"Dedly synne er domesday shal fordoon hem alle" : exploring the seven deadly sins through medieval personification allegory (thesis)
In Chapter 1, I will explore the nature of personification allegory in general before turning to Langland's application of personification allegory in Passus V of Piers Plowman. What I find is that Langland's Deadly Sins are converted into real people in whom a reader can find familiar and relatable characteristics. Allegory in Piers Plowman allows for myriad ways of understanding individual characters, which in turn makes the narrative at once specific and universal. In Chapter 2, I will introduce some of the literary changes that took place between Langland's time and the end of the sixteenth century. I will then use these changes to show how Spenser's reading of the Seven Deadly Sins is different from Langland's in Canto IV of the Faerie Queene. One of these differences is the way that Spenser's Deadly Sins are characterized through spectacle; they become symbols of temptation and vice and are not themselves relatable figures. Finally, in Chapter 3, I seek to merge the two theories of the Sins that emerge from the two preceding chapters. Each text offers a very different application of personification allegory, so I will use Chaucer's "The Parson's Tale" and Dante's Purgatorio to identify the unifying theme of the New Jerusalem. [pages 2 & 3 of introduction]
Thesis; [FULL-TEXT RESTRICTED TO WASHINGTON AND LEE UNIVERSITY LOGIN]Kimber Lauren Wiggs is a member of the Class of 2010 of Washington and Lee University.