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I like to believe everything happens for a reason. Many people like to believe in fate because they think they can just sit back and let everything fall into place. Fortune is mostly associated with good luck. But, when something bad happens in one’s life, fate automatically is out of the picture. A few hundred years ago, your fate was in the hands of the patriarchy.
In The Burning Times, the role of fate were not in the hands of “destiny”, but of the people.
At least in my opinion. During the 15th through the 17th century, “visionaries, wise women, and healers were seen as witches and devil worshippers.” This era was called the “ witch craze. During this time, a women’s power was associated with darkness and death. Women already had their fate laid out for them. The role of fate alone in this was written by the very misogynistic society.
Many people’s difficulties and misfortune, especially the lower class, were blamed on witches.
So the fate of that individual was “pre determined” by them. Today, we understand that there are many causes for someone’s misfortune or them being in the lower class. But during this time, the fate and even your fortune all had to do with how you lived your life according to the church. The church heavily influenced the “fate” of many people. In Burning Times, they mention a verse by St. Paul that says women are the cause of all downfall, we introduce sin and also temptation.
This makes me question, was the fate of us women already written by this man that believed women were this source of evil? Like mentioned before, the church embedded this notion and idea that women were pretty much to follow under man, and were the source of all sin.
The “characters” in this work I believe at some points had free will. For example, those who chose to keep practicing witchcraft But at this time, there were so many rules, suspicions, superstitions, that if you even looked suspicious, you could be burned at the stake. Even to this day, women face issues living in the still misogynistic society. Our fate, like these women, can be in the hands of others.
My favorite read this semester was The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. This piece focuses on Dante living a life of sin. This epic poem covers the aspect of heaven and hell, love, and self reflection. In his own work, Dante plays the role of the protagonist. Based of this poem/story, Alighieri was interested in religion and our consequences for our actions.
At the beginning of his journey, Dante stumbled into the forest lost and confused and was astonished by a spirit named Virgil, who was sent to guide him throughout his journey. When Dante cried out and asked who he was, Virgil answered “Not man, I was once a man; and both my parents were of Lombardy, and Mantuans with respect to fatherland. ’Neath Julius was I born, though somewhat late, and under good Augustus’ rule I lived in Rome, in days of false and lying gods. I was a poet, and of that just man,”. It is believed that Virgil was sent by Dante’s one true love, Beatrice who is in heaven. This is one of my favorite part of the story because it takes the aspect of two humans who have “strayed” and done wrong in some sort of way, and allows them to help each other reconcile their wrong doings. This is big at this time at least in my opinion because the only one who could help you in that predicament is God.
This particular work was very thought-provoking. It was very interesting for me because I find this type of work fascinating. He broke down each “layer” of Inferno very vividly, and as ther reader, it is very appreciated. For example, when Dante enters the second layer of Inferno, he asks what tortured souls lie here. It is explained they he is now in the circle that condemns all adulterers and the lustful. This part of the story at least for me gets me thinking about the aspect of hell. If you do good you go to heaven, if you do good but often stray from it, you will end up in purgatory. And of course, do bad against people and especially the church, you will go to hell.
The Divine Comedy is read generation after generation because It has influenced many pieces of work and other writers along the way. I like how in a way in this work, he gets rid of these christian concepts we are so accustomed to and puts his own creativity to it. Along the way, like Dante, we learn a few lessons like accepting with everything we do and every decision we make, there will be a consequence. Good or bad. I also learned that at one point in life, we all “wander off” the wrong path. I feel through this piece, everyone can relate to something.
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