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Title:Character Types In Sir Philip Sidney's "new Arcadia" And In Italian Romance Epic
Author(s):Jeny, Neda
Department / Program:Comparative and World Literature
Discipline:Comparative and World Literature
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, Comparative
Literature, Romance
Literature, English
Abstract:Although the characters of The New Arcadia are typical for the romance epic, Sidney develops them in the manner of the moralist and anticipating the novelist, focusing not on action itself, but on the moral significance of the action and thus on the characters' inner lives. Consequently, the heroes and heroines of Sidney are more virtuous and more conscious of the necessity of unceasing moral effort than those of Ariosto and Tasso. Sidney emphasizes their educational and psychological development. Argalus and Parthenia, the faithful married couple, are presented as the model which the heroes and heroines should follow. The figure of the warrior woman, treated with admiration by Ariosto and Tasso, is rejected by Sidney; in his opinion a woman should react to misfortune with patience and forgiveness, not with violence, and therefore the warrior queen Artaxia is completely unsympathetic. The one admirable lady knight of The New Arcadia is in fact a man--the disguised Pyrocles, who eloquently defends women's moral courage, arguing that women's greater gentleness and not cowardice deters them from the practice of arms. Sidney also disapproves of the mighty warrior type; while Ariosto's Rodomonte and Tasso's Argante have some noble qualities, Sidney's Anaxius is totally contemptible, a stupid megalomaniac whose incredible boastfulness and conceit calls to mind the braggart soldier of Latin farce. Philanax, the wise counsellor of Basilius, resembles Ariosto's Sobrino and Tasso's Raimondo; however, while the Italian counsellors are static characters, there are indications that, if Sidney had finished The New Arcadia he would have made Philanax' character develop from confidence in human reason to acceptance of its insufficiency when Providence is concerned. While in the Italian epics the worst villains are minor characters, Sidney's Cecropia and Amphialus are great portraits of unconscious and conscious evil caused by pride, the heaviest sin. In accordance with Sidney's moral seriousness and didactic purpose, the conflict between good and evil in The New Arcadia is carried on the spiritual rather than the physical plane, as in the Italian epics, and constitutes the most important focus of the book.
Issue Date:1986
Description:195 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1986.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8623334
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1986

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