Assignment #3

Develop a well-detailed essay of 4-5 GOOD/STRONG paragraphs on ONE of the topics listed below.  

1. In Book 9 of Paradise Lost, Milton makes the claim that his story of the fall from Eden and Adam and Eve’s recovery is “Not less but more heroic” (14) than any of his epic predecessors.  Make the case for two of the following to represent a new kind of hero:  Sundiata, Hunahpu and Xbalanque, Adam and Eve.  Although not required, referring to some of the heroes that we have studied would be useful.

2.  Deception figures largely in Popul Vuh and Paradise Lost.  Compare and contrast Milton’s Satan and the Mayan twins use of deception.  How do they differ?  What makes their trickery so successful?  Although not required, referring to some of the other deceivers that we have studied would be useful (to give just one example, some of the deceivers and traitors found in Dante’s Inferno).

3. Discuss the role of women in Sundiata.  Compare and contrast its treatment of women with the depiction of women in Popul Vuh, Paradise Lost, and/or any of the previous epics that we have studied.  Is woman mainly subordinated to her male counterparts or does she exert some degree of power or agency?

4.  Mortality, the inescapable truth of death, looms large in all three epics.  The Mayan twins die as part of their plan to rid the underworld of dark forces; Sundiata loses his mother Sogolon and must struggle to gain her proper burial; and, of course, Adam and Eve introduce death, not only of themselves but generations of human beings to come.  Despite this powerful presence of mortality in the epics, something positive emerges from these confrontations with death.  Define that positive development and how it arises from (or triumphs over?) its encounter with death.  Choose at least two of the epics for your essay.

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