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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

[GC] You better not make him angry

Milton's Satan
by Richard Westall

After demolishing the gates by hurling a huge rock, Argantes attacks the Christian fort in Jaffa, creating mayhem. In Gerusalemme Conquistata Tasso stresses his "devilish" look and power -- therefore making him like Rodomonte in Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, who, in fact, inspired John Milton for his Satan. The last line reworks Dante's description of Charon (Inferno 3.109) in a sort of technological version.

[17: 133.3 to 134.2]

. . .
and the knight, looking like horrid night
in his own dark, gloomy countenance—
or, like you in its shadows in the depths—     you = devils, its = night's
now swiftly ran forward threatening
and tossed his spear; nothing stopping him,
he shone in his frightening weapons.
The steel did flame in fierce flashes,
with dark sparks Argantes' eyes blazed     oxymoron
. . .