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Friday, January 10, 2014

Nobody knows the troubles I've seen (2)

This is a very fine example of Tasso's subtlety. At first sight, the text is all too plain: Armida is understandably disappointed by Godfrey's answer. But her attitude and words are more dangerous than that. In lowering her head, Armida 'mirrors' Godfrey's gesture in 5: 67, like the Serpent in Eden who - as it can be seen in Medieval and Renaissance art - took on Eve's face.

But especially, her reference to people "changing their natures and minds" sarcastically foreshadows the metamorphosis that the knights who will follow her will undergo. In that episode (Gerusalemme Liberata, Canto 10; see picture here below), Tasso will rework Dante, Inferno 25, not only by having men turning into fish rather than snakes, but adding the psychological horror it entails. In Gerusalemme Conquistata, however, the scene has been shortened and modified.

by Nivalis70
published in Emanations: Third Eye,
International Authors, 2013