English 2: 180

“Are Boccaccio’s Decameron and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales closer in outlook to Greek and Roman literature than they are to Hebrew, Christian, and medieval literature?”

ALRIGHT! Before we get into the question, I just want to say, this has been my toughest year for essays and I’m sorry if they aren’t as good as you’d expect. But, I’m not much of a writer and I had a crazy week last week. So, here we go!!!

Let’s go back to our roots. Let’s go back to a simpler time. A different time. A better time (maybe). Let’s do this. 

How about we rephrase the question. Do these two books better represent Greek and Roman writing or Hebrew, Christian, and medieval writing? I think the Decameron and Canterbury Tales reflected more upon Roman and Greek literature than the other. Why? Because although the stories involved some Hebrew, Christian, and medieval elements (popes, sacrifices, worshipping gods), I feel as though it relied more on a Roman and Greek perspective. It’s like reading a book by a southerner and you’re not a southerner but they keep using so many southern labels for everything and you understand it—-but just not as good as a southerner would. You know what I’m saying? The stories that involved Christianity were all twisted. The church was corrupt and not respected in the way that it should be. As for the popes, their claimed ‘miracles’ ironically seemed to good to be true. Almost like it was told from the point of view someone who wasn’t in the know to know. You know? Like they complied the story of what they thought these people would act like and decided to write about that than actual fact. Actually, a lot of people do this. You’d be surprised how many of your favorite authors spout ‘facts’ that they’ve made up. It just goes to show that you shouldn’t believe everything you read. Unless it’s fact. Then you can believe it. Anyway, the stories weren’t meant to give you hope. They were meant to be ‘real’. As in, brutally honest to what they think is going to happen to you if you do a certain thing and if you live a certain way. For example, if you die before confessing all of your sins, you will go to Purgatory to atone for them. Romans were really brutal and worshipped false idols AKA the Roman gods. The Greeks did also. We all know the Greek names of the gods, don’t we? Well, we at least know all of the important ones. Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, Hera, Athena, Ares, Apollo, Artemis, Hephaestus, and Aphrodite–to name a few. And of course, how can we forget their Roman counterparts? In order, they are Jupiter, Pluto, Neptune, Juno, Minerva, Mars, Apollo, Diana, Vulcan, and Venus. The reason there are different counterparts to the gods is because, while originally Greek, the Romans decided to make the gods better and reformed them in the image of war and gave them a strict-like air. Like how Athena is the goddess of Wisdom in her Greek form, but is the goddess of War as Minerva. That isn’t to say that Athena isn’t a war goddess and that Minerva isn’t a wisdom goddess. It just means that one side is greater than the other. Ok, this is getting a little too complicated. So, getting back on track, the Greeks and Romans worshipped different-but-the-same gods. How these gods and goddesses acted reflected how the people acted. *The Greeks might be more relaxed than the Romans. **The Romans might be better soldiers than the Greeks. The point is, they only had a certain religion to serve. So why would all of these books include stories about different religions? Why not have all of the books focus on one thing if it reflects Greek and Roman, rather than Hebrew, Christian, and medieval? I’m asking more questions than I am giving answers. Alright, these stories are brutally honest and a bit silly, like Roman and Greek literature. But they are also teaching lessons (all be it weird ones) and trying to teach how to live like Hebrew, Christian, and medieval literature. I mean, the stories are wrong and if you try to live by them you’ll be miserable, but they’re still stories. Even the stories that seem to have no meaning always have a lesson. And like Snow White, the lesson is to not do what they did. And that brings us back to the question: Do these two books filled with stories reflect more upon the Roman and Greek side of literature or the Hebrew, Christian and medieval sides? My answer is as it was before, it reflects more upon the Roman and Greek side of things. Because, although it did involve different religions and things that the Romans and Greeks wouldn’t normally be associated with, it wasn’t the stories themselves, more of the writing. It had no hope. I’m not saying that the Romans and Greeks had no hope—-well, yes I am. Look, when God created us, he gave us a choice of free will. We can choose to follow God or not. But the fact is we all have a void in our souls. We constantly try to fill it with entertainment, drama, romance–anything. That void is the absence of God in your life. It doesn’t matter if you’re an Atheist or a Christian or apart of some other religion, you know there is a higher being. That’s why the Romans and Greeks made up the gods and goddess and all of that stuff. Because, in their minds, that is how creation was formed and that is their purpose. To serve unforgiving gods who do nothing but demand the worship of their followers. That is why they have no hope. Because they know, deep down, that it’s all a mere mortals dream. The sad part is that God would welcome them in with open arms, if only they would ask. 

*I’m saying ‘might’, this is not a fact





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