon, defeats Don
Falling Action: The First Part: the priest and the barber take Don Quixote home
in a cage, and Don Quixote resigns himself to the fact that he is enchanted. The
Second Part: Don Quixote returns home after his defeat and resolves to give up
Themes: Perspective and narration; incompatible systems of morality; the
distinction between class and worth
Motifs: Honor; romance; literature
Symbols: Books and manuscripts; horses; inns
Foreshadowing: Cervantes’s declaration at the end of the First Part that there
will be a second part and that Don Quixote will die in it, coupled with the niece’s
and the housekeeper’s fear that Don Quixote will run away again, hints at Don
Quixote’s fate in the Second Part.

Don Quixote is a middle-aged gentleman from the region of La Mancha
in central Spain. Obsessed with the chivalrous ideals touted in books he has
read, he decides to take up his lance and sword to defend the helpless and
destroy the wicked. After a first failed adventure, he sets out on a second one
with a somewhat befuddled laborer named Sancho Panza, whom he has
persuaded to accompany him as his faithful squire. In return for Sancho’s
services, Don Quixote promises to make Sancho the wealthy governor of an isle.
On his horse, Rocinante, a barn nag well past his prime, Don Quixote rides the
roads of Spain in search of glory and grand adventure. He gives up food, shelter,
and comfort, all in the name of a peasant woman, Dulcinea del Toboso, whom
he envisions as a princess. On his second expedition, Don Quixote becomes
more of a bandit than a savior, stealing from and hurting baffled and justifiably
angry citizens while acting out against what he perceives as threats to his
knighthood or to the world. Don Quixote abandons a boy, leaving him in the

hands of an evil farmer simply because the farmer swears an oath that he will
not harm the boy. He steals a barber’s basin that he believes to be the mythic
Mambrino’s helmet, and he becomes convinced of the healing powers of the
Balsam of Fierbras, an elixir that makes him so ill that, by comparison, he later
feels healed. Sancho stands by Don Quixote, often bearing the brunt of the
punishments that arise from Don Quixote’s behavior. The story of Don Quixote’s
deeds includes the stories of those he meets on his journey. Don Quixote
witnesses the funeral of a student who dies as a result of his love for a disdainful
lady turned shepherdess. He frees a wicked and devious galley slave, Gines de
Pasamonte, and unwittingly reunites two bereaved couples, Cardenio and
Lucinda, and Ferdinand and Dorothea. Torn apart by Ferdinand’s treachery, the
four lovers finally come together at an inn where Don Quixote sleeps, dreaming
that he is battling a giant. Along the way, the simple Sancho plays the straight
man to Don Quixote, trying his best to correct his master’s outlandish fantasies.
Two of Don Quixote’s friends, the priest and the barber, come to drag him
home. Believing that he is under the force of an enchantment, he accompanies
them, thus ending his second expedition and the First Part of the novel. The
Second Part of the novel begins with a passionate invective against a phony
sequel of Don Quixote that was published in the interim between Cervantes’s
two parts. Everywhere Don Quixote goes, his reputation—gleaned by others
from both the real and the false versions of the story—precedes him. As the two
embark on their journey, Sancho lies to Don Quixote, telling him that an evil
enchanter has transformed Dulcinea into a peasant girl. Undoing this
enchantment, in which even Sancho comes to believe, becomes Don Quixote’s
chief goal. Don Quixote meets a Duke and Duchess who conspire to play tricks
on him. They make a servant dress up as Merlin, for example, and tell Don
Quixote that Dulcinea’s enchantment—which they know to be a hoax—can be
undone only if Sancho whips himself 3,300 times on his naked backside. Under
the watch of the Duke and Duchess, Don Quixote and Sancho undertake several
adventures. They set out on a flying wooden horse, hoping to slay a giant who
has turned a princess and her lover into metal figurines and bearded the
princess’s female servants. During his stay with the Duke, Sancho becomes
governor of a fictitious isle. He rules for ten days until he is wounded in an
onslaught the Duke and Duchess sponsor for their entertainment. Sancho
reasons that it is better to be a happy laborer than a miserable governor. A
young maid at the Duchess’s home falls in love with Don Quixote, but he
remains a staunch worshipper of Dulcinea. Their never-consummated affair
amuses the court to no end. Finally, Don Quixote sets out again on his journey,
but his demise comes quickly. Shortly after his arrival in Barcelona, the Knight of
the White Moon—actually an old friend in disguise—vanquishes him. Cervantes
relates the story of Don Quixote as a history, which he claims he has translated
from a manuscript written by a Moor named Cide Hamete Benengeli. Cervantes
becomes a party to his own fiction, even allowing Sancho and Don Quixote to
modify their own histories and comment negatively upon the false history
published in their names. In the end, the beaten and battered Don Quixote
forswears all the chivalric truths he followed so fervently and dies from a fever.
With his death, knights-errant become extinct. Benengeli returns at the end of

the novel to tell us that illustrating the demise of chivalry was his main purpose
in writing the history of Don Quixote.
Don Quixote - The novel’s tragicomic hero. Don Quixote’s main quest in life is to
revive knight-errantry in a world devoid of chivalric virtues and values. He
believes only what he chooses to believe and sees the world very differently
from most people. Honest, dignified, proud, and idealistic, he wants to save the
world. As intelligent as he is mad, Don Quixote starts out as an absurd and
isolated figure and ends up as a pitiable and lovable old man whose strength
and wisdom have failed him.
Sancho Panza - The peasant laborer—greedy but kind, faithful but cowardly—
whom Don Quixote takes as his squire. A representation of the common man,
Sancho is a foil to Don Quixote and virtually every other character in the novel.
Rocinante - Don Quixote’s barn horse. Rocinante is slow but faithful, and he is
as worn out as Don Quixote is.
Dapple - Sancho’s donkey. Dapple’s disappearance and reappearance is the
subject of much controversy both within the story and within the literary
criticism concerning Don Quixote.
Cide Hamete Benengeli - The fictional writer of Moorish decent from whose
manuscripts Cervantes supposedly translates the novel. Cervantes uses the
figure of Benengeli to comment on the ideas of authorship and literature
explored in the novel and to critique historians.
Dulcinea del Toboso - The unseen force driving all of Don Quixote’s adventures.
Dulcinea, a peasant woman whom Don Quixote envisions as his ladylove, has no
knowledge of his chivalric dedication to her. Though constantly mentioned and
centrally important to the novel, she never appears as a physical character.
Cervantes - The supposed translator of Benengeli’s historical novel, who
interjects his opinions into the novel at key times. Cervantes intentionally
creates the impression that he did not invent the character of Don Quixote. Like
Benengeli, Cervantes is not physically present but is a character nonetheless. In
his prologues, dedications, and invention of Benengeli, Cervantes enhances the
self-referential nature of the novel and forces us to think about literature’s
purpose and limitations.
The Duke and Duchess - The cruel and haughty contrivers of the adventures
that occupy Don Quixote for the majority of the novel’s Second Part. Bored and
snobby, the Duke and Duchess feign interest in Don Quixote and Sancho but
continually play pranks on them for their personal entertainment.
Altisidora - The Duchess’s bratty maid. Altisidora pretends to love Don Quixote,
mocking his concept of romantic love.
Sampson Carrasco - A sarcastic student from Don Quixote’s village. Sampson
mocks Don Quixote at first but loses to him in combat and then dedicates
himself to revenge.

The priest - A friend of Don Quixote’s. The priest disapproves of fictional books
that, in his opinion, negatively influence society.
The barber - Don Quixote’s friend who recognizes Quixote’s madness but
intervenes only to help the priest carry out his plans. The barber strenuously
disapproves of Don Quixote’s chivalry.
Teresa Panza - Sancho’s good-hearted wife. Teresa speaks in proverbs,
exhibiting more wisdom than most other characters. Unambitious but a bit
greedy, she endures Sancho’s exploits and supports him with her prayers.
Cardenio - An honorable man who is driven mad by the infidelities of his wife,
Lucinda, and the treachery of a duke, Ferdinand. Cardenio is the quintessential
romantic lover.
Lucinda - Cardenio’s wife. Silent and beautiful, Lucinda is a model of the courtly
woman. Docile and innocent, she obliges her parents and her lover.
Ferdinand - An arrogant young duke who steals Lucinda from Cardenio with no
Dorothea - Ferdinand’s faithful and persistent love. Dorothea flouts tradition to
hunt down Ferdinand when he takes her chastity but refuses to marry her.
Countess Trifaldi - A fictitious maidservant in distress who is impersonated by
the Duke’s steward.
Gines de Pasamonte - An ungrateful galley slave whom Don Quixote frees.
Roque Guinart - A chivalrous bandit. Inherently conflicted, Roque believes in
justice and generosity but kills an underling who challenges him for being so
generous to others.

SparkNotes Editors. (2003). SparkNote on Don Quixote. Retrieved January 25,
2013, from http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/donquixote

Romeo and Juliet (English)

The play is set in Verona, Italy, where a feud has broken out between the
families of the Montegues and the Capulets. The servants of both houses open the play
with a brawling scene that eventually draws in the noblemen of the families and the city
officials, including Prince Escalus.
Romeo is lamenting the fact that he is love with a woman named Rosaline, who
has vowed to remain chaste for the rest of her life. He and his friend Benvoliohappen to
stumble across a servant of the Capulet's in the street. The servant,Peter, is trying to
read a list of names of people invited to a masked party at the Capulet house that
evening. Romeo helps him read the list and receives an invitation to the party.
Romeo arrives at the party in costume and falls in love with Juliet the minute
he sees her. However, he is recognized byTybalt, Juliet's cousin, who wants to kill him on

the spot. Capulet intervenes and tells Tybalt that he will not disturb the party for any
amount of money. Romeo manages to approach Juliet and tell her that he loves her. She
and he share a sonnet and finish it with a kiss.
Juliet's Nurse tells Romeo who Juliet really is, and he is upset when he finds out
he loves the daughter of Capulet. Juliet likewise finds out who Romeo is, and laments
the fact that she is in love with her enemy.
Soon thereafter Romeo climbs the garden wall leading to Juliet's garden. Juliet
emerges on her balcony and speaks her private thoughts out loud, imagining herself
alone. She wishes Romeo could shed his name and marry her. At this, Romeo appears
and tells her that he loves her. She warns him to be true in his love to her, and makes
him swear by his own self that he truly loves her.
Juliet then is called inside, but manages to return twice to call Romeo back to
her. They agree that Juliet will send her Nurse to meet him at nine o'clock the next day,
at which point Romeo will set a place for them to be married.
The Nurse carries out her duty, and tells Juliet to meet Romeo at the chapel
where Friar Laurence lives and works. Juliet goes to find Romeo, and together they are
married by the Friar.
Benvolio and Mercutio, a good friend of the Montegues, are waiting on the
street when Tybalt arrives. Tybalt demands to know where Romeo is so that he can
challenge him to duel, in order to avenge Romeo's sneaking into the party. Mercutio is
eloquently vague, but Romeo happens to arrive in the middle of the verbal bantering.
Tybalt challenges him, but Romeo passively resists fighting, at which point Mercutio
jumps in and draws his sword on Tybalt. Romeo tries to block the two men, but Tybalt
cuts Mercutio and runs away, only to return after he hears tha. Mercutio has died.
Romeo fights with Tybalt and kills him. When Prince Escalus arrives at the murder scene
he chooses to banish Romeo from Verona forever.
The Nurse goes to tell Juliet the sad news about what has happened to Tybalt
and Romeo. Juliet is heart-broken, but soon recovers when she realizes that Romeo
would have been killed if he had not fought Tybalt. She sends the Nurse to find Romeo
and give him her ring. Romeo comes that night and sleeps with Juliet. The next morning
he is forced to leave at dusk when Juliet's mother arrives. Romeo goes to Mantua where
he waits for someone to send news about Juliet or about his banishment.
During the night Capulet decides that Juliet should marry a young man named
Paris. He and Lady Capulet go to tell Juliet that she should marry Paris, but when she
refuses to obey Capulet becomes infuriated and orders her to comply with his orders.
He then leaves, and is soon followed by Lady Capulet and the Nurse, whom Juliet throws
out of the room, saying, "ancient damnation" (3.5.235).
Juliet then goes to Friar Laurence, who gives her a potion that will make her
seem dead for at least two days. She takes the potion and drinks it that night. The next
morning, the day Juliet is supposed to marry Paris, her Nurse finds her "dead" in bed.
The whole house decries her suicide, and Friar Laurence makes them hurry to put her
into the family vault.
Romeo's servant arrives in Mantua and tells his master that Juliet is dead and
buried. Romeo hurries back to Verona. Friar Laurence discovers too late from Friar John
that his message to Romeo has failed to be delivered. He rushes to get to Juliet's grave
before Romeo does.
Romeo arrives at the Capulet vault and finds it guarded by Paris, who is there
to mourn the loss of his betrothed. Paris challenges Romeo to a duel, and is quickly

killed. Romeo then carries Paris into the grave and sets his body down. Seeing Juliet
dead within the tomb, Romeo drinks some poison he has purchased and dies kissing
Friar Laurence arrives just as Juliet wakes up within the bloody vault. He tries to
get her to come out, but when she sees Romeo dead beside her, Juliet takes his dagger
and kills herself with it. The rest of the town starts to arrive, including Capulet and
Montegue. Friar Laurence tells them the whole story. The two family patriarches agree
to become friends by erecting golden statues of the other's child.

Romeo is the young son of the affluent Montague family. He lusts after the
unavailable, but oh-so gorgeous Rosaline until he sets eyes on Juliet Capulet (the only
daughter of his family's arch enemies) and falls in love at first sight.
Juliet is the beautiful (and only) daughter of the Capulets. In the play, she falls
in love with Romeo Montague, the son of her family's mortal enemies.
Rosaline is the gorgeous and aloof woman Romeo crushes on until he meets
the love of his life, Juliet. Rosaline has no speaking part, never appears on stage
(according to the stage directions), and isn't even listed in the dramatis personae (the
cast list). So, why the heck are we talking about Rosaline in our "Character Analysis"
when it's quite possible that she doesn't even exist? Well, we may not hear directlyfrom
Rosaline (or even see her unless we watch, say, Zeffirelli's 1968 film adaptation of the
play), but we do hear a lot about her from one of the play's major characters, Romeo.
Mercutio (whose name is derived from the word "mercurial," meaning
"volatile") is Romeo's sword-fight loving BFF. He never backs down from a duel and,
although he's neither a Montague nor a Capulet, he gets involved in the long-standing
family feud on the side of the Montagues and is killed by Tybalt in Act 3, Scene 1.
Benvolio, whose name literally means "good will," is a classic nice guy. Benvolio
often gets stuck playing the straight man to Romeo and Mercutio, but he occasionally
manages to stick in his own funny lines. Despite the fact that he is constantly telling
everyone else to chill and stop fighting, duels always seem to happen around him.
Sometimes he gets drawn in. Benvolio is regarded as the trusted go-to guy. Romeo's
parents turn to him when their son is acting weird (1.1) and the Prince always asks him
to explain what went down in the most recent street fight.
Tybalt is Juliet's cousin, which makes him a Capulet. After he kills Romeo's BFF,
Mercutio, in a street brawl, Romeo mortally stabs him, which causes Romeo to be
banished from Verona.
The Nurse is one of the funniest characters in the play and one of the most
disturbing. She and Juliet have what seems to be a gossiping, pillow-fighting sort of
relationship at the beginning of the play. The Nurse, along with Friar Laurence, is one of
the facilitators of Juliet's relationship with Romeo. She plays the role of messenger and
it is her idea to bring Romeo to Juliet even after he has been banished.
A mentor to both Romeo and Juliet, Friar Laurence constantly advises them to
act with more caution and moderation. But Friar Laurence's own plans to help Romeo
and Juliet end in tragedy. He's the guy, after all, who gives Juliet the concoction that
puts her in a deep, deep, slumber that fools her family (and Romeo) into thinking she's

Lord Capulet (a.k.a. Capulet) is the father of Juliet. At first, he seems like a
pretty good dad. When Paris comes sniffing around for thirteen-year-old Juliet's hand in
marriage, Capulet puts him of, citing Juliet's young age and even suggesting that he'd
like his daughter to marry for "love" (1.2.2-3). This, by the way, is pretty uncommon in
Shakespeare's plays. Most fathers (like Baptista Minola in The Taming of the Shrew)
broker marriages like business deals, without ever consulting their daughters.
Lady Capulet and her daughter clearly have a troubled relationship. The
interactions between Lady Capulet and Juliet are strained and distant. Lady Capulet
does make an effort to reach out to her daughter now that she's of an age to be
married. But it's obvious that Juliet's closest bond is with the Nurse; Lady Capulet never
even comes close to challenging that.


Merchant of Venice (English)

How It All Goes Down

The Merchant of Venice opens on a street in Venice, where Antonio, a Venetian
merchant, complains of a sadness he can't quite explain. His friends suggest they'd be
sad too if they had as much merchandise to worry about as Antonio. Apparently all of
his money is tied up in various sea ventures to exotic locales. But Antonio is certain it's
not money that's bothering him.
Antonio's friend Bassanio enters the scene, and we learn that Bassanio has
been at the forefront of Antonio's mind. Apparently Bassanio just got back from a secret
trip to see an heiress named Portia in Belmont. Bassanio financed his trip (and in fact,
his entire lifestyle) by borrowing tons of money from Antonio. Portia is beautiful,
intelligent, and, most important, rich. If Bassanio could only get together the
appearance of some wealth, he would be in a good position to compete with all the
other guys vying for Portia's attention. If they marry, he's all set financially. Antonio
would be happy to lend Bassanio the money he needs to woo Portia, except, as we
know, all of Antonio's money is at sea. The two friends part ways, agreeing that they'll
try to raise the funds on Antonio's credit around town.
Meanwhile, even rich heiresses have their troubles. Portia is plagued by suitors
from the four corners of the earth but isn't allowed to choose the one she wants.
Instead, her father, before his death, devised an unusual test. Three caskets – one gold,
one silver, and one lead – are laid out before each suitor, and whoever picks the right
one gets the girl. Portia complains about all of the important men who come to see her,
as there's something wrong with each of them.
As Portia is trying to figure out how to avoid marrying, Bassanio is trying to
figure out how to marry her. He negotiates with the Jewish moneylender, Shylock,
asking for 3,000 gold coins (ducats). Bassanio borrows the money on his friend Antonio's
credit. Trouble is, Antonio is an anti-Semite (he is prejudiced against Jewish people) and
is offensive to Shylock whenever he has the chance. Slyly, Shylock says he'll try out
Antonio's method of business by lending him the money interest-free. BUT, this is on
the condition that Antonio signs a bond promising that if the debt goes unpaid, Antonio

will give Shylock a pound of his own flesh. This seems like a good idea at the time, as
Antonio is sure he'll have earned the money from his ships before Shylock's due date.
Before we have time to think about what a crazy idea it is to promise anyone a
pound of your flesh, we're back at Belmont learning the rules of the casket game.
Choose wrong, and not only do you fail to get Portia, but you cannot marry anyone for
the rest of your life. We see suitors fail when they choose the wrong caskets.
Meanwhile, Jessica (Shylock's only child) tells us that living in Shylock's house is
pure hell and that she's ashamed to be his daughter. She has decided to elope with
Lorenzo and convert to Christianity. Jessica gets her chance to carry out her rebellious
scheme when her dad leaves the house to go to have dinner. As soon as he is out the
door, Jessica steals off with her lover, Lorenzo, and helps herself to a chunk of Dad's
Bassanio and some of his pals set off for Belmont in hopes that Bassanio will
snag the beautiful and rich Portia.
We also learn from some gossipy cats in Venice that Shylock was livid when he
learned his daughter ran away, screaming "'My daughter! O my ducats! O my daughter!
/ Fled with a Christian! O my Christian ducats!" (2.8.2). This is good news for Antonio,
who hates Shylock. But Antonio doesn't stay happy for long, as he is too busy recovering
from the fact that Bassanio has gone off to woo Portia.
Back in gossipy Venice, we hear that Antonio's ships have been sinking left and
right. Shylock shows up, still mad about his daughter's rebellion, but he's excited to hear
that he'll get to take a pound of flesh from his enemy Antonio. He explains to the
gossipy men that he hates Antonio because Antonio hates him for being Jewish. Shylock
then gives a beautiful speech in defense of the humanity of Jews, including the well-
known lines, "if you prick us, do we not bleed?" He concludes that a Jew is not unlike a
Christian, and a Christian in this situation would seek revenge. Therefore, he will do the
same, because the Christians have taught him hatred with their cruelty. Shylock is
further angered to hear reports that his daughter is off lavishly spending his money, so
he sets up arrangements to have Antonio jailed, cut, and killed.
Back in Belmont, Portia is batting off the men. But she is truly excited by
Bassanio. Bassanio impressively chooses the lead casket (correct) and wins Portia and
her wealth. Portia is falling all over herself with love for Bassanio when Lorenzo and
Jessica arrive with news that Antonio is about to die at Shylock's command. Portia offers
to pay off Antonio's debt, and she and Bassanio have a quick (as in shotgun-quick)
wedding before she sends Bassanio back to Venice with 20 times the debt owed to
Shylock. Portia gives Bassanio a ring and makes him promise never to take it off, which
we're sure is going to be significant sometime soon.
Meanwhile, Portia has hatched a plan to cross-dress and pose as a lawyer to
argue Antonio's defense at his trial. She tells Lorenzo to look after her house, disguises
herself and Nerissa as men, and sets off for Venice in a hurry. Also, Graziano randomly
marries Nerissa.
The scene moves to the court in Venice. Everyone has tried to plead with
Shylock, but he won't hear reason. He wants justice, and that means having a pound of
Antonio's flesh, as promised. It seems there's no hope until a young, effeminate-looking
man shows up who happens to be a learned lawyer. He is called Balthazar (a.k.a. Portia).
Portia (as Balthazar) then begins to argue that Shylock should have mercy on
Antonio, as mercy is a higher order good than justice. Shylock says he doesn't need
mercy, he's fine with just justice, thank you very much. There's no way anyone can get

around it – Antonio signed the bond, the Duke won't bend the rules, and Shylock won't
relent. Antonio doesn't care if he dies. Bassanio says he wishes he could trade his wife
and his life for Antonio's, which does not please his wife, but she doesn't say anything
because she's disguised in drag.
Portia (as Balthazar) gets Antonio ready to go under the knife, but she stops
just short as Shylock is sharpening his knife. She says the bond entitles Shylock to a
pound of flesh, but if he spills a drop of Christian blood, then he'll be guilty of plotting to
murder a Venetian Christian, the penalty for which is losing everything he has. Shylock
says something like, "Fine, just give me the three-times-the-debt cash you offered me
earlier," and Portia replies, "Actually, that offer's not on the table anymore." Then he
says, "OK, just give me the 3,000 back," and she returns, "Actually, that's not on the
table either."
The slippery downward slope continues until Shylock declares that, fine, he'll
just leave, and Portia stops him and says since he conspired to kill a Venetian he actually
has to forfeit everything he owns. And beg for his life.
Finally holding the upper hand, Antonio decides that as punishment, Shylock
has to sign an agreement saying that when he dies, all his money will go to Jessica and
her new Christian husband. Also, Shylock must convert to Christianity. Shylock leaves a
broken man.
Portia grabs Nerissa and tries to get home before the men return and find out
their wives were the ones in court that day. Antonio and Bassanio try to get Balthazar to
accept a gift before he goes, and though Portia (as Balthazar) tries to refuse it, the men
press her. She asks for Bassanio's ring (which is really her ring, symbolizing their
marriage trust). Bassanio refuses to give it to her, but then Antonio suggests he's
whipped and foolish, so Bassanio caves in and gives Balthazar the ring at the last
Finally everyone gets home to Belmont; the women have narrowly arrived
before the men. Nerissa launches into a fight with Graziano about the missing ring (as it
turns out, she too gave a ring symbolizing marital fidelity), accusing him of giving it to a
woman. Portia then lights into Bassanio for the same thing. Portia complains about the
men breaking faith for this lawyer guy, and she pledges to sleep with this learned man
too, breaking her marriage vows like Bassanio did by giving up her ring.
Antonio has come home to Belmont with them and he feels responsible for the
fights. To make up for it he promises his soul as a guarantee that Bassanio will be
faithful to Portia. Portia accepts the offer of Antonio's soul and she gives him a ring to
give to Bassanio. Turns out it's the original ring. Portia explains that she and Nerissa
were the young lawyer and the clerk who rescued Antonio from Shylock. Also, she's got
a letter that says some of Antonio's ships have come home with cash after all. The play
ends with happiness for most of the characters in the play – all except Shylock.

Shylock - A Jewish moneylender in Venice. Angered by his mistreatment at the hands of
Venice’s Christians, particularly Antonio, Shylock schemes to eke out his revenge by
ruthlessly demanding as payment a pound of Antonio’s flesh. Although seen by the rest
of the play’s characters as an inhuman monster, Shylock at times diverges from
stereotype and reveals himself to be quite human. These contradictions, and his
eloquent expressions of hatred, have earned Shylock a place as one of Shakespeare’s
most memorable characters.

Portia - A wealthy heiress from Belmont. Portia’s beauty is matched only by her
intelligence. Bound by a clause in her father’s will that forces her to marry whichever
suitor chooses correctly among three caskets, Portia is nonetheless able to marry her
true love, Bassanio. Far and away the cleverest of the play’s characters, it is Portia, in
the disguise of a young law clerk, who saves Antonio from Shylock’s knife.
Antonio - The merchant whose love for his friend Bassanio prompts him to sign
Shylock’s contract and almost lose his life. Antonio is something of a mercurial figure,
often inexplicably melancholy and, as Shylock points out, possessed of an incorrigible
dislike of Jews. Nonetheless, Antonio is beloved of his friends and proves merciful to
Shylock, albeit with conditions.
Bassanio - A gentleman of Venice, and a kinsman and dear friend to Antonio. Bassanio’s
love for the wealthy Portia leads him to borrow money from Shylock with Antonio as his
guarantor. An ineffectual businessman, Bassanio proves himself a worthy suitor,
correctly identifying the casket that contains Portia’s portrait.
Gratiano - A friend of Bassanio’s who accompanies him to Belmont. A coarse and
garrulous young man, Gratiano is Shylock’s most vocal and insulting critic during the
trial. While Bassanio courts Portia, Gratiano falls in love with and eventually weds
Portia’s lady-in-waiting, Nerissa.
Jessica - Although she is Shylock’s daughter, Jessica hates life in her father’s house, and
elopes with the young Christian gentleman, Lorenzo. The fate of her soul is often in
doubt: the play’s characters wonder if her marriage can overcome the fact that she was
born a Jew, and we wonder if her sale of a ring given to her father by her mother is
excessively callous.
Lorenzo - A friend of Bassanio and Antonio, Lorenzo is in love with Shylock’s daughter,
Jessica. He schemes to help Jessica escape from her father’s house, and he eventually
elopes with her to Belmont.
Nerissa - Portia’s lady-in-waiting and confidante. She marries Gratiano and escorts
Portia on Portia’s trip to Venice by disguising herself as her law clerk.
Launcelot Gobbo - Bassanio’s servant. A comical, clownish figure who is especially adept
at making puns, Launcelot leaves Shylock’s service in order to work for Bassanio.
The prince of Morocco - A Moorish prince who seeks Portia’s hand in marriage. The
prince of Morocco asks Portia to ignore his dark countenance and seeks to win her by
picking one of the three caskets. Certain that the caskets reflect Portia’s beauty and
stature, the prince of Morocco picks the gold chest, which proves to be incorrect.
The prince of Arragon - An arrogant Spanish nobleman who also attempts to win
Portia’s hand by picking a casket. Like the prince of Morocco, however, the prince of
Arragon chooses unwisely. He picks the silver casket, which gives him a message calling
him an idiot instead of Portia’s hand.
Salarino - A Venetian gentleman, and friend to Antonio, Bassanio, and Lorenzo. Salarino
escorts the newlyweds Jessica and Lorenzo to Belmont, and returns with Bassanio and
Gratiano for Antonio’s trial. He is often almost indistinguishable from his companion
Solanio - A Venetian gentleman, and frequent counterpart to Salarino.
The duke of Venice - The ruler of Venice, who presides over Antonio’s trial. Although a
powerful man, the duke’s state is built on respect for the law, and he is unable to help

Old Gobbo - Launcelot’s father, also a servant in Venice.
Tubal - A Jew in Venice, and one of Shylock’s friends.
Doctor Bellario - A wealthy Paduan lawyer and Portia’s cousin. Doctor Bellario never
appears in the play, but he gives Portia’s servant the letters of introduction needed for
her to make her appearance in court.
Balthasar - Portia’s servant, whom she dispatches to get the appropriate materials from
Doctor Bellario.

The moral of the story is “all that glitters is not gold”.

Shmoop Editorial Team. (November 11, 2008).The Merchant of Venice Summary.
Retrieved March 22, 2013, from http://www.shmoop.com/merchant-of-
Sparknotes Editorial Team. (January 2, 2007).The Merchant of Venice Characters.
Retrieved March 22, 2013, from

Hamlet (English)

HAMLET by William Shakespeare

Hamlet Summary
The play, Hamlet, begins with the news of King Hamlet of Denmark's recent
death and Denmark preparing for a possible war with Fortinbras of Norway. A ghost is
spotted, resembling the late King, near Elsinore Castle by two guards. King Claudius has
married Queen Gertrude, the late King's wife, quickly after the King's death. Polonius
warns his daughter, Ophelia, against falling in love with Hamlet, saying he will only break
her heart.
Hamlet, son of the late King of Denmark, meets the Ghost who reveals he was
poisoned by King Claudius, telling him to avenge his death but to not punish the queen.
Polonius learns of Ophelia's meeting with Prince Hamlet, who studied her face and
promptly left, leaving Polonius to think his odd behavior was because Ophelia rejected
him. King Claudius instructs courtiers, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, to spy on Hamlet,
Queen Gertrude believes it is because of her recent marriage and the death of her
Hamlet suspects Ophelia is spying on him, so he increases his hostility towards
her. Hamlet then creates a play depicting the death of his father, as the Ghost told him,
to see if the Ghost's words were true. A mime preceding the play mimics the Ghost's
description of the death, but goes unnoticed. After, the play The Murder of Gonzago is
performed, causing King Claudius to act in a suspicious way as if the Ghost's words were
true. During a monologue, King Claudius reveals his guilt. Meanwhile, Queen Gertrude
tries to scold her son for the play, but in turn is scolded for her quick remarriage. She

cries out of fear, leaving a man hiding behind the curtains to do the same. Hamlet reacts
and stabs him, killing him not knowing it was Polonius. Hamlet continues to scold his
mother until the Ghost reappears and tells him to be kind to the Queen. She agrees to
stop living with King Claudius.
King Claudius is shocked by the death of Polonius, thinking it could have easily
been him. Queen Gertrude lies for her son, saying that he went mad. King Claudius in
turn gets scared, forcing him to send Hamlet away to England, planning to kill him there.
Fortinbras marches Denmark as Hamlet wishes he could be more like him while
questioning about how he cannot fight when his father was murdered and mother made
a whore he returns to Denmark. Ophelia goes mad from grief after learning of her
father's death. King Claudius meets with Laertes, Ophelia's brother, telling him that
Hamlet killed his father and plans for the two to fight in a fencing match, plotting to kill
At the burial of Ophelia, Hamlet and Laertes fight over her grave, each believing
they love her more. Hamlet tells his friend Horatio of his escape in England and had
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern killed instead, revealing his desire to kill the King.
Meanwhile, Queen Gertrude drinks a poisoned cup which was meant for her son, as she
dies, she reveals of her poisoning. Hamlet fences against Laertes and is cut by his sword.
During the duel, the two switch swords. Having cut Laertes with his sword, Laertes tells
of the poison tip. As Hamlet is dying, he stabs King Claudius with the sword, killing him.
He tells Horatio to not commit suicide and as his final wish to have Fortinbras as the
next King of Denmark. Fortinbras arrives, leaving Horatio to tell his dear friend's story.

Moral Lesson - There is nothing good that can be gain from revenge.

Hamlet Characters
Hamlet - He's a moody and smart-alecky young kid with suicidal tendencies, a penchant
for wearing black mourning clothes, and a habit of delivering long, drawn-out speeches
on the futility of life.
The Ghost - 1) The ghost says he's Hamlet's father. 2) The ghost also says that he was
murdered by his brother, who happens to be Hamlet's uncle Claudius, the guy who's
now married to Gertrude and sitting on the throne of Denmark. 3) The ghost also claims
he's "doomed" to suffer in "sulph'rous and tormenting flames" until the "foul crimes
done in [his] days of nature / Are burnt and purged away".
Cladius - Claudius is the current king of Denmark. He's married to his dead brother's
wife, Gertrude, which makes him Hamlet's uncle and stepfather. Claudius becomes the
object of Hamlet's quest for revenge when the young prince learns that Claudius
murdered his father.
Gertrude - Queen Gertrude is Hamlet's mother and the wife of her dead husband's
brother, King Claudius.
Polonius - A Danish lord, Polonius is the father of Laertes and Ophelia.
Ophelia - Ophelia, a beautiful young woman, is the young daughter of Polonius, the
sister of Laertes, and Hamlet's love interest. In the play, Ophelia is caught between her
obedience to her father and her love for Hamlet, which has tragic consequences.

Laertes - Laertes, a young Danish lord, is the son of Polonius and brother of Ophelia. He
spends most of his time abroad at college (which means we don't see much of him) but
he's a significant figure in the play.
Horatio - Horatio is Hamlet's closest friend. Unlike Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (also
Hamlet's old chums), Horatio's loyalty and common sense are rock-steady throughout
the play – so much so that he is Hamlet's only true confidant.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern - seem incapable of functioning independently, so
they're basically one character, no matter what they might say. The technical term to
describe the two of them would be "sleaze-balls," or the ever-popular, "slimy sellouts."

Fortin Bras - Fortinbras is a Norwegian prince who seeks revenge for his father's death.
(Old Fortinbras, former King of Norway, made a bet with Old Hamlet and wound up
losing his life and some important Norwegian territory in the process.)

Hamlet summary. Retrieve February 11, 2013 from

Analects (Chinese)

The Analects
Very few reliable sources about Confucius exist. The principal biography
available to historians is included in Sima Qian's Shiji; but, because the Shiji contains a
large amount of (possibly legendary) material not confirmed by other sources, the
biographical material on Confucius found in the Analects makes the Analects arguably
the most reliable source of biographical information about Confucius. Confucius viewed
himself as a "transmitter" of social and political traditions originating in the early Zhou
dynasty (c.1000-800 BC), and claimed not to have originated anything (Analects 7.1), but
Confucius' social and political ideals were not popular in his time.

The Master "Is it not pleasant to learn with a constant perseverance and application?
"Is it not delightful to have friends coming from distant quarters?
"Is he not a man of complete virtue, who feels no discomposure though men may take
no note of him?"
The philosopher Yu said, "They are few who, being filial and fraternal, are fond of
offending against their superiors. There have been none, who, not liking to offend
against their superiors, have been fond of stirring up confusion.
"The superior man bends his attention to what is radical. That being established, all
practical courses naturally grow up. Filial piety and fraternal submission,-are they not
the root of all benevolent actions?"
The Master said, "Fine words and an insinuating appearance are seldom associated with
true virtue."

The philosopher Tsang said, "I daily examine myself on three points:-whether, in
transacting business for others, I may have been not faithful;-whether, in intercourse
with friends, I may have been not sincere;-whether I may have not mastered and
practiced the instructions of my teacher."
The Master said, "To rule a country of a thousand chariots, there must be reverent
attention to business, and sincerity; economy in expenditure, and love for men; and the
employment of the people at the proper seasons."
The Master said, "A youth, when at home, should be filial, and, abroad, respectful to his
elders. He should be earnest and truthful.
He should overflow in love to all, and cultivate the friendship of the good. When he has
time and opportunity, after the performance of these things, he should employ them in
polite studies."
Tsze-hsia said, "If a man withdraws his mind from the love of beauty, and applies it as
sincerely to the love of the virtuous; if,in serving his parents, he can exert his utmost
strength; if, in serving his prince, he can devote his life; if, in his intercourse with his
friends, his words are sincere:-although men say that he has not learned, I will certainly
say that he has. The Master said, "If the scholar be not grave, he will not call forth any
veneration, and his learning will not be solid.”Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first
"Have no friends not equal to yourself.
"When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them."
The philosopher Tsang said, "Let there be a careful attention to perform the funeral rites
to parents, and let them be followed when long gone with the ceremonies of sacrifice;-
then the virtue of the people will resume its proper excellence." Tsze-ch'in asked Tsze-
kung saying, "When our master comes to any country, he does not fail to learn all about
its government. Does he ask his information? Or is it given to him?"
Tsze-kung said, "Our master is benign, upright, courteous, temperate, and complaisant
and thus he gets his information. The master's mode of asking information,-is it not
different from that of other men?"
The Master said, "While a man's father is alive, look at the bent ofhis will; when his
father is dead, look at his conduct. If for three years he does not alter from the way of
his father, he may be called filial."
The philosopher Yu said, "In practicing the rules of propriety, a natural ease is to be
prized. In the ways prescribed by the ancient kings, this is the excellent quality, and in
things small and great we follow them.
"Yet it is not to be observed in all cases. If one, knowing how such ease should be prized,
manifests it, without regulating it by the rules of propriety, this likewise is not to be
The philosopher Yu said, "When agreements are made according to what is right, what
is spoken can be made good. When respect is shown according to what is proper, one
keeps far from shame and disgrace.
When the parties upon whom a man leans are proper persons to be intimate with, he
can make them his guides and masters."
The Master said, "He who aims to be a man of complete virtue in his food does not seek
to gratify his appetite, nor in his dwelling place does he seek the appliances of ease; he
is earnest in what he is doing, and careful in his speech; he frequents the company of

men of principle that he may be rectified:-such a person may be said indeed to love to
Tsze-kung said, "What do you pronounce concerning the poor man who yet does not
flatter, and the rich man who is not proud?" The Master replied, "They will do; but they
are not equal to him, who, though poor, is yet cheerful, and to him, who, though rich,
loves the rules of propriety."
Tsze-kung replied, "It is said in the Book of Poetry, 'As you cut and then file, as you carve
and then polish.'-The meaning is the same, I apprehend, as that which you have just
The Master said, "With one like Ts'ze, I can begin to talk about the odes. I told him one
point, and he knew its proper sequence."
The Master said, "I will not be afflicted at men's not knowing me; I will be afflicted that I
do not know men."

Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analects#Contents on March 22, 2013 at
Retrieved from http://www.sacred-texts.com/cfu/conf1.htm on March 22, 2013 at

IV. Understanding and Appreciating the Classic Poetries

“Invictus” by William Ernest Henley

Author: William Ernest Henley

Country: England
Language: English
Genre(s) : Lyric poetry
Publisher: Book of Verses
Media type: Print (periodical)
Publication date: 1888
"Invictus" is a short Victorian poem by the English poet William Ernest Henley (1849–

At the age of 13, Henley contracted tuberculosis of the bone. A few years later,
the disease progressed to his foot, and physicians announced that the only way to save
his life was to amputate directly below the knee. It was amputated when he was 17.
Stoicisminspired him to write this poem. Despite his disability, he survived with one foot
intact and led an active life until his death at the age of 53.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley is known to most people by virtue of this single poem.
As mentioned previously, Henley was hospitalized for tuberculosis. One of his
legs was amputated in order to save his life; it was said to be very painful. Immediately
after the amputation, he received news that another operation would have to be done
on his other leg. However, he decided to enlist the help of a different doctor named
Joseph Lister. Under Lister's care he was able to keep his other leg by undergoing
intensive surgery on his remaining foot. While recovering from this surgery in the
infirmary, he was moved to write the words of Invictus. This period of his life, coupled
with the reality of an impoverished childhood, plays a major role in the meaning behind
the poem; it is also the prime reason for this poem's existence.


“The Road not Taken” by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Our speaker has come to a fork in a path in the woods. Its fall and the leaves
are turning colors. He's unsure which way to go, and wishes he could go both ways. He
looks down one path as far as he can see, but then he decides to take the other. He
thinks the path he decides to take is not quite as worn as the other one, but really, the
paths are about the same, and the fallen leaves on both look pretty fresh.
The speaker reflects on how he plans to take the road that he didn't take
another day, but suspects that he probably won't ever come back. Instead, far off in the
future, he'll be talking about how his decision was final and life changing.

This poem is about actual and figurative roads: the roads we walk and drive on,
and the roads we take through life. As the speaker of this poem discusses, for every
road we take, there's a road we don't take. Wrong turn or not, the roads we take can
end up making significant changes in our lives. And we'll always wonder about the roads
that we didn't try.
You might not associate roads with nature, but remember, we're talking about a Robert
Frost poem here. We're not talking highways – highways didn't even exist when this
poem was written. Instead, this poem centers on two roads (more like paths) going
through the woods in autumn. Nature in this poem sets the scene, and could hold
metaphorical meaning as well.

In choosing what path are you going to take in life, make sure you think of it a
thousand times because the consequence of it will make a lifetime impact in your life
and you cannot turn back the time anymore so you should make the most of it.

Shmoop Editorial Team. (November 11, 2008).The Road Not Taken Summary. Retrieved
February 12, 2013, from http://www.shmoop.com/road-not-taken/summary.html

“Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe

It was many and many a year ago,

In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,

In this kingdom by the sea:
But we loved with a love that was more than love--
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,

Went envying her and me--
Yes!--that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love

Of those who were older than we--
Of many far wiser than we--
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling--my darling--my life and my bride,
In her sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.


"Annabel Lee" is about a beautiful, painful memory. The speaker of the poem is
remembering his long-lost love, Annabel Lee. The speaker knew Annabel Lee many

years ago, when she was a girl, and they both lived "in a kingdom by the sea." Even
though they were only children, these two were really, seriously in love. So in love that
even the angels in heaven noticed and were jealous. Maybe that was a bad thing,
because our speaker blames the angels for killing his girlfriend. Apparently a wind came
down from the clouds, which made Annabel Lee sick and then eventually killed her.
When this happened, her relatives came and took her away from the speaker, and shut
her up in a tomb.
Our speaker wants us to know that his love for Annabel Lee wasn't just a
teenage crush. A little thing like death isn't going to separate him from Annabel Lee. Not
even angels or devils could do that. He still sees her everywhere, in his dreams and in
the stars. In fact he still loves her so much (here's where it gets really weird) that he
goes and lies down with her in her tomb every night. Creepy.
Stanza 1 Summary
Lines 1-6
It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
• This poem begins exactly like a fairy tale, telling us that the story we are about to hear
happened "many a year ago" in a "kingdom by the sea."
• These little details are important, because the sea and this old kingdom will be big
images in the poem.
• Even more important though, is Annabel Lee. She's the title character, and she's the
reason the poem exists.
• The speaker introduces her in the third line by calling her a "maiden," which lets us
know that she is young (and probably attractive), but which also keeps up the fairy-tale
feel of the first few lines.
• (You might think of her as being a little like a Disney princess, although as you'll see,
this poem is way too dark to be a Disney movie.)
• Finally, the speaker tells us the key fact of this poem, which is that he and Annabel Lee
were in love. So much in love that it was the only thing that mattered to either of them.
Stanza 2 Summary
Lines 7-12
I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea:
But we loved with a love that was more than love--
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

• In this stanza the speaker lets us know that both he and Annabel Lee were young
when this happened. Not teenagers even, but kids: "I was a child and she was a child."
• This lets us know just how rare and special their love was, but it also tips us off that
maybe there's something not quite right here.
• He also repeats the line: "in the kingdom by the sea." This reminds us where we are,
but also creates the hypnotic, repeating effect that Poe loves.
• It's the same trick he uses in the next line, when he tells us that he and Annabel "loved
with a love that was more than love." He wants to let us know that their love was
special and intense, even though they were so young.
• So, the speaker uses the word love three times in the same line, which is a pretty gutsy
move for a poet.
• This love was apparently so amazingly strong that the "seraphs" (that's just a fancy
word for "angels") in heaven noticed them.
• In fact, these angels apparently "coveted" the two young lovers. That's a kind of tricky
word, but an important one for this poem. To covet means to want something really
badly, usually something that doesn't belong to you. This is a strange feeling for angels
to have, since it's definitely not a holy emotion. It's also our first hint that things might
not turn out so well for these two kids.
Stanza 3 Summary
Lines 13-16
And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
• Here's where things really take a turn for the worse. The speaker blames the terrible
turn of events on the angels who coveted him and Annabel.
• The jealousy of the angels was the reason why a wind came down from a cloud and
killed his girlfriend.
• Actually the speaker doesn't tell us right away that she dies, just that the wind was
"chilling" to her. That's a great word to use because it makes us think of the way you get
sick in bad weather (like how people say you "catch cold").
• At the same time, it gives us a first creepy hint of Annabel's cold, chilled dead body,
which is a major theme for this poem.
Lines 17-20
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.
• Then, still without saying that she was dead, the speaker tells us how her "kinsman"
(that just means a member of her family) came and took her away from him.

• Be sure to notice the word he uses to describe this kinsman. He calls him "highborn"
which means aristocratic, noble. If the speaker himself were "highborn" he probably
wouldn't think to mention this. Since he does, it gives us a little hint of a conflict here,
maybe a little bit of a Romeo and Juliet-style family feud.
• Maybe even before she died there were problems in his relationship with Annabel
Lee. That's just a small example of how Poe can work neat details into what seems like a
simple story.
• Whatever is going on with the family, you can feel the speaker's pain at losing
Annabel, and you can tell that he feels she is being stolen from him.
• He tells us how the family "bore" (that just means "carried") her away from him.
• Death and Annabel's family are trying to tear these two lovers apart, to "shut her up"
in a "sepulchre." (That's another word for a big fancy building that you bury someone in,
a tomb like you might see in an old cemetery. It's also a perfect Poe word – you can
always count on him to go for a spooky, fancy word when he can.)
Stanza 4 Summary
Lines 21-26
The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me--
Yes!--that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
• The speaker circles back a little bit, and directly blames the angels for killing his
girlfriend. He says that he and Annabel were happier on earth than the angels were in
heaven, and that made them jealous.
• He repeats what he said in line 13, insisting that "that was the reason" why the wind
came down and killed Annabel Lee.
• The speaker is extra careful to point out that this isn't just his wacky theory, but in fact
that everyone ("all men") who live in the kingdom know that this is a fact.
• We don't get any new facts in this stanza, and the story itself doesn't move forward.
At the same time, maybe we learn something about the speaker's mental state.
• The fact that he circles back and repeats the story of Annabel's death might show us
see how traumatic it was for him.
• He can't seem to stop thinking about that moment. Also, we think this theory about
angels killing Annabel because they are jealous sounds a little off the wall. Check out
line 23, when he says "Yes!--that was the reason."
• He sounds a little like a mad-scientist hatching a nutty idea. This will be important
later, when things get even more bizarre.
• Finally, notice how, even when Poe seems to be repeating himself, he's adding little
changes and bits of new information. In line 17, the speaker directly mentions Annabel's
death for the first time, when he talks about the wind "killing" her. Again, even when
the story is simple, it's a good idea to watch every word Poe uses.

Stanza 5 Summary
Lines 27-33
But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we--
Of many far wiser than we--
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:
• Even if death might seem to be the end of love, our speaker tells us that isn't the case
for him and Annabel. Even though they were young, that didn't stop them from loving
completely, and from knowing what they wanted.
• He goes on to say that neither the angels in heaven or the demons who live under the
water can stop their love. Nothing in heaven or hell can "dissever" (that means cut or
separate) his soul and Annabel's soul.
• The bottom line is that their love is eternal, and that nothing and no one can tear
them apart.
Stanza 6 Summary
Lines 34-37
For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
• Here's the proof that their love between the speaker and Annabel Lee isn't dead (at
least in the mind of the speaker).
• Notice that this stanza starts with a shift from the past tense into the present tense.
He was telling a story about something that happened long ago, but now he's letting us
know what's happening right now.
• The descriptions of his current life sound a bit creepy.
• Whenever the moon shines, he dreams of Annabel Lee. Whenever the stars come out,
he feels Annabel's eyes on him. This imagery is shared by many of Poe's poems and
stories. His main characters are often haunted by dreams and visions of women that
they loved. Most of the time, those women are dead but not gone.
• Just notice how weird and intense these images are. He doesn't say: "When I see the
stars, I think of her." He says that when the stars come out "I feel the bright eyes" of
Annabel Lee. It's almost like her eyes are there, and are burning into him. We are
building up to something strange towards the end of the poem.
Lines 38-41
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling--my darling--my life and my bride,

In her sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.
• Now we arrive at the reason why this could never be a sweet pop song or a Disney
movie. Because their love is unbroken, because they can't be separated by death, our
speaker spends his nights curled up next to Annabel's dead body.
• After he hits us with that super-disturbing image, he follows it up by telling us that she
is his darling, his life, and his bride. They were not married in life, but now they can be
united in death.
• The speaker seems increasingly obsessed and unbalanced as the poem goes on, and
this is what it all leads to. He is half-alive and half-dead, sleeping in a tomb by the ocean.
• Poe leaves us with one last haunting phrase, "the sounding sea," which makes us think
of the booming roar of the ocean, suddenly terrifying and cold. Sorry, there's definitely
no happy ending here.

Shmoop Editorial Team. (November 11, 2008).Annabel Lee Summary. Retrieved
February 12, 2013, from http://www.shmoop.com/annabel-lee/summary.html

“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud/ Daffodils” by William Wordsworth

In 1804, William Wordsworth wrote the poem "Wandered Lonely as a Cloud", a

poem also known as "The Daffodils". His sister Dorothy, played an important part in his
life and she also influenced him with her love of nature. The inspiration to write this
poem came while he was out walking with Dorothy near Lake Ullswater in Grasmere and
they came upon some daffodils growing near the river. The poem was later revised in
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed---and gazed---but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Retrieved from http://www.poemhunter.com (January 21, 2012)

“Do not Go Gentle into that Good Night” by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Stanza 1
• The speaker addresses an unknown listener, telling him not to "go gentle into that
good night."
• At first this is a puzzling metaphor but, by the end of line 3, we realize that the speaker
is using night as a metaphor for death: the span of one day could represent a man's
lifetime, which makes the sunset his approaching demise.
• "That good night" is renamed at the end of line 2 as the "close of day," and at the end
of line 3 as "the dying of the light." It's probably not an accident that the metaphor for
death keeps getting repeated at the end of the lines, either. Or that the two rhyming
words that begin the poem are "night" and "day."
• So what does the speaker want to tell us about death? Well, he thinks that old men
shouldn't die peacefully or just slip easily away from this life. Instead, they should "burn
and rave," struggling with a fiery intensity.
• The word "rave" in line 2 connects with the repeated "rage" at the beginning of line 3,
uniting anger, power, madness, and frustration in a whirlwind of emotion.
Stanza 2
• Smart people know death is inevitable.
• They don't just accept it and let themselves fade away.
• Because they may not have achieved everything they were capable.
Stanza 3
• As they approach death, these men shout out how great their actions could've been if
they'd been allowed to live longer.
• Or, to use the metaphor in the poem, as their wave crashes against the rocks, the men
shout how beautifully that wave could have danced in the bay if it could've stayed out at
sea instead of rolling onto the beach.
Stanza 4
• The speaker describes another kind of men – those who don't allow themselves to
fade quietly away into death, "Wild men".
• What sort of men are we talking about? The kind who captured the world around
them in their imagination and celebrated it – "who caught and sang the sun in flight" –
only to discover that the world they celebrated was slowly dissolving around them as
comrades age and die.
Stanza 5
• Notice the pun on "grave," which could either mean that the men are very serious, or
that they are dying.
• These serious dying guys realize that, even though they are weak and losing their
faculty of sight, they can still use what strength they have to rage against death.
• So, even though their eyes are going blind, these men can "see," metaphorically
speaking, with an overwhelming certainty or "blinding sight," that they still have a lot of
power over the way they die, even if not the timing.

• Instead of getting snuffed like candles, they can "blaze like meteors". They're planning
to go out with a bang.
Stanza 6
• In the last lines of the poem, the speaker turns to addressing his father. His father is
on the verge of death, which the speaker describes as a "sad height."
• We think this is probably an allusion to looking down into the Biblical valley of death;
the metaphorical mountain where the father stands is the edge of the mortal world.
• The speaker begs his father to cry passionately, which will be both a blessing and a
curse. After all, the father's death is heartbreaking. But if he battles against the odds, it
might also be heroic.
• The speaker ends with the two lines that are repeated throughout the poem, asking or
instructing his father not to submit to death – instead, he should rant and rave and fight
it every step of the way.

Retrieved From:
Retrieved February 12, 2013, from http://www.shmoop.com/do-not-go-gentle-into-

“How do I love thee? (Sonnet 43)” by Elizabeth Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints – I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! – and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

The speaker asks how she loves her beloved and tries to list the different ways
in which she loves him. Her love seems to be eternal and to exist everywhere, and she
intends to continue loving him after her own death, if God lets her.

"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways" is one of the most famous love
poems in the English language. Because it's so famous, many readers mistakenly
attribute the poem to that master sonneteer, William Shakespeare. However, "How do I
love thee?" was written centuries after Shakespeare – in fact, it's only been around for a
little over 150 years. Prominent Victorian poet Elizabeth first published the poem in
The poem was part of a sonnet sequence called Sonnets from the Portuguese.
The title of the sequence is intentionally misleading; Barrett Browning implied to her
readers that these were sonnets originally written by someone else in Portuguese and
that she had translated them, whereas in reality they were her own original
compositions in English. ("My little Portuguese" was actually an affectionate nickname
that Elizabeth's husband used for her in private.) The sequence is comprised of 44
sonnets, with "How do I love thee?" appearing in the striking position of number 43, or
second-to-last, making it an important part of the climax.

Shmoop Editorial Team. (November 11, 2008).How do I love thee? Let me count the
ways. (Sonnet 43) Summary. Retrieved February 12, 2013, from
http://www.shmoop.com/how-do- i-love-thee-sonnet-43/summary.html

“Sonnet 18” and “Sonnet 29” by William Shakespeare


Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

Shall I compare you to a summer's day?

You are more lovely and more constant:
Rough winds shake the beloved buds of May
And summer is far too short:
At times the sun is too hot,
Or often goes behind the clouds;
And everything beautiful sometime will lose its beauty,
By misfortune or by nature's planned out course.
But your youth shall not fade,
Nor will you lose the beauty that you possess;
Nor will death claim you for his own,
Because in my eternal verse you will live forever.
So long as there are people on this earth,
So long will this poem live on, making you immortal.

temperate : i.e., evenly-tempered; not overcome by passion.
the eye of heaven : i.e., the sun.
every fair from fair sometime declines : i.e., the beauty (fair) of everything beautiful
(fair) will fade (declines).
Compare to Sonnet 116: "rosy lips and cheeks/Within his bending sickle's compass
nature's changing course : i.e., the natural changes age brings.
that fair thou ow'st : i.e., that beauty you possess.
in eternal lines...growest : The poet is using a grafting metaphor in this line. Grafting is a
technique used to join parts from two plants with cords so that they grow as one. Thus
the beloved becomes immortal, grafted to time with the poet's cords (his "eternal
lines"). For commentary on whether this sonnet is really "one long exercise in self-
glorification", please see below.
Sonnet 18 is the best known and most well-loved of all 154 sonnets. It is also one of the
most straightforward in language and intent. The stability of love and its power to
immortalize the poetry and the subject of that poetry is the theme.
The poet starts the praise of his dear friend without ostentation, but he slowly builds
the image of his friend into that of a perfect being. His friend is first compared to
summer in the octave, but, at the start of the third quatrain (9), he is summer, and thus,
he has metamorphosed into the standard by which true beauty can and should be


When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

When Ive fallen out of favor with fortune and men,

All alone I weep over my position as a social outcast,
And pray to heaven, but my cries go unheard,
And I look at myself, cursing my fate,
Wishing I were like one who had more hope,
Wishing I looked like him; wishing I were surrounded by friends,
Wishing I had this man's skill and that man's freedom.
I am least contented with what I used to enjoy most.
But, with these thoughts almost despising myself,
I, by chance, think of you and then my melancholy
Like the lark at the break of day, rises
From the dark earth and (I) sing hymns to heaven;
For thinking of your love brings such happiness
That then I would not change my position in life with kings.

in disgrace (1): out of favor.
beweep (2): weep over (my outcast state).
outcast state (2): The poet's "outcast state" is possibly an allusion to his lack of work as
an actor due to the closing of the theatres in 1592 (during an outbreak of plague). It also

could be a reference to the attack on Shakespeare at the hands of Robert Greene.
Please see the commentary below for more on Shakespeare and Greene.
bootless (3): useless.
Shakespeare uses the word seventeen times in the plays. Compare Othello:
The robb'd that smiles steals something from the thief;
He robs himself that spends a bootless grief. (1.3.225)
Compare also Titus Andronicus:
For they have fought for Rome, and all in vain;
And they have nursed this woe, in feeding life;
In bootless prayer have they been held up,
And they have served me to effectless use:
Now all the service I require of them
Is that the one will help to cut the other. (3.1.75)
Interestingly, the phrase "bootless cries" appears in Edward III, an anonymous play that
many now believe Shakespeare wrote.
look upon myself (4): i.e., I become occupied with self-reflection.
Featured like him (6): i.e., the features (physical beauty) of some other more attractive

Retrieved from http://www.shakespeare-online.com on February 26,2013 at 6pm

V. Discovering the Values of the Contemporary Short Stories

“The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe

THE thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could; but when he
ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge. You, who so well know the nature of my soul,
will not suppose, however, that I gave utterance to a threat. At length I would be
avenged; this was a point definitively settled— but the very definitiveness with which it
was resolved, precluded the idea of risk. I must not only punish, but punish with
impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally
unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done
the wrong.
It must be understood that neither by word nor deed had I given Fortunato
cause to doubt my good will. I continued, as was my wont, to smile in his face, and he
did not perceive that my smile now was at the thought of his immolation.
He had a weak point—this Fortunato—although in other regards he was a man
to be respected and even feared. He prided himself on his connoisseurship in wine. Few
Italians have the true virtuoso spirit. For the most part their enthusiasm is adopted to
suit the time and opportunity—to practise imposture upon the British and Austrian

millionaires. In painting and gemmary, Fortunato, like his countrymen, was a quack—
but in the matter of old wines he was sincere. In this respect I did not differ from him
materially: I was skilful in the Italian vintages myself, and bought largely whenever I
It was about dusk, one evening during the supreme madness of the carnival
season, that I encountered my friend. He accosted me with excessive warmth, for he
had been drinking much. The man wore motley. He had on a tightfitting parti-striped
dress, and his head was surmounted by the conical cap and bells. I was so pleased to see
him that I thought I should never have done wringing his hand. I said to him: “My dear
Fortunato, you are luckily met. How remarkably well you are looking to-day! But I have
received a pipe of what passes for Amontillado, and I have my doubts.” “How?” said he.
“Amontillado? A pipe? Impossible! And in the middle of the carnival!” “I have my
doubts,” I replied; “and I was silly enough to pay the full Amontillado price without
consulting you in the matter. You were not to be found, and I was fearful of losing a
bargain.” “Amontillado!” “I have my doubts.” “Amontillado!” “And I must satisfy them.”
“Amontillado!” “As you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchesi. If any one has a critical
turn, it is he. He will tell me——” “Luchesi cannot tell Amontillado from Sherry.” “And
yet some fools will have it that his taste is a match for your own.” “Come, let us go.”
“Whither?” “To your vaults.” “My friend, no; I will not impose upon your good nature. I
perceive you have an engagement. Luchesi——” “I have no engagement;—come.” “My
friend, no. It is not the engagement, but the severe cold with which I perceive you are
afflicted. The vaults are insufferably damp. They are encrusted with nitre.” “Let us go,
nevertheless. The cold is merely nothing.
Amontillado! You have been imposed upon. And as for Luchesi, he cannot
distinguish Sherry from Amontillado.” Thus speaking, Fortunato possessed himself of my
arm. Putting on a mask of black silk, and drawing a roquelaire closely about my person, I
suffered him to hurry me to my palazzo.
There were no attendants at home; they had absconded to make merry in
honor of the time. I had told them that I should not return until the morning, and had
given them explicit orders not to stir from the house. These orders were sufficient, I well
knew, to insure their immediate disappearance, one and all, as soon as my back was
turned. I took from their sconces two flambeaux, and giving one to Fortunato, bowed
him through several suites of rooms to the archway that led into the vaults. I passed
down a long and winding staircase, requesting him to be cautious as he followed. We
came at length to the foot of the descent, and stood together on the damp ground of
the catacombs of the Montresors.
The gait of my friend was unsteady, and the bells upon his cap jingled as he
strode. “The pipe?” said he. “It is farther on,” said I; “but observe the white webwork
which gleams from these cavern walls.” He turned toward me, and looked into my eyes
with two filmy orbs that distilled the rheum of intoxication. “Nitre?” he asked, at length.
“Nitre,” I replied. “How long have you had that cough?” “Ugh! ugh! ugh!—ugh! ugh!
ugh!—ugh! ugh! ugh!— ugh! ugh! ugh!—ugh! ugh! ugh!” My poor friend found it
impossible to reply for many minutes. “It is nothing,” he said, at last. “Come,” I said,
with decision, “we will go back; your health is precious. You are rich, respected,
admired, beloved;you are happy, as once I was. You are a man to be missed.
For me it is no matter. We will go back; you will be ill, and I cannot be
responsible. Besides, there is Luchesi——” “Enough,” he said; “the cough is a mere
nothing; it will not kill me. I shall not die of a cough.” “True—true,” I replied; “and,
indeed, I had no intention of alarming you unnecessarily; but you should use all proper
caution. A draught of this Medoc will defend us from the damps.”

Here I knocked off the neck of a bottle which I drew from a long row of its
fellows that lay upon the mould. “Drink,” I said, presenting him the wine. He raised it to
his lips with a leer. He paused and nodded to me familiarly, while his bells jingled. “I
drink,” he said, “to the buried that repose around us.” “And I to your long life.” He again
took my arm, and we proceeded. “These vaults,” he said, “are extensive.” “The
Montresors,” I replied, “were a great and numerous family.” “I forget your arms.” “A
huge human foot d’or, in a field azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs
are imbedded in the heel.” “And the motto?” “Nemo me impune lacessit.” “Good!” he
said. The wine sparkled in his eyes and the bells jingled. My own fancy grew warm with
the Medoc. We had passed through walls of piled bones, with casks and puncheons
intermingling, into the inmost recesses of the catacombs. I paused again, and this time I
made bold to seize Fortunato by an arm above the elbow. “The nitre!” I said; “see, it
increases. It hangs like moss upon the vaults. We are below the river’s bed. The drops of
moisture trickle among the bones. Come, we will go back ere it is too late. Your cough—
—” “It is nothing,” he said; “let us go on. But first, another draught of the Medoc.” I
broke and reached him a flagon of De Grâve. He emptied it at a breath. His eyes flashed
with a fierce light. He laughed and threw the bottle upward with a gesticulation I did not
I looked at him in surprise. He repeated the movement—a grotesque one. “You
do not comprehend?” he said. “Not I,” I replied. “Then you are not of the brotherhood.”
“How?” “You are not of the masons.” “Yes, yes,” I said; “yes, yes.” “You? Impossible! A
mason?” “A mason,” I replied. “A sign,” he said. “It is this,” I answered, producing a
trowel from beneath the folds of my roquelaire. “You jest,” he exclaimed, recoiling a
few paces. “But let us proceed to the Amontillado.” “Be it so,” I said, replacing the tool
beneath the cloak, and again offering him my arm. He leaned upon it heavily. We
continued our route in search of the Amontillado. We passed through a range of low
arches, descended, passed on, and descending again, arrived at a deep crypt, in which
the foulness of the air caused our flambeaux rather to glow than flame. At the most
remote end of the crypt there appeared another less spacious. Its walls had been lined
with human remains, piled to the vault overhead, in the fashion of the great catacombs
of Paris. Three sides of this interior crypt were still ornamented in this manner. From the
fourth the bones had been thrown down, and lay promiscuously upon the earth,
forming at one point a mound of some size. Within the wall thus exposed by the
displacing of the bones, we perceived a still interior recess, in depth about four feet, in
width three, in height six or seven. It seemed to have been constructed for no especial
use within itself, but formed merely the interval between two of the colossal supports
of the roof of the catacombs, and was backed by one of their circumscribing walls of
solid granite.
It was in vain that Fortunato, uplifting his dull torch, endeavored to pry into the
depth of the recess. Its termination the feeble light did not enable us to see. “Proceed,”
I said; “herein is the Amontillado. As for Luchesi——” “He is an ignoramus,” interrupted
my friend, as he stepped unsteadily forward, while I followed immediately at his heels.
In an instant he had reached the extremity of the niche, and finding his progress
arrested by the rock, stood stupidly bewildered. A moment more and I had fettered him
to the granite. In its surface were two iron staples, distant from each other about two
feet, horizontally. From one of these depended a short chain, from the other a padlock.
Throwing the links about his waist, it was but the work of a few seconds to secure it. He
was too much astounded to resist. Withdrawing the key I stepped back from the recess.
“Pass your hand,” I said, “over the wall; you cannot help feeling the nitre.
Indeed it is very damp. Once more let me implore you to return. No? Then I must
positively leave you. But I must first render you all the little attentions in my power.”

“The Amontillado!” ejaculated my friend, not yet recovered from his astonishment.
“True,” I replied; “the Amontillado.” As I said these words I busied myself among the
pile of bones of which I have before spoken. Throwing them aside, I soon uncovered a
quantity of building stone and mortar. With these materials and with the aid of my
trowel, I began vigorously to wall up the entrance of the niche.
I had scarcely laid the first tier of the masonry when I discovered that the
intoxication of Fortunato had in a great measure worn off. The earliest indication I had
of this was a low moaning cry from the depth of the recess. It was not the cry of a
drunken man. There was then a long and obstinate silence. I laid the second tier, and
the third, and the fourth; and then I heard the furious vibrations of the chain. The noise
lasted for several minutes, during which, that I might hearken to it with the more
satisfaction, I ceased my labors and sat down upon the bones. When at last the clanking
subsided, I resumed the trowel, and finished without interruption the fifth, the sixth,
and the seventh tier. The wall was now nearly upon a level with my breast. I again
paused, and holding the flambeaux over the mason-work, threw a few feeble rays upon
the figure within.
A succession of loud and shrill screams, bursting suddenly from the throat of
the chained form, seemed to thrust me violently back. For a brief moment I hesitated—I
trembled. Unsheathing my rapier, I began to grope with it about the recess; but the
thought of an instant reassured me. I placed my hand upon the solid fabric of the
catacombs, and felt satisfied. I reapproached the wall. I replied to the yells of him who
clamored. I re-echoed—I aided—I surpassed them in volume and in strength. I did this,
and the clamorer grew still.
It was now midnight, and my task was drawing to a close. I had completed the
eighth, the ninth, and the tenth tier. I had finished a portion of the last and the
eleventh; there remained but a single stone to be fitted and plastered in. I struggled
with its weight; I placed it partially in its destined position. But now there came from out
the niche a low laugh that erected the hairs upon my head. It was succeeded by a sad
voice, which I had difficulty in recognizing as that of the noble Fortunato. The voice
said— “Ha! ha! ha!—he! he!—a very good joke indeed—an excellent jest. We will have
many a rich laugh about it at the palazzo—he! he! he!—over our wine—he! he! he!”
“The Amontillado!” I said. “He! he! he!—he! he! he!—yes, the Amontillado. But is it not
getting late? Will not they be awaiting us at the palazzo, the Lady Fortunato and the
rest? Let us be gone.” “Yes,” I said, “let us be gone.” “For the love of God, Montresor!”
“Yes,” I said, “for the love of God!” But to these words I hearkened in vain for a reply. I
grew impatient. I called aloud: “Fortunato!” No answer. I called again: “Fortunato!” No
answer still. I thrust a torch through the remaining aperture and let it fall within. There
came forth in reply only a jingling of the bells. My heart grew sick—on account of the
dampness of the catacombs. I hastened to make an end of my labor. I forced the last
stone into its position; I plastered it up. Against the new masonry I re-erected the old
rampart of bones. For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them. In pace

“The Spider’s Thread” by Ryunosuke Akutagawa

ONE DAY THE LORD BUDDHA was taking a walk by the edge of the lotus pond in
Paradise. The lotus flowers blossoming in the pond were white as pearls, and an
indescribably delicate fragrance, rising from their golden stamens, filled the air, never
ending. The hour in Paradise was perhaps early morn. Then the lord Buddha paused,

and through a clear patch of water between those lotus flowers that covered the
surface of the pond, he looked at the scene below. At the bottom of the lotus pond in
Paradise was Hell, and through the crystalclear water could be seen, as though in a
peep-show, such sights as the River of Death and the Mountain of Needles. And almost
immediately the lord Buddha noticed a man named Kandata, writhing in the midst of
other sinners. This man Kandata had been a great thief, and had done many wicked
deeds on earth, killing men and burning houses. Yet even he had once acted with
kindness. One day, when walking through a thick forest, he saw a little spider crawling
across his path. IIe lifted his foot, and was about to crush it 10 death, when he suddenly
changed his mind. “Eo,” he said tn himself, “I must ‘not. Even a little creature such as
this has life, and to kill it without cause would be a great pity.” And so he spared the life
of the spider.
The lord Buddha, as he looked at the scene in Hell, remembered Kandata’s
kindness to the spider; and he thought that he should save Kandata if he could, in return
for his one good deed. Fortunately, beside him, on a lotus leaf the color of dark jade, a
spider of Paradise was weaving a silvery web. The lord Buddha picked up the spider
gently, and then began to let it down between the pearl-white flowers, straight towards
Hell far beneath. Meanwhile, Kandata, with other sinners, was struggling to keep afloat
in the Lake of Blood, which was in the lowest depths of Hell. All was darkness, except for
an occasional, ghostly glimmer of half-light coming from the fearful Mountain of
Needles. The quiet was like that of a graveyard, and the only sound that could be heard
was the faint sighing of the sinners. Perhaps those that had come SO far down in Hell
had gone through too many torments to have any strength left for loud cries of self-pity.
And in the Lake of Blood, even the great thief Kandata could only writhe and choke like
a dying frog.
But it so happened that Kandata, in the midst of his suffering, raised his head
and looked towards the sky above the lake. And he saw, descending gradually towards
him in a straight, shimmering line, as thou!h fearful of being seen by man’s eyes, the
silvery thread of the spider. It seemed 10 come from far, far above, through the silent
darkness. Kandata clapped his hands for joy. Surely, he thought, if he could once get
hold of the thread, and climb far enough, he would eventually get out of Hell. With luck,
he might even reach Paradise.
And then, he would no more be chased up the Mountain of Needles, or be
pushed down into the Lake of Blood. With this hope in his heart, he reached for the
thread, and grasping it firmly with both hands, he began to climb up, up, and up, with all
his might. Having once been a burglar, he was a skilful climber. But the ascent was by no
means an easy one, for thousands of miles separated Paradise from Hell. After a time,
Kandata grew very tired, and could climb no more. Reluctantly, he paused to rest, and
still clinging firmly to the thread, he looked down into the depths below. He must have
come a long way up indeed, for already, the Lake of Blood was no longer visible, and
even the top of the dully gleaming Mountain of Needles WES beneath him. At this rate,
he thought, getting out of Hell might not be so difficult after all. In a tone of voice he
had not used for many a year, he cried, “Good, good!” and began to laugh. Then
suddenly he espied far below a procession of sinners, numberless as a column of anis,
coming after him up the spider’s thread.
For a while, Kandata, struck dumb with amazement and fear, could only stare
openmouthed at the scene. How could such a thin spider’s thread, which seemed to:,
fragile to bear the weight of one man, bear the added burden of so many others! And if
the thread did break, he would drop straight back into Hell. And as such frightening
thoughts passed through his mind, hundreds, nay thousands, more sinners were
crawling out of the darkness of the Lake of Blood, and were climbing up the thread.

Unless Kandata stopped them, the thread would surely break in the middle, and they
would all fall. And so Kandata with a loud voice began to scream at his fellow-sinners.
“Listen to me, you sinners! This spider’s thread is mine! Who said you could come up
after me? Get off! Get off!” It was at this moment that the spider’s thread, which until
then had shown no signs of breaking, snapped just above Kandata’s clinging hands.
Spinning round and round through the air like a top, Kandata’s body plunged into the
All that now remained in the moonless and starless sky was the thin thread of
the spider of Paradise, shimmering softly in the dark. The lord Buddha, standing by the
lotus pond of Paradise, saw all that passed below. And when at last the body of Kandata
had sunk like a stone to the bottom of the Lake of Blood, he resumed his walk, sadly.
There was probably much pity in the lord Buddha’s heart for Kandata, who was sent
back to Hell for his heartlessness. But the pearl-white flowers in the lotus pond of
Paradise, innocent of wickedness or sorrow, swayed gently about the feet of the lord
Buddha, and from the golden stamens, there came the same delicate fragrance, filling
the air as always. The hour in Paradise was perhaps near noon.

“The Last Leaf” by O. Henry

In the 1890s, many artists lived in Greenwich Village, in New York City. Sue and Johnsy
were artists. The two girls met each other in the month of May, at a restaurant in
Greenwich Village. ‘I’m from the State of Maine,’ Sue said to Johnsy. ‘I draw pictures for
stories in magazines.’ ‘I’m from California,’ Johnsy said to Sue. ‘But I want to go to Italy. I
want to paint a picture of the Bay of Naples!’ The two girls talked happily for an hour –
about art, about clothes, about food.
Soon after their first meeting, Sue and Johnsy moved into a studio apartment together.
Their rooms were at the top of an old brick house in Greenwich Village. In December, it
was very cold in New York. Snow fell and there was ice in the ground. Many people in
the city became ill. The illness was called pneumonia. The doctors tried to help the sick
people, but many of them died. That month, Johnsy had pneumonia. She was very ill.
She lay in her bed and she did not move. A doctor visited her every day. But Johnsy was
not getting better. One morning, the doctor spoke quietly to Sue outside Johnsy’s room.
‘I can’t help her,’ the doctor said. ‘She is very sad. She doesn’t want to live. Someone
must make her happy again. What is she interested in?’ ‘She’s an artist,’ Sue replied.
‘She wants to paint a picture of the Bay of Naples.’ ‘Painting!’ said the doctor. ‘That
won’t help her!’ The doctor left the apartment.
Sue went into her own room and she cried quietly for a few minutes. Then she picked
up her drawing board and some pencils. She started to sing a happy song and walked
into Johnsy’s room. Johnsy lay silently in her bed. Her face was thin and white. She was
looking towards the window. ‘Johnsy is asleep,’ Sue thought. She stopped singing and
she sat down in a corner of the room. Then she started to draw a picture for a magazine.
Suddenly, Sue heard a quiet sound. She went quickly to the side of the bed. Johnsy’s
eyes were open. She was looking out of the window and she was speaking quietly.
‘Twelve,’ Johnsy said. A little later, she said ‘eleven’. Then she said ‘ten’. Then ‘nine’.
And then she said ‘eight’ and ‘seven’ almost together. She was counting backwards.
What was Johnsy looking at? What was she counting?
Sue looked out of the window. Outside the window, Sue saw the brick wall of the next
house. An old vine grew against the wall. There were very few leaves on its branches.
‘Six,’ Johnsy said. ‘They’re falling faster. Three days ago, there was almost a hundred.

Ah, there goes another! There are only five now.’ ‘Five? What are you talking about,
Johnsy?’ Sue asked. ‘Please tell me.’ ‘There are only five leaves on the vine now,’ said
Johnsy. ‘The last leaf will fall soon and then I’ll die. Didn’t the doctor tell you about the
leaves?’ ‘Don’t say that! You’re not going to die!’ Sue said. ‘You’re going to get better.
The doctor told me that this morning. I’ll bring you some soup and I’ll draw my picture.
The magazine will pay me quickly. Then I’ll buy us some nice food.’ Johnsy was still
looking at the vine. ‘There are only four leaves now,’ she said. ‘I don’t want any soup.
The last leaf will fall soon.’ ‘Johnsy, dear,’ Sue said. ‘Please close your eyes and go to
sleep. I have to finish this drawing by tomorrow. And I don’t want you to look at those
leaves any more.’ Johnsy closed her eyes. ‘But I want to watch the last leaf,’ she said
again. ‘It will fall soon. The leaves are tired.
I’m tired too. I want to die.’ ‘Please try to sleep,’ Sue said. ‘I’m going to talk to Behrman
for a minute. I must have a model for my drawing. Behrman will be my model.’ Old
Behrman lived downstairs. He was also an artist, but he had never painted a good
picture. He was sad about this and he was angry about it too. ‘One day, I will paint a
wonderful picture,’ Behrman often said. ‘One day, I will paint a masterpiece.’ But he had
never painted a masterpiece. And he was more than sixty years old.
Sue found the little old man in his dark room. She told him about Johnsy and the vine
leaves. Oh, the foolish girl!’ Behrman shouted. ‘An old vine can’t kill people!’ ‘But the
vine is killing her,’ said Sue. ‘She’s very ill and weak. She sees the vine dying. Now she
wants to die too.’ Behrman was angry, but he loved the two young artists very much.
‘Ah, little Miss Johnsy,’ he said quietly. ‘She’s too good for this place. One day, I will
paint a masterpiece. Then we will all go to Italy. We will go to Naples. Yes! But today, I’ll
be your model.’ Together, they went upstairs. Johnsy was sleeping. Sue pulled the shade
down over her friend’s bedroom window. Then she took Behrman into her own room.
They both looked at the vine. Cold rain was falling.
‘Soon there will be snow,’ Sue thought. Behrman sat down and Sue started to draw a
picture of him. That night, there was a storm. The rain fell heavily and thewind was very
strong. Johnsy woke early the next morning. ‘Pull up the shade,’ she said to Sue. Sue
pulled up the shade. There was still one leaf on the vine! The leaf was dark green and
yellow. And it hung from a branch twenty feet above the ground. That’s the last leaf,’
said Johnsy. ‘It will fall today. I’ll die at the same time.’ Sue put her face close to her
friend’s face. ‘Don’t say that, Johnsy,’ she said quietly. ‘I don’t wantyou to die.’Johnsy
did not answer. The leaf stayed on the vine all day. That night, there was more wind and
rain. In the morning, Johnsy woke early again. ‘Pull up the shade,’ she said. The leaf was
still on the vine. Johnsy lay in her bed and she looked at it for a long time. Then she
called to Sue. ‘I’ve been a very foolish girl, Sue,’ she said. ‘I wanted to die. But the last
leaf has stayed on the vine. It has taught me a lesson. Please, bring me a bowl of soup
now.’ An hour later, Johnsy spoke again.
Sue, my dear,’ she said. ‘One day, I’m going to paint a picture of the Bay of Naples!’ The
doctor visited the girls in the afternoon. He looked at Johnsy carefully and he held Sue’s
thin hand. ‘Take good care of your friend,’ he said. ‘She is going to get well. Now I have
to go downstairs. I have to visit Mr. Behrman. He has pneumonia too. I must send him
to the hospital.’ The next day, the doctor spoke to Sue again. ‘Your friend will soon be
well,’ he said. Then he told her some other news.
That afternoon, Sue went into Johnsy’s room and she put her arm around her friend’s
shoulders. ‘Mr Behrman died this morning, in the hospital,’ she said. ‘Two days ago, one
of the neighbours found him in his bedroom. Behrman was very ill. His shoes and
clothes were cold and wet. The neighbour sent for the doctor. Later, the neighbour
found a ladder outside in the yard. There was a lamp next to it. And there were brushes,

and some yellow and green paint.’ ‘Johnsy, look out of the window,’ Sue said quietly.
‘Look at the last leaf on the vine. It’s still there. It has never moved in the wind. Didn’t
that surprise you? It’s Behrman’s masterpiece, dear. He painted it on the night of the

“Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway

The hills across the valley of the Ebro were long and white. On this side there was no
shade and no trees and the station was between two lines of rails in the sun. Close
against the side of the station there was the warm shadow of the building and a curtain,
made of strings of bamboo beads, hung across the open door into the bar, to keep out
flies. The American and the girl with him sat at a table in the shade, outside the building.
It was very hot and the express from Barcelona would come in forty minutes. It stopped
at this junction for two minutes and went to Madrid.
‘What should we drink?’ the girl asked. She had taken off her hat and put it on the table.
‘It’s pretty hot,’ the man said. ‘Let’s drink beer.’ ‘Dos cervezas,’ the man said into the
curtain. ‘Big ones?’ a woman asked from the doorway. ‘Yes. Two big ones.’ The woman
brought two glasses of beer and two felt pads. She put the felt pads and the beer glass
on the table and looked at the man and the girl. The girl was looking off at the line of
They were white in the sun and the country was brown and dry. ‘They look like white
elephants,’ she said. ‘I’ve never seen one,’ the man drank his beer. ‘No, you wouldn’t
have.’ ‘I might have,’ the man said. ‘Just because you say I wouldn’t have doesn’t prove
anything.’ The girl looked at the bead curtain. ‘They’ve painted something on it,’ she
said. ‘What does it say?’ ‘Anis del Toro. It’s a drink.’ ‘Could we try it?’
The man called ‘Listen’ through the curtain. The woman came out from the bar. ‘Four
reales.’ ‘We want two Anis del Toro.’ ‘With water?’ ‘Do you want it with water?’ ‘I don’t
know,’ the girl said. ‘Is it good with water?’ ‘It’s all right.’ ‘You want them with water?’
asked the woman. ‘Yes, with water.’ ‘It tastes like liquorice,’ the girl said and put the
glass down. ‘That’s the way with everything.’ ‘Yes,’ said the girl. ‘Everything tastes of
liquorice. Especially all the things you’ve waited so long for, like absinthe.’ ‘Oh, cut it
out.’ ‘You started it,’ the girl said. ‘I was being amused. I was having a fine time.’ ‘Well,
let’s try and have a fine time.’ ‘All right. I was trying. I said the mountains looked like
white elephants. Wasn’t that bright?’
‘That was bright.’ ‘I wanted to try this new drink. That’s all we do, isn’t it – look at things
and try new drinks?’ ‘I guess so.’ The girl looked across at the hills. ‘They’re lovely hills,’
she said. ‘They don’t really look like white elephants. I just meant the colouring of their
skin through the trees.’ ‘Should we have another drink?’ ‘All right.’ The warm wind blew
the bead curtain against the table. ‘The beer’s nice and cool,’ the man said. ‘It’s lovely,’
the girl said. ‘It’s really an awfully simple operation, Jig,’ the man said. ‘It’s not really an
operation at all.’ The girl looked at the ground the table legs rested on. ‘I know you
wouldn’t mind it, Jig. It’s really not anything. It’s just to let the air in.’ The girl did not say
anything. ‘I’ll go with you and I’ll stay with you all the time. They just let the air in and
then it’s all perfectly natural.’ ‘Then what will we do afterwards?’ ‘We’ll be fine
afterwards. Just like we were before.’ ‘What makes you think so?’ ‘That’s the only thing
that bothers us. It’s the only thing that’s made us nhappy.’
The girl looked at the bead curtain, put her hand out and took hold of two of the strings
of beads. ‘And you think then we’ll be all right and be happy.’ ‘I know we will. Yon don’t

have to be afraid. I’ve known lots of people that have done it.’ ‘So have I,’ said the girl.
‘And afterwards they were all so happy.’ ‘Well,’ the man said, ‘if you don’t want to you
don’t have to. I wouldn’t have you do it if you didn’t want to. But I know it’s perfectly
simple.’ ‘And you really want to?’ ‘I think it’s the best thing to do. But I don’t want you
to do it if you don’t really want to.’ ‘And if I do it you’ll be happy and things will be like
they were and you’ll love me?’ ‘I love you now. You know I love you.’ ‘I know. But if I do
it, then it will be nice again if I say things are like white elephants, and you’ll like it?’ ‘I’ll
love it. I love it now but I just can’t think about it. You know how I get when I worry.’ ‘If I
do it you won’t ever worry?’ ‘I won’t worry about that because it’s perfectly simple.’
‘Then I’ll do it. Because I don’t care about me.’ ‘What do you mean?’ ‘I don’t care about
me.’ ‘Well, I care about you.’ ‘Oh, yes. But I don’t care about me. And I’ll do it and then
everything will be fine.’ ‘I don’t want you to do it if you feel that way.’ The girl stood up
and walked to the end of the station. Across, on the other side, were fields of grain and
trees along the banks of the Ebro. Far away, beyond the river, were mountains. The
shadow of a cloud moved across the field of grain and she saw the river through the
‘And we could have all this,’ she said. ‘And we could have everything and every day we
make it more impossible.’ ‘What did you say?’ ‘I said we could have everything.’ ‘We can
have everything.’ ‘No, we can’t.’ ‘We can have the whole world.’ ‘No, we can’t.’ ‘We can
go everywhere.’ ‘No, we can’t. It isn’t ours any more.’ ‘It’s ours.’ ‘No, it isn’t. And once
they take it away, you never get it back.’ ‘But they haven’t taken it away.’ ‘We’ll wait
and see.’ ‘Come on back in the shade,’ he said. ‘You mustn’t feel that way.’ ‘I don’t feel
any way,’ the girl said. ‘I just know things.’ ‘I don’t want you to do anything that you
don’t want to do -’ ‘Nor that isn’t good for me,’ she said. ‘I know. Could we have another
beer?’ ‘All right. But you’ve got to realize – ‘ ‘I realize,’ the girl said. ‘Can’t we maybe
stop talking?’
They sat down at the table and the girl looked across at the hills on the dry side of the
valley and the man looked at her and at the table. ‘You’ve got to realize,’ he said, ‘ that I
don’t want you to do it if you don’t want to. I’m perfectly willing to go through with it if
it means anything to you.’ ‘Doesn’t it mean anything to you? We could get along.’ ‘Of
course it does. But I don’t want anybody but you. I don’t want anyone else. And I know
it’s perfectly simple.’ ‘Yes, you know it’s perfectly simple.’ ‘It’s all right for you to say
that, but I do know it.’ ‘Would you do something for me now?’ ‘I’d do anything for you.’
‘Would you please please please please please please please stop talking?’ He did not
say anything but looked at the bags against the wall of the station. There were labels on
them from all the hotels where they had spent nights. ‘But I don’t want you to,’ he said,
‘I don’t care anything about it.’ ‘I’ll scream,’ the girl siad.
The woman came out through the curtains with two glasses of beer and put them down
on the damp felt pads. ‘The train comes in five minutes,’ she said. ‘What did she say?’
asked the girl. ‘That the train is coming in five minutes.’ The girl smiled brightly at the
woman, to thank her. ‘I’d better take the bags over to the other side of the station,’ the
man said. She smiled at him. ‘All right. Then come back and we’ll finish the beer.’ He
picked up the two heavy bags and carried them around the station to the other tracks.
He looked up the tracks but could not see the train. Coming back, he walked through
the bar-room, where people waiting for the train were drinking. He drank an Anis at the
bar and looked at the people. They were all waiting reasonably for the train. He went
out through the bead curtain. She was sitting at the table and smiled at him. ‘Do you
feel better?’ he asked. ‘I feel fine,’ she said. ‘There’s nothing wrong with me. I feel fine.’

“The Neclace” by Guy de Maupassant

She was one of those pretty and charming girls born, as though fate had blundered over
her, into a family of artisans. She had no marriage portion, no expectations, no means of
getting known, understood, loved, and wedded by a man of wealth and distinction; and
she let herself be married off to a little clerk in the Ministry of Education. Her tastes
were simple because she had never been able to afford any other, but she was as
unhappy as though she had married beneath her; for women have no caste or class,
their beauty, grace, and charm serving them for birth or family, their natural delicacy,
their instinctive elegance, their nimbleness of wit, are their only mark of rank, and put
the slum girl on a level with the highest lady in the land.
She suffered endlessly, feeling herself born for every delicacy and luxury. She suffered
from the poorness of her house, from its mean walls, worn chairs, and ugly curtains. All
these things, of which other women of her class would not even have been aware,
tormented and insulted her. The sight of the little Breton girl who came to do the work
in her little house aroused heart-broken regrets and hopeless dreams in her mind. She
imagined silent antechambers, heavy with Oriental tapestries, lit by torches in lofty
bronze sockets, with two tall footmen in knee-breeches sleeping in large arm-chairs,
overcome by the heavy warmth of the stove. She imagined vast saloons hung with
antique silks, exquisite pieces of furniture supporting priceless ornaments, and small,
charming, perfumed rooms, created just for little parties of intimate friends, men who
were famous and sought after, whose homage roused every other woman's envious
When she sat down for dinner at the round table covered with a three-days-old cloth,
opposite her husband, who took the cover off the soup-tureen, exclaiming delightedly:
"Aha! Scotch broth! What could be better?" she imagined delicate meals, gleaming
silver, tapestries peopling the walls with folk of a past age and strange birds in faery
forests; she imagined delicate food served in marvellous dishes, murmured gallantries,
listened to with an inscrutable smile as one trifled with the rosy flesh of trout or wings
of asparagus chicken.
She had no clothes, no jewels, nothing. And these were the only things she loved; she
felt that she was made for them. She had longed so eagerly to charm, to be desired, to
be wildly attractive and sought after. She had a rich friend, an old school friend whom
she refused to visit, because she suffered so keenly when she returned home. She
would weep whole days, with grief, regret, despair, and misery.
One evening her husband came home with an exultant air, holding a large envelope in
his hand.
"Here's something for you," he said.
Swiftly she tore the paper and drew out a printed card on which were these words:
"The Minister of Education and Madame Ramponneau request the pleasure of the
company of Monsieur and Madame Loisel at the Ministry on the evening of Monday,
January the 18th."
Instead of being delighted, as her husband hoped, she flung the invitation petulantly
across the table, murmuring:
"What do you want me to do with this?"

"Why, darling, I thought you'd be pleased. You never go out, and this is a great occasion.
I had tremendous trouble to get it. Every one wants one; it's very select, and very few go
to the clerks. You'll see all the really big people there."
She looked at him out of furious eyes, and said impatiently: "And what do you suppose I
am to wear at such an affair?"
He had not thought about it; he stammered:
"Why, the dress you go to the theatre in. It looks very nice, to me . . ."
He stopped, stupefied and utterly at a loss when he saw that his wife was beginning to
cry. Two large tears ran slowly down from the corners of her eyes towards the corners
of her mouth.
"What's the matter with you? What's the matter with you?" he faltered.
But with a violent effort she overcame her grief and replied in a calm voice, wiping her
wet cheeks:
"Nothing. Only I haven't a dress and so I can't go to this party. Give your invitation to
some friend of yours whose wife will be turned out better than I shall."
He was heart-broken.
"Look here, Mathilde," he persisted. "What would be the cost of a suitable dress, which
you could use on other occasions as well, something very simple?"
She thought for several seconds, reckoning up prices and also wondering for how large a
sum she could ask without bringing upon herself an immediate refusal and an
exclamation of horror from the careful-minded clerk.
At last she replied with some hesitation:
"I don't know exactly, but I think I could do it on four hundred francs."
He grew slightly pale, for this was exactly the amount he had been saving for a gun,
intending to get a little shooting next summer on the plain of Nanterre with some
friends who went lark-shooting there on Sundays.
Nevertheless he said: "Very well. I'll give you four hundred francs. But try and get a
really nice dress with the money."
The day of the party drew near, and Madame Loisel seemed sad, uneasy and anxious.
Her dress was ready, however. One evening her husband said to her:
"What's the matter with you? You've been very odd for the last three days."
"I'm utterly miserable at not having any jewels, not a single stone, to wear," she replied.
"I shall look absolutely no one. I would almost rather not go to the party."
"Wear flowers," he said. "They're very smart at this time of the year. For ten francs you
could get two or three gorgeous roses."
She was not convinced.
"No . . . there's nothing so humiliating as looking poor in the middle of a lot of rich
"How stupid you are!" exclaimed her husband. "Go and see Madame Forestier and ask
her to lend you some jewels. You know her quite well enough for that."
She uttered a cry of delight.

"That's true. I never thought of it."
Next day she went to see her friend and told her her trouble.
Madame Forestier went to her dressing-table, took up a large box, brought it to
Madame Loisel, opened it, and said:
"Choose, my dear."
First she saw some bracelets, then a pearl necklace, then a Venetian cross in gold and
gems, of exquisite workmanship. She tried the effect of the jewels before the mirror,
hesitating, unable to make up her mind to leave them, to give them up. She kept on
"Haven't you anything else?"
"Yes. Look for yourself. I don't know what you would like best."
Suddenly she discovered, in a black satin case, a superb diamond necklace; her heart
began to beat covetously.
Her hands trembled as she lifted it. She fastened it round her neck, upon her high dress,
and remained in ecstasy at sight of herself.
Then, with hesitation, she asked in anguish:
"Could you lend me this, just this alone?"
"Yes, of course."
She flung herself on her friend's breast, embraced her frenziedly, and went away with
her treasure. The day of the party arrived. Madame Loisel was a success. She was the
prettiest woman present, elegant, graceful, smiling, and quite above herself with
happiness. All the men stared at her, inquired her name, and asked to be introduced to
All the Under-Secretaries of State were eager to waltz with her. The Minister noticed
She danced madly, ecstatically, drunk with pleasure, with no thought for anything, in
the triumph of her beauty, in the pride of her success, in a cloud of happiness made up
of this universal homage and admiration, of the desires she had aroused, of the
completeness of a victory so dear to her feminine heart.
She left about four o'clock in the morning. Since midnight her husband had been dozing
in a deserted little room, in company with three other men whose wives were having a
good time. He threw over her shoulders the garments he had brought for them to go
home in, modest everyday clothes, whose poverty clashed with the beauty of the
She was conscious of this and was anxious to hurry away, so that she should not be
noticed by the other women putting on their costly furs.
Loisel restrained her.
"Wait a little. You'll catch cold in the open. I'm going to fetch a cab."
But she did not listen to him and rapidly descended the staircase. When they were out
in the street they could not find a cab; they began to look for one, shouting at the
drivers whom they saw passing in the distance.

They walked down towards the Seine, desperate and shivering. At last they found on the
quay one of those old nightprowling carriages which are only to be seen in Paris after
dark, as though they were ashamed of their shabbiness in the daylight.
It brought them to their door in the Rue des Martyrs, and sadly they walked up to their
own apartment. It was the end, for her. As for him, he was thinking that he must be at
the office at ten.
She took off the garments in which she had wrapped her shoulders, so as to see herself
in all her glory before the mirror. But suddenly she uttered a cry. The necklace was no
longer round her neck!
"What's the matter with you?" asked her husband, already half undressed.
She turned towards him in the utmost distress.
"I . . . I . . . I've no longer got Madame Forestier's necklace. . . ."
He started with astonishment.
"What! . . . Impossible!"
They searched in the folds of her dress, in the folds of the coat, in the pockets,
everywhere. They could not find it.
"Are you sure that you still had it on when you came away from the ball?" he asked.
"Yes, I touched it in the hall at the Ministry."
"But if you had lost it in the street, we should have heard it fall."
"Yes. Probably we should. Did you take the number of the cab?"
"No. You didn't notice it, did you?"
They stared at one another, dumbfounded. At last Loisel put on his clothes again.
"I'll go over all the ground we walked," he said, "and see if I can't find it."
And he went out. She remained in her evening clothes, lacking strength to get into bed,
huddled on a chair, without volition or power of thought.
Her husband returned about seven. He had found nothing.
He went to the police station, to the newspapers, to offer a reward, to the cab
companies, everywhere that a ray of hope impelled him.
She waited all day long, in the same state of bewilderment at this fearful catastrophe.
Loisel came home at night, his face lined and pale; he had discovered nothing.
"You must write to your friend," he said, "and tell her that you've broken the clasp of
her necklace and are getting it mended. That will give us time to look about us."
She wrote at his dictation.
By the end of a week they had lost all hope.
Loisel, who had aged five years, declared:
"We must see about replacing the diamonds."
Next day they took the box which had held the necklace and went to the jewellers
whose name was inside. He consulted his books.

"It was not I who sold this necklace, Madame; I must have merely supplied the clasp."
Then they went from jeweller to jeweller, searching for another necklace like the first,
consulting their memories, both ill with remorse and anguish of mind.
In a shop at the Palais-Royal they found a string of diamonds which seemed to them
exactly like the one they were looking for. It was worth forty thousand francs. They were
allowed to have it for thirty-six thousand.
They begged the jeweller not to sell it for three days. And they arranged matters on the
understanding that it would be taken back for thirty-four thousand francs, if the first
one were found before the end of February.
Loisel possessed eighteen thousand francs left to him by his father. He intended to
borrow the rest.
He did borrow it, getting a thousand from one man, five hundred from another, five
louis here, three louis there.
He gave notes of hand, entered into ruinous agreements, did business with usurers and
the whole tribe of moneylenders.
He mortgaged the whole remaining years of his existence, risked his signature without
even knowing if he could honour it, and, appalled at the agonising face of the future, at
the black misery about to fall upon him, at the prospect of every possible physical
privation and moral torture, he went to get the new necklace and put down upon the
jeweller's counter thirty-six thousand francs.
When Madame Loisel took back the necklace to Madame Forestier, the latter said to her
in a chilly voice:
"You ought to have brought it back sooner; I might have needed it."
She did not, as her friend had feared, open the case. If she had noticed the substitution,
what would she have thought? What would she have said? Would she not have taken
her for a thief?
Madame Loisel came to know the ghastly life of abject poverty. From the very first she
played her part heroically. This fearful debt must be paid off. She would pay it. The
servant was dismissed. They changed their flat; they took a garret under the roof.
She came to know the heavy work of the house, the hateful duties of the kitchen. She
washed the plates, wearing out her pink nails on the coarse pottery and the bottoms of
pans. She washed the dirty linen, the shirts and dishcloths, and hung them out to dry on
a string; every morning she took the dustbin down into the street and carried up the
water, stopping on each landing to get her breath. And, clad like a poor woman, she
went to the fruiterer, to the grocer, to the butcher, a basket on her arm, haggling,
insulted, fighting for every wretched halfpenny of her money.
Every month notes had to be paid off, others renewed, time gained.
Her husband worked in the evenings at putting straight a merchant's accounts, and
often at night he did copying at twopence-halfpenny a page.
And this life lasted ten years.
At the end of ten years everything was paid off, everything, the usurer's charges and the
accumulation of superimposed interest.
Madame Loisel looked old now. She had become like all the other strong, hard, coarse
women of poor households.

Her hair was badly done, her skirts were awry, her hands were red. She spoke in a shrill
voice, and the water slopped all over the floor when she scrubbed it. But sometimes,
when her husband was at the office, she sat down by the window and thought of that
evening long ago, of the ball at which she had been so beautiful and so much admired.
What would have happened if she had never lost those jewels. Who knows? Who
knows? How strange life is, how fickle! How little is needed to ruin or to save!
One Sunday, as she had gone for a walk along the Champs-Elysees to freshen herself
after the labours of the week, she caught sight suddenly of a woman who was taking a
child out for a walk. It was Madame Forestier, still young, still beautiful, still attractive.
Madame Loisel was conscious of some emotion. Should she speak to her? Yes, certainly.
And now that she had paid, she would tell her all. Why not?
She went up to her. "Good morning, Jeanne."
The other did not recognise her, and was surprised at being thus familiarly addressed by
a poor woman. "But . . .
Madame . . ." she stammered.
"I don't know . . . you must be making a mistake."
"No . . . I am Mathilde Loisel."
Her friend uttered a cry.
"Oh! . . . my poor Mathilde, how you have changed! . . ."
"Yes, I've had some hard times since I saw you last; and many sorrows . . . and all on
your account."
"On my account! . . . How was that?"
"You remember the diamond necklace you lent me for the ball at the Ministry?"
"Yes. Well?"
"Well, I lost it."
"How could you? Why, you brought it back."
"I brought you another one just like it. And for the last ten years we have been paying
for it. You realise it wasn't easy for us; we had no money. . . . Well, it's paid for at last,
and I'm glad indeed."
Madame Forestier had halted. "You say you bought a diamond necklace to replace
"Yes. You hadn't noticed it? They were very much alike.
" And she smiled in proud and innocent happiness.
Madame Forestier, deeply moved, took her two hands.
"Oh, my poor Mathilde! But mine was imitation. It was
worth at the very most five hundred francs! . . . "

“Summer Solstice” by Nick Joaquin

THE MORETAS WERE spending St. John’s Day with the children’s grandfather,
whose feast day it was. Doña Lupeng awoke feeling faint with the heat, a sound of
screaming in her ears. In the dining room the three boys already attired in their holiday
suits, were at breakfast, and came crowding around her, talking all at once.
“How long you have slept, Mama!”
“We thought you were never getting up!”
“Do we leave at once, huh? Are we going now?”
“Hush, hush I implore you! Now look: your father has a headache, and so have I. So be
quiet this instant—or no one goes to Grandfather.”
Though it was only seven by the clock the house was already a furnace, the windows
dilating with the harsh light and the air already burning with the immense, intense fever
of noon.
She found the children’s nurse working in the kitchen. “And why is it you who are
preparing breakfast? Where is Amada?” But without waiting for an answer she went to
the backdoor and opened it, and the screaming in her ears became wild screaming in
the stables across the yard. “Oh my God!” she groaned and, grasping her skirts, hurried
across the yard.
In the stables Entoy, the driver, apparently deaf to the screams, was hitching the pair of
piebald ponies to the coach.
“Not the closed coach, Entoy! The open carriage!” shouted Doña Lupeng as she came
“But the dust, señora—“
“I know, but better to be dirty than to be boiled alive. And what ails your wife, eh? Have
you been beating her again?”
“Oh no, señora: I have not touched her.”
“Then why is she screaming? Is she ill?”
“I do not think so. But how do I know? You can go and see for yourself, señora. She is up
When Doña Lupeng entered the room, the big half-naked woman sprawled across the
bamboo bed stopped screaming. Doña Lupeng was shocked.
“What is this Amada? Why are you still in bed at this hour? And in such a posture!
Come, get up at once. You should be ashamed!”
But the woman on the bed merely stared. Her sweat-beaded brows contracted, as if in
an effort to understand. Then her face relax her mouth sagged open humorously and,
rolling over on her back and spreading out her big soft arms and legs, she began
noiselessly quaking with laughter—the mute mirth jerking in her throat; the moist pile
of her flesh quivering like brown jelly. Saliva dribbled from the corners of her mouth.
Doña Lupeng blushed, looking around helplessly, and seeing that Entoy had followed
and was leaning in the doorway, watching stolidly, she blushed again. The room reeked
hotly of intimate odors. She averted her eyes from the laughing woman on the bed, in

whose nakedness she seemed so to participate that she was ashamed to look directly at
the man in the doorway.
“Tell me, Entoy: has she had been to the Tadtarin?”
“Yes, señora. Last night.”
“But I forbade her to go! And I forbade you to let her go!”
“I could do nothing.”
“Why, you beat her at the least pretext!”
“But now I dare not touch her.”
“Oh, and why not?”
“It is the day of St. John: the spirit is in her.”
“But, man—“
“It is true, señora. The spirit is in her. She is the Tadtarin. She must do as she pleases.
Otherwise, the grain would not grow, the trees would bear no fruit, the rivers would
give no fish, and the animals would die.”
“Naku, I did no know your wife was so powerful, Entoy.”
“At such times she is not my wife: she is the wife of the river, she is the wife of the
crocodile, she is the wife of the moon.”
“BUT HOW CAN they still believe such things?” demanded Doña Lupeng of her husband
as they drove in the open carriage through the pastoral countryside that was the arrabal
of Paco in the 1850’s.
Don Paeng darted a sidelong glance at his wife, by which he intimated that the subject
was not a proper one for the children, who were sitting opposite, facing their parents.
Don Paeng, drowsily stroking his moustaches, his eyes closed against the hot light,
merely shrugged.
“And you should have seen that Entoy,” continued his wife. “You know how the brute
treats her: she cannot say a word but he thrashes her. But this morning he stood as
meek as a lamb while she screamed and screamed. He seemed actually in awe of her, do
you know—actually afraid of her!”
“Oh, look, boys—here comes the St. John!” cried Doña Lupeng, and she sprang up in the
swaying carriage, propping one hand on her husband’s shoulder wile the other she held
up her silk parasol.
And “Here come the men with their St. John!” cried voices up and down the
countryside. People in wet clothes dripping with well-water, ditch-water and river-water
came running across the hot woods and fields and meadows, brandishing cans of water,
wetting each other uproariously, and shouting San Juan! San Juan! as they ran to meet
the procession.
Up the road, stirring a cloud of dust, and gaily bedrenched by the crowds gathered along
the wayside, a concourse of young men clad only in soggy trousers were carrying aloft
an image of the Precursor. Their teeth flashed white in their laughing faces and their hot
bodies glowed crimson as they pranced past, shrouded in fiery dust, singing and
shouting and waving their arms: the St. John riding swiftly above the sea of dark heads
and glittering in the noon sun—a fine, blonde, heroic St. John: very male, very arrogant:
the Lord of Summer indeed; the Lord of Light and Heat—erect and godly virile above the

prone and female earth—while the worshippers danced and the dust thickened and the
animals reared and roared and the merciless fires came raining down form the skies—
the relentlessly upon field and river and town and winding road, and upon the joyous
throng of young men against whose uproar a couple of seminarians in muddy cassocks
vainly intoned the hymn of the noon god:
That we, thy servants, in chorus
May praise thee, our tongues restore us…
But Doña Lupeng, standing in the stopped carriage, looking very young and elegant in
her white frock, under the twirling parasol, stared down on the passing male horde with
increasing annoyance. The insolent man-smell of their bodies rose all about her—wave
upon wave of it—enveloping her, assaulting her senses, till she felt faint with it and
pressed a handkerchief to her nose. And as she glanced at her husband and saw with
what a smug smile he was watching the revelers, her annoyance deepened. When he
bade her sit down because all eyes were turned on her, she pretended not to hear;
stood up even straighter, as if to defy those rude creatures flaunting their manhood in
the sun.
And she wondered peevishly what the braggarts were being so cocky about? For this
arrogance, this pride, this bluff male health of theirs was (she told herself) founded on
the impregnable virtue of generations of good women. The boobies were so sure of
themselves because they had always been sure of their wives. “All the sisters being
virtuous, all the brothers are brave,” thought Doña Lupeng, with a bitterness that rather
surprised her. Women had built it up: this poise of the male. Ah, and women could
destroy it, too! She recalled, vindictively, this morning’s scene at the stables: Amada
naked and screaming in bed whiled from the doorway her lord and master looked on in
meek silence. And was it not the mystery of a woman in her flowers that had restored
the tongue of that old Hebrew prophet?
“Look, Lupeng, they have all passed now,” Don Paeng was saying, “Do you mean to
stand all the way?”
She looked around in surprise and hastily sat down. The children tittered, and the
carriage started.
“Has the heat gone to your head, woman?” asked Don Paeng, smiling. The children
burst frankly into laughter.

Their mother colored and hung her head. She was beginning to feel ashamed of the
thoughts that had filled her mind. They seemed improper—almost obscene—and the
discovery of such depths of wickedness in herself appalled her. She moved closer to her
husband to share the parasol with him.
“And did you see our young cousin Guido?” he asked.
“Oh, was he in that crowd?”
“A European education does not seem to have spoiled his taste for country pleasures.”
“I did not see him.”
“He waved and waved.”
“The poor boy. He will feel hurt. But truly, Paeng. I did not see him.”
“Well, that is always a woman’s privilege.”

BUT WHEN THAT afternoon, at the grandfather’s, the young Guido presented himself,
properly attired and brushed and scented, Doña Lupeng was so charming and gracious
with him that he was enchanted and gazed after her all afternoon with enamored eyes.
This was the time when our young men were all going to Europe and bringing back with
them, not the Age of Victoria, but the Age of Byron. The young Guido knew nothing of
Darwin and evolution; he knew everything about Napoleon and the Revolution. When
Doña Lupeng expressed surprise at his presence that morning in the St. John’s crowd, he
laughed in her face.
“But I adore these old fiestas of ours! They are so romantic! Last night, do you know, we
walked all the way through the woods, I and some boys, to see the procession of the
“And was that romantic too?” asked Doña Lupeng.
“It was weird. It made my flesh crawl. All those women in such a mystic frenzy! And she
who was the Tadtarin last night—she was a figure right out of a flamenco!”
“I fear to disenchant you, Guido—but that woman happens to be our cook.”
“She is beautiful.”
“Our Amada beautiful? But she is old and fat!”
“She is beautiful—as that old tree you are leaning on is beautiful,” calmly insisted the
young man, mocking her with his eyes.
They were out in the buzzing orchard, among the ripe mangoes; Doña Lupeng seated on
the grass, her legs tucked beneath her, and the young man sprawled flat on his belly,
gazing up at her, his face moist with sweat. The children were chasing dragonflies. The
sun stood still in the west. The long day refused to end. From the house came the
sudden roaring laughter of the men playing cards.
“Beautiful! Romantic! Adorable! Are those the only words you learned in Europe?” cried
Doña Lupeng, feeling very annoyed with this young man whose eyes adored her one
moment and mocked her the next.
“Ah, I also learned to open my eyes over there—to see the holiness and the mystery of
what is vulgar.”
“And what is so holy and mysterious about—about the Tadtarin, for instance?”
“I do not know. I can only feel it. And it frightens me. Those rituals come to us from the
earliest dawn of the world. And the dominant figure is not the male but the female.”
“But they are in honor of St. John.”
“What has your St. John to do with them? Those women worship a more ancient lord.
Why, do you know that no man may join those rites unless he first puts on some article
of women’s apparel and—“
“And what did you put on, Guido?”
“How sharp you are! Oh, I made such love to a toothless old hag there that she pulled
off her stocking for me. And I pulled it on, over my arm, like a glove. How your husband
would have despised me!”
“But what on earth does it mean?”
“I think it is to remind us men that once upon a time you women were supreme and we
men were the slaves.”

“But surely there have always been kings?”
“Oh, no. The queen came before the king, and the priestess before the priest, and the
moon before the sun.”
“The moon?”
“—who is the Lord of the women.”
“Because the tides of women, like the tides of the sea, are tides of the moon. Because
the first blood -But what is the matter, Lupe? Oh, have I offended you?”
“Is this how they talk to decent women in Europe?”
“They do not talk to women, they pray to them—as men did in the dawn of the world.”
“Oh, you are mad! mad!”
“Why are you so afraid, Lupe?”
“I afraid? And of whom? My dear boy, you still have your mother’s milk in your mouth. I
only wish you to remember that I am a married woman.”
“I remember that you are a woman, yes. A beautiful woman. And why not? Did you turn
into some dreadful monster when you married? Did you stop being a woman? Did you
stop being beautiful? Then why should my eyes not tell you what you are—just because
you are married?”
“Ah, this is too much now!” cried Doña Lupeng, and she rose to her feet.
“Do not go, I implore you! Have pity on me!”
“No more of your comedy, Guido! And besides—where have those children gone to! I
must go after them.”
As she lifted her skirts to walk away, the young man, propping up his elbows, dragged
himself forward on the ground and solemnly kissed the tips of her shoes. She stared
down in sudden horror, transfixed—and he felt her violent shudder. She backed away
slowly, still staring; then turned and fled toward the house.
ON THE WAY home that evening Don Paeng noticed that his wife was in a mood. They
were alone in the carriage: the children were staying overnight at their grandfather’s.
The heat had not subsided. It was heat without gradations: that knew no twilights and
no dawns; that was still there, after the sun had set; that would be there already, before
the sun had risen.
“Has young Guido been annoying you?” asked Don Paeng.
“Yes! All afternoon.”
“These young men today—what a disgrace they are! I felt embarrassed as a man to see
him following you about with those eyes of a whipped dog.”
She glanced at him coldly. “And was that all you felt, Paeng? embarrassed—as a man?”
“A good husband has constant confidence in the good sense of his wife,” he pronounced
grandly, and smiled at her.
But she drew away; huddled herself in the other corner. “He kissed my feet,” she told
him disdainfully, her eyes on his face.

He frowned and made a gesture of distaste. “Do you see? They have the instincts, the
style of the canalla! To kiss a woman’s feet, to follow her like a dog, to adore her like a
slave –”
“Is it so shameful for a man to adore women?”
“A gentleman loves and respects Woman. The cads and lunatics—they ‘adore’ the
“But maybe we do not want to be loved and respected—but to be adored.”
But when they reached home she did not lie down but wandered listlessly through the
empty house. When Don Paeng, having bathed and changed, came down from the
bedroom, he found her in the dark parlour seated at the harp and plucking out a tune,
still in her white frock and shoes.
“How can you bear those hot clothes, Lupeng? And why the darkness? Order someone
to bring light in here.”
“There is no one, they have all gone to see the Tadtarin.”
“A pack of loafers we are feeding!”
She had risen and gone to the window. He approached and stood behind her, grasped
her elbows and, stooping, kissed the nape of her neck. But she stood still, not
responding, and he released her sulkily. She turned around to face him.
“Listen, Paeng. I want to see it, too. The Tadtarin, I mean. I have not seen it since I was a
little girl. And tonight is the last night.”
“You must be crazy! Only low people go there. And I thought you had a headache?” He
was still sulking.
“But I want to go! My head aches worse in the house. For a favor, Paeng.”
“I told you: No! go and take those clothes off. But, woman, whatever has got into you!”
he strode off to the table, opened the box of cigars, took one, banged the lid shut, bit
off an end of the cigar, and glared about for a light.
She was still standing by the window and her chin was up.
“Very well, if you do want to come, do not come—but I am going.”
“I warn you, Lupe; do not provoke me!”
“I will go with Amada. Entoy can take us. You cannot forbid me, Paeng. There is nothing
wrong with it. I am not a child.”
But standing very straight in her white frock, her eyes shining in the dark and her chin
thrust up, she looked so young, so fragile, that his heart was touched. He sighed, smiled
ruefully, and shrugged his shoulders.
“Yes, the heat ahs touched you in the head, Lupeng. And since you are so set on it—very
well, let us go. Come, have the coach ordered!”
THE CULT OF the Tadtarin is celebrated on three days: the feast of St. John and the two
preceding days. On the first night, a young girl heads the procession; on the second, a
mature woman; and on the third, a very old woman who dies and comes to life again. In
these processions, as in those of Pakil and Obando, everyone dances.
Around the tiny plaza in front of the barrio chapel, quite a stream of carriages was
flowing leisurely. The Moretas were constantly being hailed from the other vehicles. The
plaza itself and the sidewalks were filled with chattering, strolling, profusely sweating

people. More people were crowded on the balconies and windows of the houses. The
moon had not yet risen; the black night smoldered; in the windless sky the lightning’s
abruptly branching fire seemed the nerves of the tortured air made visible.
“Here they come now!” cried the people on the balconies.
And “Here come the women with their St. John!” cried the people on the sidewalks,
surging forth on the street. The carriages halted and their occupants descended. The
plaza rang with the shouts of people and the neighing of horses—and with another
keener sound: a sound as of sea-waves steadily rolling nearer.
The crowd parted, and up the street came the prancing, screaming, writhing women,
their eyes wild, black shawls flying around their shoulders, and their long hair streaming
and covered with leaves and flowers. But the Tadtarin, a small old woman with white
hair, walked with calm dignity in the midst of the female tumult, a wand in one hand, a
bunch of seedling in the other. Behind her, a group of girls bore aloft a little black image
of the Baptist—a crude, primitive, grotesque image, its big-eyed head too big for its
puny naked torso, bobbing and swaying above the hysterical female horde and looking
at once so comical and so pathetic that Don Paeng, watching with his wife on the
sidewalk, was outraged. The image seemed to be crying for help, to be struggling to
escape—a St. John indeed in the hands of the Herodias; a doomed captive these witches
were subjecting first to their derision; a gross and brutal caricature of his sex.
Don Paeng flushed hotly: he felt that all those women had personally insulted him. He
turned to his wife, to take her away—but she was watching greedily, taut and
breathless, her head thrust forward and her eyes bulging, the teeth bared in the slack
mouth, and the sweat gleaning on her face. Don Paeng was horrified. He grasped her
arm—but just then a flash of lightning blazed and the screaming women fell silent: the
Tadtarin was about to die.
The old woman closed her eyes and bowed her head and sank slowly to her knees. A
pallet was brought and set on the ground and she was laid in it and her face covered
with a shroud. Her hands still clutched the wand and the seedlings. The women drew
away, leaving her in a cleared space. They covered their heads with their black shawls
and began wailing softly, unhumanly—a hushed, animal keening.
Overhead the sky was brightening, silver light defined the rooftops. When the moon
rose and flooded with hot brilliance the moveless crowded square, the black-shawled
women stopped wailing and a girl approached and unshrouded the Tadtarin, who
opened her eyes and sat up, her face lifted to the moonlight. She rose to her feet and
extended the wand and the seedlings and the women joined in a mighty shout. They
pulled off and waved their shawls and whirled and began dancing again—laughing and
dancing with such joyous exciting abandon that the people in the square and on the
sidewalk, and even those on the balconies, were soon laughing and dancing, too. Girls
broke away from their parents and wives from their husbands to join in the orgy.
“Come, let us go now,” said Don Paeng to his wife. She was shaking with fascination;
tears trembled on her lashes; but she nodded meekly and allowed herself to be led
away. But suddenly she pulled free from his grasp, darted off, and ran into the crowd of
dancing women.
She flung her hands to her hair and whirled and her hair came undone. Then, planting
her arms akimbo, she began to trip a nimble measure, an indistinctive folk-movement.
She tossed her head back and her arched throat bloomed whitely. Her eyes brimmed
with moonlight, and her mouth with laughter.

Don Paeng ran after her, shouting her name, but she laughed and shook her head and
darted deeper into the dense maze of procession, which was moving again, towards the
chapel. He followed her, shouting; she eluded him, laughing—and through the thick of
the female horde they lost and found and lost each other again—she, dancing and he
pursuing—till, carried along by the tide, they were both swallowed up into the hot,
packed, turbulent darkness of the chapel. Inside poured the entire procession, and Don
Paeng, finding himself trapped tight among milling female bodies, struggled with
sudden panic to fight his way out. Angry voices rose all about him in the stifling
“Hoy you are crushing my feet!”
“And let go of my shawl, my shawl!”
“Stop pushing, shameless one, or I kick you!”
“Let me pass, let me pass, you harlots!” cried Don Paeng.
“Abah, it is a man!”
“How dare he come in here?”
“Break his head!”
“Throw the animal out!”
”Throw him out! Throw him out!” shrieked the voices, and Don Paeng found himself
surrounded by a swarm of gleaming eyes.
Terror possessed him and he struck out savagely with both fists, with all his strength—
but they closed in as savagely: solid walls of flesh that crushed upon him and pinned his
arms helpless, while unseen hands struck and struck his face, and ravaged his hair and
clothes, and clawed at his flesh, as—kicked and buffeted, his eyes blind and his torn
mouth salty with blood—he was pushed down, down to his knees, and half-shoved,
half-dragged to the doorway and rolled out to the street. He picked himself up at once
and walked away with a dignity that forbade the crowd gathered outside to laugh or to
pity. Entoy came running to meet him.
“But what has happened to you, Don Paeng?”
“Nothing. Where is the coach?”
“Just over there, sir. But you are wounded in the face!”
“No, these are only scratches. Go and get the señora. We are going home.”
When she entered the coach and saw his bruised face and torn clothing, she smiled
“What a sight you are, man! What have you done with yourself?”
And when he did not answer: “Why, have they pulled out his tongue too?” she
wondered aloud.
AND WHEN THEY are home and stood facing each other in the bedroom, she was still as
“What are you going to do, Rafael?”
“I am going to give you a whipping.”
“But why?”
“Because you have behaved tonight like a lewd woman.”

“How I behaved tonight is what I am. If you call that lewd, then I was always a lewd
woman and a whipping will not change me—though you whipped me till I died.”
“I want this madness to die in you.”
“No, you want me to pay for your bruises.”
He flushed darkly. “How can you say that, Lupe?”
“Because it is true. You have been whipped by the women and now you think to avenge
yourself by whipping me.”
His shoulders sagged and his face dulled. “If you can think that of me –”
“You could think me a lewd woman!”
“Oh, how do I know what to think of you? I was sure I knew you as I knew myself. But
now you are as distant and strange to me as a female Turk in Africa.”
“Yet you would dare whip me –”
“Because I love you, because I respect you.”
“And because if you ceased to respect me you would cease to respect yourself?”
“Ah, I did not say that!”
“Then why not say it? It is true. And you want to say it, you want to say it!”
But he struggled against her power. “Why should I want to?” he demanded peevishly.
“Because, either you must say it—or you must whip me,” she taunted.
Her eyes were upon him and the shameful fear that had unmanned him in the dark
chapel possessed him again. His legs had turned to water; it was a monstrous agony to
remain standing.
But she was waiting for him to speak, forcing him to speak.
“No, I cannot whip you!” he confessed miserably.
“Then say it! Say it!” she cried, pounding her clenched fists together. “Why suffer and
suffer? And in the end you would only submit.”
But he still struggled stubbornly. “Is it not enough that you have me helpless? Is it not
enough that I feel what you want me feel?”
But she shook her head furiously. “Until you have said to me, there can be no peace
between us.”
He was exhausted at last; he sank heavily to his knees, breathing hard and streaming
with sweat, his fine body curiously diminished now in its ravaged apparel.
“I adore you, Lupe,” he said tonelessly.
She strained forward avidly, “What? What did you say?” she screamed.
And he, in his dead voice: “That I adore you. That I adore you. That I worship you. That
the air you breathe and the ground you tread is so holy to me. That I am your dog, your
But it was still not enough. Her fists were still clenched, and she cried: “Then come,
crawl on the floor, and kiss my feet!”
Without moment’s hesitation, he sprawled down flat and, working his arms and legs,
gaspingly clawed his way across the floor, like a great agonized lizard, the woman

steadily backing away as he approached, her eyes watching him avidly, her nostrils
dilating, till behind her loomed the open window, the huge glittering moon, the rapid
flashes of lightning. she stopped, panting, and leaned against the sill. He lay exhausted
at her feet, his face flat on the floor.
She raised her skirts and contemptuously thrust out a naked foot. He lifted his dripping
face and touched his bruised lips to her toes; lifted his hands and grasped the white foot
and kiss it savagely - kissed the step, the sole, the frail ankle - while she bit her lips and
clutched in pain at the whole windowsill her body and her loose hair streaming out the
window - streaming fluid and black in the white night where the huge moon glowed like
a sun and the dry air flamed into lightning and the pure heat burned with the immense
intense fever of noon.

VI. Exploring the Mystical World of Mythology

“The Creation of the World and Mankind” (Greek Mythology)

This story is written by both Aeschylus and Hesiod.

In the beginning, there was formless confusion of Chaos brooded over the
unbroken darkness. Then out of the void appeared Erebus, the unknowable place where
death dwells, and Night (Nyx). All else was empty, silent, endless, darkness. Then
somehow Love (Eros) was born bringing a start of order. From Love came Light and Day.
Once there was Light and Day, Gaea, the earth appeared.
Gaea alone gave birth to Uranus, the god of the heavens. Uranus became
Gaea's mate. Together they produced the three Cyclopes, the three Hecatoncheires,
and twelve Titans.
But, Uranus was a bad father and husband. He hated the Hecatoncheires. He
imprisoned them by pushing them into the hidden places of the earth, Gaea's womb.
This angered Gaea and she plotted against Uranus. She made a flint sickle and tried to
get her children to attack Uranus. All were too afraid except, the youngest Titan, Cronus.
Gaea and Cronus set up an ambush of Uranus as he lay with Gaea at night.
Cronus grabbed his father and castrated him, with the stone sickle, throwing the
severed genitals into the ocean. The fate of Uranus is not clear. He either died,
withdrew from the earth, or exiled himself to Italy. As he departed, he promised that
Cronus and the Titans would be punished. From his spilt blood came the Giants, the Ash
Tree Nymphs, and the Erinyes. From the sea foam where his genitals fell came
Cronus became the next ruler. He imprisoned the Cyclopes and the
Hecatoncheires in Tartarus. He married his sister Rhea, and under his rule the Titans had
many offspring. He ruled for many ages. However, Gaea and Uranus both had
prophesied that he would be overthrown by a son. To avoid this Cronus swallowed each
of his children as they were born. Rhea was angry at the treatment of the children and
plotted against Cronus. When it came time to give birth to her sixth child, Rhea tricked
Cronus. She secretly carried the child to Crete and then wrapped a stone in swaddling
cloths. Cronus, thinking it was a baby, ate the stone.
The child was Zeus. He grew into a handsome youth on Crete. He consulted
Metis on how to defeat Cronus. She prepared a drink for Cronus which would force him
to vomit up the five other children. Rhea convinced Cronus to accept his son and Zeus

was allowed to return to Mount Olympus as Cronus's cupbearer. This gave Zeus the
opportunity to slip Cronus the specially prepared drink. This worked as planned and the
other five children were vomited up. Being gods they were unharmed. They were
thankful to Zeus and made him their leader.
Cronus was yet to be defeated. He and the Titans, except Prometheus,
Epimetheus, and Oceanus, fought to retain their power. Atlas became their leader in
battle and it looked for some time as though they would win and put the young gods
down. However, Zeus was had other plans. He went down to Tartarus and freed the
Cyclopes and the Hecatoncheires. Prometheus joined Zeus as well. He returned to battle
with his new allies. The Cyclopes provided Zeus with lighting bolts for weapons. The
Hecatoncheires he set in ambush armed with boulders. When the time was right, Zeus
retreated drawing the Titans into the Hecatoncheires's ambush. The Hecatoncheires
rained down hundreds of boulders with such a fury the Titans thought the mountains
were falling on them. They broke and ran giving Zeus victory.
Zeus exiled the Titans who had fought against him into Tartarus. All except for
Atlas, who was singled out for the special punishment of holding the world on his
However, even after this victory Zeus was not safe. Gaea, angry that her
children had been imprisoned, gave birth to a last offspring, Typhoeus. Typhoeus was a
creature more terrible than any that had gone before. However, Zeus, having learned to
control thunder and lightning stuck Typhoeus down. Typhoeus was buried under Mount
Etna in Sicily.
Much later a final challenge to Zeus rule was made by the Giants. They went so
far as to attempt to invade Mount Olympus, piling mountain upon mountain in an effort
to reach the top. But, the gods had grown strong and with the help of Hercules, the
Giants were subdued or killed.
Now, the world, having been cleared of all the monsters, was ready for
mankind. Prometheus and Epimetheus were spared imprisonment in Tartarus because
they did not fight with their fellow Titans during the war with the Olympians. They were
given the task of creating man. Epimetheus was in charge of the task of giving the
creatures of the earth their various qualities, such as swiftness, cunning, strength, fur,
wings. Unfortunately, by the time he got to man Epimetheus had given all the good
qualities out and there were none left for man. So he turned to Prometheus for help.
Prometheus took over the task of creation and sought a way to make man superior. He
made man stand upright like the the gods did and gave them fire.
Prometheus loved man more than the Olympians, who had banished most of
his family to Tartarus. Because of Prometheus' love of man, Zeus created women. So
when Zeus decreed that man must present a portion of each animal they sacrificed to
the gods, Prometheus decided to trick Zeus. He created two piles, one with the bones
wrapped in juicy fat, the other with the good meat hidden in the hide. He then made
Zeus pick one pile. Zeus picked the bones. Since he had given his word, Zeus had to
accept that as his share for future sacrifices. In his anger over the trick, he took fire away
from man. However, Prometheus lit a torch from the sun and brought it back again to
man. Zeus was enraged that man again had fire. He decided to inflict a terrible
punishment on both man and Prometheus.
To punish man, Zeus had Hephaestus create a mortal of stunning beauty. The
gods gave the mortal many gifts of wealth. This creation was Pandora, the first woman.
A final gift was a jar which Pandora was forbidden to open. When she was completed,
Zeus sent her to Epimetheus.

Prometheus had warned Epimetheus not to accept gifts from Zeus but,
Pandora's beauty was too great and he allowed her to stay. Eventually, Pandora's
curiosity about the jar she was forbidden to open became too great. She opened the jar
and out flew plagues, sorrow and mischief for mankind. However, the bottom of the jar
held one good thing - Hope. It was the only good thing in the jar and remains to this day
mankind's sole comfort in misfortune.
However, a greater punishment lay in store for Prometheus. Zeus had his
servants, Force and Violence, seize Prometheus, take him to Caucasus, and chain him to
a rock with unbreakable adamanite chains. Here he was tormented day and night Zeus
gave Prometheus two ways out of this torment. He could tell Zeus who the mother of
the child that would dethrone him was. Or meet two conditions: First, that an immortal
must volunteer to die for Prometheus. Second, that a mortal must kill the eagle and
unchain him. Eventually, Chiron the Centaur agreed to die for him and Hercules killed
the eagle and unbound him.
Prometheus name has stood through the centuries, from Greek days to our
own as the great rebel against injustice and authority of power.

Retrieved from http://www.classicsunveiled.com/mythnet/html/creation.html on
March 22, 2013 at 2:00am

“The Quest for the Golden Fleece” (Greek Mythology)

Apollonius of Rhodes who lived in the third-century AD. The poem deals with a
Greek king, Athamas and his two wives. His first wife, Nephele was afraid of her two
children (especially Phrixus, one of the two children) being killed by Ino, the soon-to-be
second wife. Nephele, herself, was killed by the king, and Athamas subsequently
married his second wife, Princess Ino. She came from a great family; Ino was the
daughter of King Thebes. Ino had an urge to kill Phrixus, the boy, so that her children
(presumably from an earlier marriage) would inherit the Athamas' kingdom. Princess Ino
had thought up an elaborate plan to do away with Prince Phrixus. To accomplish this
plan, Princess Ino had to gather all of the corn seed on Athamas' farm and then parch
the seeds so that the crop would not grow, a task which she accomplished. When the
king became aware of the crop not growing, he sent a messenger to an oracle to ask
what he should do. Princess Ino intercepted the messenger and persuaded, most likely
through bribery, to say to the king that the crop would not grow unless the king offered
up Prince Phrixus as a sacrifice.
The people of the region in Greece, who feared starvation, convinced King
Athamas to permit the death of Phrixus. At the time of the death of Phrixus and his
sister, who was included in this sacrifice, each were taken to the altar. Then, a ram with
a fleece of pure gold, took the two and threw them into the air. Hermes had sent him
and his sister in answer to their mother's prayers.
The ram, Prince Phrixus and his sister, Helle, travelled across Europe and into
Asia. When they entered Asia, Helle fell into a body of water and as a result, drowned.
However, Phrixus and the ram safely arrived in the country of Colchis on the Black Sea.
The Colchians were kind to Phrixus and they even let him marry one of King Æetes'

daughters. It was at this time that Phrixus sacrificed the ram that had saved him to Zeus
and he gave the Golden Fleece to King Æetes, who was the Colchian king.
Phrixus had a cousin by the name of Pelias and he was the one who killed his
own father to gain control of a kingdom in Greece. However, the king had a young son
who was the rightful heir to the kingdom, and this man was Jason. Jason had been sent
away to a safe place where he could grow into a bold man who would take away the
kingdom from his wicked cousin, Pelias.
Pelias was told by an oracle that he would be killed by a kinsmen one day who
would be wearing only one sandal. Such a man did come to the town in time and he did
wear just one sandal. Pelias became afraid. For it was Jason who was the one who only
shod one sandal. Jason told Pelias that he came to recover the kingdom that was
rightfully his and that the kingdom should be ruled rightly, without evil. Pelias agreed to
hand over the kingdom, but under one condition: The condition was that the dead
Phrixus wanted the Golden Fleece returned from King Æetes, which would bring the
spirit of Phrixus back to his home. Pelias asked that Jason go on the journey as opposed
to himself, for he was old and Jason was young and strong. So Pelias promised to give up
the kingdom on the return of Jason with the Golden Fleece. Jason agreed and organized
Hercules, Orpheus, Castor, Pollux, Achilles' father, Peleus and many more. This group of
men were subsequently known as the Argonauts. Hera was also with Jason, to remind
him not to leave behind a dying life.
Jason and the Argonauts (which was named after their ship, the Argo) first
sailed to Lemnos, an island where only women lived. Only one man, the king, was left on
the island. Although the women had risen up against the men on the island by killing
them, they gladly helped the Argonauts with gifts of food and wine.
The Argonauts travelled to where the Harpies lived. The Harpies were flying
creatures with hooked beaks and claws who left an awful odour whenever they go. The
Argonauts met an old man with the power of prophecy who had a problem. Every time
Phineus, the prophet, came to eat, the Harpies would come and take the food, leaving
nothing left. He was left withered and weak from the lack of food. The Argonauts
decided that they would help fix this problem. Two men from the
Argonauts who were sons of Boreas (the great North Wind) helped because the
prophet knew that only two men were needed to defeat the Harpies (this was because
Phineus was a prophet). The two brothers took their position while the old man started
to eat. Sure enough, the Harpies attempted to snatch the food away from the prophet.
However, the sons of Boreas followed the Harpies, who had already taken the food from
Phineus. They took their swords and hit the Harpies. However, they wanted to kill the
flying monsters. But they remembered that these beasts were the act of Zeus and that
they should not kill them. The old man thanked the Argonauts for their help and offered
some advice for navigating through the Clashing Rocks, the next encounter on their
journey. He said that to navigate through them safely, one should send a dove through
first. If the dove survived and wasn't crushed by the rocks, the ship would survive. If the
dove died, then the ship would not survive.
The next morning the Argonaut sailed off with a dove to the Clashing Rocks.
They set the dove free and the dove made it through with the exception of the bird's tail
feathers, which were cut off by the rolling rocks. Next, the ship went through, and, like
what the prophet said, the ship survived and passed through safely, but part of the stern
of the ship was cut off, like the tail feathers of the bird.
The Argonauts quickly sailed on and they passed by the country of the
Amazons, because they knew that the Amazons were not gentle foes. They continued

on, travelling all day. Finally, at sunset, they arrived in Colchis, home of the Golden
On Mount Olympus, Hera went to seek Aphrodite's help. Since Hera had been
overseeing the adventure, she knew that there was danger involved and discussed the
matter with Aphrodite. To help the Argonauts, Aphrodite told Hera that she would send
Cupid, Aphrodite's son, to the Colchis and would make the daughter of the Colchian king
fall in love with Jason. Medea was the daughter of King Æetes. But Medea was a
powerful magician and she could save the Argonauts if they ever were in trouble.
While this was going on, the Argonauts made their way to the city to ask the
king for the Golden Fleece. Hera wrapped the Argonauts in a mist so they wouldn't be
seen until they arrived at the palace. King Æetes welcomed them to Colchis and was
hospitable to them. Princess Medea also made her way into the palace to see what
these visitors, who had entered the palace, were doing. As Princess Medea lay eyes
upon Jason, Cupid, who was sent by Aphrodite to make the two fall in love, drew his
bow and shot an arrow into the heart of Medea. Amazed by the sight of Jason, she
quickly returned to her chambers.
King Æetes gave the Argonauts something to eat, making sure to take care of
the needs of the guest. It was only after this that King Æetes decided to ask what the
men were doing in Colchis. They responded by saying that they were seeking the Golden
Fleece in hopes to return it back to Greece. King Æetes was angered now for he did not
like foreigners and he did not like the reason why they came to Colchis. He did not like
the idea of the Golden Fleece leaving Colchis, but he said that if Jason proved his
courage, Jason must do what the king himself has already done. He said that Jason must
harness two flame-breathing bulls whose feet were made of bronze and to plow a field
with them. As well, he must take the teeth of a dragon and grow them as if they were
corn seeds. A crop of armed men would grow and he must fight this crop of armed men.
The king said that he must do this if he wants the Golden Fleece returned. It was an
impossible task but Jason accepted the challenge.
Jason thought of Medea, who would be able to help him complete this
challenge. If she could invoke a magic spell to help him, he could defeat the bulls and
the dragon-teethed men. Both agreed to this plan and Medea gave Jason a charm that
when it was sprinkled over his weapons, he and his weapons would become invincible
for a day. As well, he was given a stone that if too many men attacked him, he could
throw the stone at the enemy. This would make the enemy turn on one another and
fight each other.
Later on, Jason made his way to the field where the king and the other
Colchians were. Soon enough, the bulls started to attack Jason, but Jason had the charm
with him and he resisted the attack like a rock to the waves. After he defeated the bulls,
many men rushed to attack him. Jason used the charm once again to make the warriors
turn on each other and fight. Like Medea said, the warriors did so, and Jason's challenge
was fulfilled.
The king returned to the palace, now thinking that he won't give the Golden
Fleece. Meanwhile, Medea met the Argonauts and asked if she could join them on their
journeys. She also told them to quickly get the Golden Fleece from a serpent which was
guarding the sacred wool. Again, Medea worked her magic by lulling the serpent to
sleep. The Argonauts grabbed the fleece and quickly retreated from where the serpent
was lying.
By now, the king had found out what the Argonauts had done. So, King Æetes
sent in son, Asyrtus, in pursuit of the Argonauts. He led an army much larger than that

of the Argonauts. However, to even the odds, Medea killed her brother, Asyrtus. There
were many stories as to how he died. The two that seem to be the most sensible were
either the incident where Medea invited her brother to talk and while doing so, Jason
would kill him by striking him down. The alternative was that Asyrtus came aboard the
Argo (for reasons unknown). While on board, Medea killed him by cutting him up into
pieces. King Æetes, in this case, would be commanding the ship that was trailing the
Argo. Medea would then dump the mutilated body of her brother into the sea. The king
then stopped the pursuit to pick up the pieces from the ocean. However, it is not known
what exactly happened to the death of Asyrtus. In any case, the Argonauts had escaped.
On the return trip, they had to pass through the rock of Scylla and the
whirlpool of Charybdis, most dangerous natural occurrences, however, Hera guided the
Argonauts to safety. Another incident occurred when they sailed to Crete. They landed
there, by the request of Medea, for she knew a man by the name of Talus. He was the
last man left of the ancient bronze race. He was a creature made all of bronze except for
one ankle - this was the only point where he was vulnerable. However, he was not a
kind man because he threatened to crush the Argo if the Argonauts approached. Medea
sensed this and made Talus crape his vulnerable ankle and he bled to death.
When the Argo reached Greece, the Argonauts disbanded leaving Jason and
Medea taking the Golden Fleece to Pelias. When they arrived, Jason and Medea found
that Pelias had forced Jason's father to kill himself and his mother had died of grief.
Jason asked Medea for ways to punish Pelias. They accomplished this by convincing
Pelias that there was a way to make the old young again. To prove this, they took an old
ram and sacrificed it. Medea used one of her charms and turned the old ram, that was
now in boiling water, into a young lamb. So, to make Pelias young again, Medea
convinced Pelias' daughters to cut Pelias up. However, when this was complete, both
Jason and Medea had vanished, leaving Pelias killed by his own daughters. If there was
one benefit from this, it was that Jason had his revenge now.
It has also been said that Medea offered Jason to make Jason's father young
again, and this might have happened. By doing this, she gave Jason the secret to
perpetual youth.
Jason and Medea moved to Corinth where they had two sons. Medea missed
her family in Colchis but her love for Jason seemed to be more important. All this for a
man who would eventually betray her. The first example of this occurred when Jason
married the daughter of the King of Corinth. As a result of the King of Corinth fearing the
powers of Medea, the King ordered Medea and her two helpless children out of the
country. While alone one day, Medea thought of Jason, and suddenly, Jason himself
appeared. She said nothing but Jason said that if it wasn't for Medea's comments to the
king about her powers, she could have still lived in Corinth. He had come to Medea now
because he was not a man to fail a friend, and he would see that she had plenty of gold
and everything necessary for her journey. However, Medea was very angry. Through her
words, she explained that it was she that was the one who obtained the Golden Fleece
by conquering the bulls, the dragon-men and the serpent warder of the Fleece. Jason
retorted by saying that he had not been save by her but by Aphrodite who had made
Medea fall in love with him. He also said that she owed him a great deal for moving her
to Greece, a "civilized country". Medea, who was an intelligent woman, knew that he
was being stubborn and said nothing more. Medea wanted revenge. So, she decided
that she would kill Jason's bride. She decided that she would take a robe and anointed it
with deadly drugs. She then placed it into a casket and told her sons to deliver it to the
new bride. To ensure that she would die, she would have to wear it at once. The
princess received this gift and wore it at once. No sooner had she put it on when a fire
devoured her, melting her flesh away. She had died.

When Medea knew that the deed was done, she turned her mind to one more
dreadful task. This task was far more dreadful, for she was going to kill her own two
sons. She did so, but not without feeling sorrow for what she had done. But when Jason
realized Medea had killed her bride, he was determined to kill Medea. But when he
arrived at Medea's house, she had already left in a chariot that was drawn by dragons.
As this occurred, Jason cursed her, but not himself, for what had happened.

Retrieved from http://www.classicsunveiled.com/mythnet/html/quest.html on March
10, 2013 at 1:00pm

“The Norse Gods – Odin, Thor, Balder, Frey, Freys, and Loki” (Norse Mythology)

Odin’ Power
From the first Odin had a desire for knowledge and wisdom, and he consulted
all living things to obtain them. He gained most from his uncle Mimir, who guarded the
Well of Knowledge, but he had to sacrifice an eye to drink from the Well. Odin also went
to great lengths to acquire the art off poetry, which was contained in a magic potion
that was kept in a Giant's underground caldron. Having determined to obtain the
potion, Odin put himself in bondage to a Giant, whom he persuaded to blast a hole to
the underground dwelling where the substance was kept. Odin then entered the
dwelling as a snake, changed back into human shape, made friends with Suttung the
Giant, who owned the potion, seduced the Giant's daughter, and obtained the mixture
from her. Then he flew back to Asgard as an eagle, destroying Suttung in the process,
and dispensed the potion to human poets.
The gods were subject to aging, and they rejuvenated themselves by eating
magic apples kept by the goddess Idun. However, Odin chose a different, harder way.
He freely wounded himself with his own spear and hung himself for nine days from the
cosmic tree Yggdrasil, which was shaken by winds. In this manner he renewed his youth,
but he also became the master of the magic runes, inscriptions that could accomplish
any mortal purpose, whether beneficial or baneful.
Through his powers of wisdom, poetry, and magic Odin was of much use to
men. In warfare his mere presence could strike the enemy blind, deaf, and impotent. He
valued courage above all other human traits, a quality which he himself possessed in
abundance. Fully aware that he himself, his followers and comrades, and the universe
itself were doomed, bravery was what mattered most to him in the face of certain
defeat. Thus he collected a band of only the most courageous warriors to sit with him in
Valhalla. These men would go down fighting with him at the crack of destruction. And
Odin would be devoured by the wolf Fenrir.
The god of storm and thunder, Thor was a mighty fighter. He had iron gloves, a
girdle that doubled his power, and an invincible flying hammer. Thor traveled in a
chariot drawn by male goats. When he was hungry he killed and ate them, but he simply
laid his hammer on their hides to revive them. One day Thor discovered that his
hammer was missing, and Loki found that the Giant Thrym had stolen it. Thrym wanted

to marry Freya in return for the hammer, but the goddess Freya loathed the idea. So it
was decided that Thor would go to Thrym's hall disguised as Freya. Thor took Loki with
him. Thrym was astonished at how much the bride ate and drank, but Loki told him
"she" had not eaten or drunk for nine days in her anxiousness to join the Giants. Thrym
then went to kiss his bride and was amazed that she had a red complexion and eyes that
flashed fire. Again Loki explained she was feverish from lack of sleep in her joy at joining
Thrym. In a hurry to get the marriage over with, Thrym ordered that the hammer be
placed on the bride's knees according to custom. Thor laughed in his heart, and having
regained his hammer he struck all the Giants in the hall dead.
Resolved to kill the Midgard Serpent that surrounded the earth, ate its own tail,
and lived in the ocean, Thor accepted shelter from the Giant Hymir. When Thor said he
wished to go fishing, Hymir treated him contemptuously. But Thor slew one of Hymir's
bulls to use the head for bait, and he and Hymir sailed out into the ocean. Thor took the
boat far past the point that Hymir felt was safe. Then he baited the hook and threw it in
the sea. Before long the Midgard Serpent snatched the bait and was caught. Its
thrashing banged up Thor's hands and wrists against the gunwale, and in the struggle
the bottom of the boat fell through, so that Thor found himself standing on the ocean
floor. With that added stability he drew the serpent up with an enormous heave. As he
was about to slay the monster with his hammer the terrified Hymir cut the line, allowing
the serpent to escape. Thor then felled and drowned the cowardly Hymir as he tried to
escape. But he would not kill the Midgard Serpent till doomsday, or Ragnarok, when he
would perish as well.
Thor could be tricked by magic. After a long day's travel with Loki and two
peasants in the land of the Giants, Thor came to an odd house in which the front door
was as wide as the dwelling itself. During the night earthquakes and rumblings forced
them from the house into an adjacent shed. When morning came Thor found a sleeping
Giant nearby whose snorings and heavings shook the ground. The Giant awoke, told
Thor his name was Skrymir the Giant, revealed their shelter had been his glove, and
offered to accompany the group. Skrymir carried the sack of provisions, and that night
when the group sat down to eat the sack could not be opened. Skrymir lay asleep, and
in a fury Thor hurled his hammer at the Giant, who awoke and said he felt a leaf had
fallen on him. Thor flung his hammer even harder, and this time Skrymir thought he had
been hit by an acorn. Utterly enraged, Thor flung the hammer with all his might, only to
find that Skrymir thought he had been awakened by bird droppings. Skrymir took his
leave of Thor and his comrades the next morning after pointing out their destination,
Utgard, and telling them there were tougher fellows than he at Utgard.
Thor, Loki, and the two peasants came to a fortress and had to squeeze
through the grilled doorway to enter. There they encountered King Utgardaloki
surrounded by Giants. Utgardaloki addressed them scornfully and challenged them to
prove their skill in a contest with the Giants present. Loki boasted that he could eat
great quantities of food quickly, but in an eating competition with Logi, Loki only
devoured a platterful of meat while Logi ate the meat, bones, and plate. Thor's
companion, a peasant, said he was swift as lightning and proved it in a race, but his
competitor Hugi still outdistanced him. Thor claimed he could drink more than any
being alive, but after taking enormous quaffs from a drinking horn the level of liquid was
only a small degree lower. Then Utgardaloki tested Thor's strength by having him lift a
cat from the floor, but Thor could do no more than lift a paw or two. Finally Thor agreed
to wrestle an old woman, and the old woman brought him to one knee. Utgardaloki
then gave an account of every humiliating thing that had happened to Thor and his
friends, saying that their strength was truly frightening. He himself had been Skrymir,
and if he had not protected his head with mountains Thor's hammer would have killed

him. Instead, those mountains now had deep ridges. Loki had eaten in a contest with
Logi — fire — which devours everything. The peasant had raced with Hugi — thought —
the swiftest medium. Thor had drunk from the sea and lowered it a few inches, had
tried to lift the Midgard Serpent, and had wrestled with old age. Infuriated at having
played the fool, Thor lifted his hammer to slay the enchanter, but Utgardaloki and his
castle vanished, leaving Thor and his comrades alone on the plain.
Balder was the most glorious god alive, handsome and pure in spirit, the son of
Odin and Frigga. Every living creature loved him. Yet Odin knew his son was doomed to
an early death. To protect him Frigga traveled far and wide, exacting promises from all
objects and beings not to harm him. Believing she had done everything possible, Frigga
neglected the lowly mistletoe. The gods rejoiced to know that Balder was invulnerable
and invented a game in which everyone threw things at him.
Loki was intensely jealous of Balder and resolved to destroy him. While all the
gods hurled things at Balder, Balder's blind brother Hoder sat by himself, unable to join
the fun. Loki, having learned the secret of the mistletoe and having obtained a sprig,
offered to guide the blind Hoder's hand. The mistletoe was thrown and it pierced
Balder's heart, killing him. The gods grieved, but Odin and Frigga sent another son as an
envoy to the underworld, Niflheim, to see if Balder could be ransomed. In the meantime
Balder's funeral ship was prepared, set fire to, and sent out to sea.
The goddess Hel agreed to release Balder from her kingdom of death only if the
whole creation and everything in it wept for the slain god. Messengers were sent
everywhere, and all things cried over Balder's death until one messenger came upon a
Giantess who refused to weep. This of course was Loki in disguise. So Balder was
condemned to remain in the netherworld. But the gods revenged themselves on Loki by
binding him in a deep cave and causing a poisonous serpent to drip venom in his face,
causing the wicked being intolerable pain. Loki's wife caught much of this venom in a
cup, but whenever she emptied the cup Loki writhed in agony, creating earthquakes.
This was the beginning of the end, for Loki then allied himself with the Giants
and demons, who would bring ruin on the Aesir.
A god of fertility, vegetation, and sailing, Frey was one of the beneficial Vanir
admitted into Asgard. Once Frey sat on Odin's high throne watching the earth. He
became enamored of a Giant's beautiful daughter, Gerda, and determined to have her
as his wife. His friend and servant Skirnir agreed to woo Gerda for him. Taking Frey's
wondrous sword and fearless horse, Skirnir braved the dangers of reaching the Giant's
dwelling, even riding through a wall of flame. Gerda was not in the least impressed with
Skirnir, though he offered her rich gifts. Then he threatened her and her father with the
sword to no avail. However, when Skirnir vowed to turn her into a withered, desolate
old maid, Gerda capitulated and said she would marry Frey in nine days. Frey, impatient
for the nine days to elapse, won his bride in this manner.
Also one of the Vanir, Freya had stunning beauty, and she loved to adorn
herself with jewelry. In the workshop of four dwarves Freya discovered a lovely golden
necklace that she desired. She offered the dwarves much wealth for it, but they wanted
her to sleep with each of them for a night instead. Freya consented. But Odin
disapproved of her actions and ordered Loki to steal the necklace. That evening Loki
found it impossible to enter Freya's dwelling, so he changed himself into a fly and
entered through a chink in the roof. Since she was wearing the necklace and it was
impossible to remove without disturbing her, Loki became a flea and bit her, causing
Freya to shift. Loki then resumed his human form, took the necklace and left. When she

awoke she knew Odin had the necklace, so she went to him. But Odin agreed to return it
only if she created a war between two great kings with twenty kings apiece under their
command, and if each night she would restore the slain warriors to life. The war took
place and Freya recovered her precious necklace.
The god of wiles and wickedness, Loki was very handsome and had enjoyed the
favors of many goddesses. One of his last dramatic exploits concerned the feast of Aegir,
a Giant and lord of the sea. Aegir had invited all the gods and goddesses to attend. Thor
was not present, but the other deities were having a grand time when Loki forced his
way into the hall. Knowing his malicious trickery, the gods did not welcome him. But
Loki appealed to the rules of hospitality and his pledge with Odin, and very reluctantly
the gods made a place for him and gave him drink. Then Loki began attacking the gods
and goddesses, one by one, telling of their infidelities, their cowardices, the times they
had been made to look foolish, all the tricks with which he had humiliated them. Any
attempts at reconciliation were met with scurrilous abuse. And when others offered him
insult for insult Loki outdid them in contempt. Odin himself was nonplussed. When the
feast was in a thorough uproar Thor returned, fierce and commanding. And Loki
reminded Thor of his adventure with Utgardaloki. Thor brandished his hammer, which
made Loki cower. But before he left the banquet he warned that that would be the last
feast they would attend, for soon Aegir's hall and the entire world would be burning.

Several days of our week are named after the Teutonic gods: Tuesday after Tyr,
Wednesday after Odin (Woden), Thursday after Thor, and Friday after Frey. The
mythological stories of the Norse gods show a culture that centered on warfare, and
these gods are glorified human warriors who get their way by force, by magic, and by
cunning. Balder and, in part, Odin show a certain amount of spirituality; yet on the
whole the Norse gods are not very elevating, as Loki points out at Aegir's feast. These
are gods who are doomed and know it, and like many men they are determined to get
all the pleasure they can from life before they die. Courage, strength, and cleverness are
what count to them.
Despite their moral laxity, however; the Aesir were regarded as the noblest
beings in existence. They supported human civilization, such as it was, against the titanic
destructive forces in nature such as the Giants and demons. In the frozen world of
Scandinavia such beings were necessary to the primitive culture; and survival depended
on fighting for the little land there was. Yet war seemed to become an end in itself, the
main justification for living. Heroism in such a world becomes self-destructive and
meaningless. To fight for the sheer joy of fighting is a terrible waste, like suicide. Despite
the excesses to which the Teutonic religion tended, the Norse gods have a certain
gloomy grandeur.
Odin (pron.: /'o?d?n/; from Old Norse Óðinn) is a major god in Norse
mythology and the ruler of Asgard. His role, like that of many of the Norse gods, is
complex. Odin is a principal member of the Æsir (the major group of the Norse
pantheon) and is associated with war, battle, victory and death, but also wisdom,
Shamanism, magic, poetry, prophecy, and the hunt. Odin has many sons, the most
famous of whom is Thor.
Thor (from Old Norse Þórr) is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder,
lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, the protection of mankind, and also hallowing,
healing and fertility. His hammer, Mjölnir, were worn in defiance and Norse pagan

personal names containing the name of the god bear witness to his popularity. Into the
modern period, Thor continued to be acknowledged in rural folklore throughout
Germanic regions. Thor is frequently referred to in place names, the day of the week
Thursday ("Thor's day") bears his name, and names stemming from the pagan period
containing his own continue to be used today.
Mjölnir (pron.: /'mj?ln??r/ or /'mj?ln?r/ myol-n(ee)r; also Mjolnir, Mjollnir,
Mjölner or Mjølner) is the hammer of Thor, the Norse god of thunder. Distinctively
shaped, Mjölnir is depicted in Norse mythology as one of the most fearsome weapons,
capable of leveling mountains.
Freyja (Old Norse the "Lady") is a goddess associated with love, beauty,
fertility, gold, seiðr, war, and death. Freyja is the owner of the necklace Brísingamen,
rides a chariot pulled by two cats, owns the boar Hildisvíni, possesses a cloak of falcon
feathers, and, by her husband Óðr, is the mother of two daughters, Hnoss and Gersemi.
Along with her brother Freyr (Old Norse the "Lord"), her father Njörðr, and her mother
(Njörðr's sister, unnamed in sources), she is a member of the Vanir. Stemming from Old
Norse Freyja, modern forms of the name include Freya, Frejya, Freyia, Frøya, Frøjya, and
Vanir (singular Vanr) are a group of gods associated with fertility, wisdom and
the ability to see the future. The Vanir are one of two groups of gods (the other being
the Æsir) and are the namesake of the location Vanaheimr ("Home of the Vanir").
Baldr (also Balder, Baldur) is a god in Norse mythology. In the 12th century,
Danish accounts by Saxo Grammaticus and other Danish Latin chroniclers recorded a
euhemerized account of his story. Compiled in Iceland in the 13th century, but based on
much older Old Norse poetry, the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda contain numerous
references to the death of Baldr as both a great tragedy to the Æsir and a harbinger of
Ragnarök (UK /'rægn?r?rk/,[2] US /'rægn?r?k/ or /'rægn?r?k/[3]) is a series of
future events, including a great battle foretold to ultimately result in the death of a
number of major figures (including the gods Odin, Thor, Týr, Freyr, Heimdallr, and Loki),
the occurrence of various natural disasters, and the subsequent submersion of the
world in water.
Freyr (sometimes anglicized Frey, from *frawjaz "lord"[1]) is one of the most
important gods of Norse paganism. Freyr was associated with sacral kingship, virility and
prosperity, with sunshine and fair weather, and was pictured as a phallic fertility god,
Freyr "bestows peace and pleasure on mortals". Freyr, sometimes referred to as Yngvi-
Freyr, was especially associated with Sweden and seen as an ancestor of the Swedish
royal house.
Loki, Loptr, or Hveðrungr is a god or jötunn (or both). Loki is the son of Fárbauti
and Laufey, and the brother of Helblindi and Býleistr. By the jötunn Angrboða, Loki is the
father of Hel, the wolf Fenrir, and the world serpent Jörmungandr. By his wife Sigyn,
Loki is the father of Narfi and/or Nari. And by the stallion Svaðilfari, Loki is the mother—
giving birth in the form of a mare—to the eight-legged horse Sleipnir. In addition, Loki is
referred to as the father of Váli in the Prose Edda.
The jötunn (anglicized jotunn or jotun; pron.: /'jo?t?n/, /'jo?t?n/, or /'j??t?n/;
Icelandic: ['jœ?t?n]; from Old Norse jotunn /'j?tun?/; often glossed as giant or ettin) can
be seen throughout Norse mythology. The Jötunn are a mythological race, separate
from the Æsir and Vanir but of comparable strength and ability

Hel is a being who presides over a realm of the same name, where she receives
a portion of the dead.
Fenrir is a monstrous wolf and son of Loki.
Jörmungandr (Old Norse: Jormungandr, pronounced ['j?rmu?gandr]), often
written Jormungand, or Jörmungand and also known as the Midgard Serpent (Old
Norse: Midgarðsormr), or World Serpent, is a sea serpent, the middle child of the
giantess Angrboða and the god Loki.

MORAL LESSON: Power isn’t always everything. Keep in mind that even if you are a god,
there is always a greater power that could kill you.

INFLUENCE TO MODERN TIMES: Rainbows were believed to be a bridge leading from

Midgard (earth) to Asaheim. The Ragnarok could be considered similar to any other end-
times point, most pointedly being Christianity. Hel is the ruler of Niflheim I believe, aka
Hel. This could be representative of Lucifer actions 'creating hell' so to speak. As for
Fenrir and Jormungandr? The bible speaks of two demons believed to be siblings or
lovers. These two are gigantic beings known as Behemoth (on land, comparrative to
Fenrir) and Leviathan (in the sea, comparrative to Jormungandr) Mostly its influence is
involved in Comics, Fiction Films and video games.

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