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Dante's Women

A lovely prezi overveiw of some of Dante's women.
by

Kathryn Foster

on 21 April 2010

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Transcript of Dante's Women

Women in Dante's Inferno Helen of Troy
Helen of Troy has been referenced in many literary works. In Dante's Inferno, she is placed in the second circle of hell for committing the sin of lust (Canto 5). Margret George also wrote an entire novel describing the life of Helen (Helen of Troy). The poet H.D. wrote an epic poem entitled "Helen in Egypt" from Helen's perspective. The Memoirs of Helen of Troy written by Amanda Elyot describes the life of Helen. This famous character is also referenced in many films and songs. Helen was the daughter of Leda, the queen of Sparta, and Zeus. When Helen was still very young, Theses, king of Athens, kidnapped her because he wanted to "own" the daughter of Zeus. One day, while Theses was gone, Helen's brother and half-brother, Polydeuces and Castor, rescued her and brought her back to Sparta. When Helen was old enough to get married, she attracted many suitors. Menelaus was chosen to be the husband of Helen. All of the suitors promised to defend the honor of Helen if anything were to ever happen to her. Together Helen and Menelaus had four children : Hermione, Aethiolas, Maraphius, and Pleisthenes.
In Troy, the Trojan prince Paris was chosen to judge a beauty contest between three goddesses. He chose Aphrodite as the most beautiful goddess. In gratitude, Aphrodite promised Paris that he could obtain Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world. Therefore, Paris set sail for Sparta, where he was welcomed by King Menelaus. Several days later, Paris left Sparta with Menelaus' money and his most prized possession, Helen. According to some people, Helen was kidnapped by Paris, but others say that she fell in love with him and deserted Menelaus on her own accord. Soon after they arrived in Troy, they were married.
Menelaus was outraged when he learned of Helen's disappearance. Menelaus gathered soldiers and set sail for Troy. Some of the prominent Greek figures like Achilles and Odysseus accompanied him. The abduction of Helen became a matter of national honor and ignited the Trojan war. After the Greeks invaded the walls of Troy, Menelaus vowed that he would kill Helen. But, stories say that when he found Helen, her beauty captivated him and he brought her back to Sparta to be his wife. Little is known about her life after the end of the war.
Helen is most famous for having the "face that launched a thousand ships" (Christopher Marlow). Little is actually known about the personality of Helen. But, she is known as a prominent character in the Trojan War. cleopatra
Plutarch wrote about Cleopatra about in his Life of Antony. He writes about how her beauty and personality added to her allure. Cassius Dio also wrote about Cleopatra, and attributes her wit and charm to her success in seducing two of the most powerful men of her time. Shakespeare wrote one of his plays (Cleopatra and Antony) about her, and Dante places her in his second circle of Hell for committing the sin of lust (Canto 5). She is also depicted in many films and pieces of art. The End By Paige and Katie
Period 2- Ms. HAyward The End By: Katie and Paige
Period 2- Ms. Hayward Cleopatra was born in 69 BC. According to her father’s dying wishes, she and her husband-brother, Ptolemy XIII, co-ruled Egypt. Unhappy with sharing the power, Ptolemy drove Cleopatra out of Alexandria, the Egyptian capital. She fled in 48 BC, but returned later to meet Caesar.
In accordance with most monarchs of her time, Cleopatra saw herself as a goddess. She enjoyed immense wealth, but “Her actual beauty...was not so remarkable that none could be compared with her, or that no one could see her without being struck by it, but the contact of her presence...was irresistible.... The character that attended all she said or did was something bewitching.(Plutarch)". Cleopatra was ethnically Greek, and a descendant of Alexander the Great’s general Ptolemy I Soter. This, too, inherently set her apart from her people. Unlike many other rulers, she learned the ethnic Egyptian language.
Historically, Cleopatra has been portrayed as a brilliant ruler, but also as a “dangerous harlot who employed sex, witchcraft and cunning as she grasped for power beyond what was proper for a woman. The poet Horace, writing in the late first century B.C., called her "A crazy queen...plotting...to demolish the Capitol and topple the [Roman] Empire." Nearly a century later, the Roman poet Lucan labeled her "the shame of Egypt, the lascivious fury who was to become the bane of Rome."(Crawford).”
She formed an alliance with Caesar, and after her brother’s death, was going to marry him. This was not condoned by the Egyptians, so she married her other brother instead even though she had a child, Ptolemy Caesarion, by Caesar. Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC. Cleopatra had her brother killed and her sister driven out of the city. She then allied herself with Marc Antony and had three children by him, despite the fact he was married. Some historians claim this was only to ensure Egypt had an ally against Octavian, Caesar’s heir, but others insist that Marc Antony and Cleopatra had a legitimate relationship. In the Battle of Actium (31 BC), Cleopatra and Marc Antony were defeated. He killed himself, and when she learned of his death she killed herself, too.
Cleopatra was a famous Egyptian ruler who had affairs with both Caesar and Marc Antony. She is known for her audience with Caesar where she made her entrance wrapped in a rug. She is also known for her death; she poisoned herself after learning of Marc Antony’s death Honorable Mention Francesca da Rimini
Noblewoman who was the wife of Gianciotto Malatesta, Lord of Rimini. After discovering his wife's affair with his brother Paolo, Gianciotto killed both of them.
Semiramis
Queen of Assyria, alleged to have legalized incest.
Didone (Dido, Elissa)
Queen of Carthage, who became Aeneas' lover after the death of her husband Sychaeus. Dido committed suicide when Aeneas later abandoned her.
Beatrice
1266-1290
Woman celebrated in the Vita Nuova and Commedia, she is Dante's inspiration and spiritual guide in the later work. Dante's Beatrice is generally identified as Beatrice Portinari, the daughter of a banker and wife of Simone dei Bardi, who died at the age of 24. In the Comedy Beatrice is an image of absolute perfection and functions as an intermediary in Dante's ascent to God. Without Beatrice Dante's Comedy would not exist.
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