Ancient, Medieval and Modern Literature


Literature turns out to be one of the most captivating things, any person can enjoy any time. It does not matter where this or that piece of writing came from, but its unique style, its contents, and its idea – all this can easily amaze the reader and attract his/her attention day by day. There are so many periods in Literature, where the representatives of different epochs make wonderful attempts to demonstrate their vision of this world, the current problems, which create a kind of challenge to people, and the things, which make people a little bit happier. Ancient literature and one of its brightest representatives, Homer, introduces a world, full of battles, love, and desire to take leading positions.

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Medieval literature and Dante Alighieri with his marvelous love in poetry impress the reader with its sensitivity and desire to break through the limits, settled by religion. And Modern literature presents one of the most powerful writers of all the times, whose works are known by millions of people; William Shakespeare and his Hamlet cannot leave indifferent any person due to its ability to represent feelings, emotions, devotions, and relations between close people. To my mind, Shakespeare, Dante, and Homer are the most successful representatives of Literature from different epochs, who created such wonderful works, where they described the development of the world and told about the values, inherent to people of those times.

Modern literature

Homer’s Iliad is a powerful source of information about the history of Ancient Greece. This is a story that easily combines the horridness of wars with art and unbelievable literary characters. It is necessary to admit that all literary works are usually divided into several categories, which are characterized by their unique genre and style. Iliad is a captivating epic poem about gods and heroes, their relations and ideas, their dreams, and achievements. With the help of this literary work, the author wanted to underline that all people of those times truly believed in god’s power and could imagine their life without gods. It is necessary to underline that there was not one concrete God, who ruled and manipulated people. There were lots of different gods, who were responsible for some concrete spheres of life and tried to demonstrate their supremacy over each other.

In comparison to other literary works from other epochs, Iliad is considered to be a strict and even a bit dry work with too complicated words and absence of constant rhyme. “What god drove them to fight with such a fury?/ Apollo the son of Zeus and Leto. Incensed at the king/ he swept a fatal plague through the army – men were dying/ and all because Agamemnon spurned Apollo’s priest. (Homer 77) To my mind, such a short piece of writing that introducing several gods from the very beginning of the story underlines one simple fact that people are under someone’s control, and everything is not that safe and sound, because people are still dying, and someone still manipulates them. Gods make people fight against each other, gods have control. I think that such an attitude and even respect for gods is one more fear that was inherent to people of ancient times. Of course, it is only my point of view, but still, it exists. Wars may serve as one more means to hide personal fears and dependence on something that cannot be controlled, so, Homer demonstrates how powerful gods seemed to people.

This is why it is high time to leave wars and diversity of gods and visit the same world but represented by another writer during a bit later period. Dante Alighieri and his poetry about love, passion, desire, and devotion – this is what I want to analyze a bit and compare with the works of other writers. Dante made a wonderful attempt and presented a kind of reflection on the development of the world in the form of sonnets and slight poetry. People of those times were under a considerable influence of the church, and, in comparison to the context represented in Homer’s works, Dante concentrated more on feelings and human emotions, which were considered to be the same source of inspiration and desire to grow and develop. Dante created more than 200 sonnets, and each of his works was a bit about men, women, and love. Some of his works were about the unbelievable passion of a man for a woman, some other works were about the desire to help and comprehend the needs of lovers. And some poetry, presented by Dante, was all about forgiveness, protection, and admiration.

May Love ever protect

This heart he gave to you, his to command,

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And, on the other hand,

May Mercy beg you to remember me,

Because before I go

Too far away from all your present worth

The thought I will return

To you once more already comforts me. (Dante)

These lines, like many other lines from Dante, are about love. It is very difficult to explain concretely what love means, this is why Dante represented several approaches to comprehension of what love may be about. If Homer’s works were all about wars and other things, which may be connected to war, then Dante’s creations were all about love and other compatible with love things. Man’s desire to protect a woman – this is something that characterizes lots of men of all times. Desire to be in the heart of the darling person – this is what lots of men want to achieve. The idea of returning and staying with the same woman – this is the issue, lots of men want to believe in.

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The last, but still one of my favorite writers that I want to discuss is William Shakespeare. This English poet presented so many captivating works, which turned out to be real masterpieces through the whole world, and one of such works was Hamlet. Moral integrity and the idea to take revenge – these are the major themes of the play. Hamlet is a kind of controversial character, who always tries to solve some problems, to speak to someone, and to find the answers without posing some concrete questions. Thinking over is one of the most inherent features of any human being. This is what Shakespeare wanted to represent in his work and introduce such a theme to the reader.

In comparison to the above-mentioned works from Ancient and Medieval literature, Shakespeare’s Hamlet touches not only the mind and opens some new feelings, but also makes the heart work and care about something. It is not necessary to cause some pity, and this is why Shakespeare tried to find out as many serious reasons as possible to convince the reader to support the major character. “To be or not to be – that is the question:/ Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer/ The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,/ Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,” (Shakespeare, 127) Of course, this citation is known for so many people and the point is that these words mean different things for different people. According to this book, the values of people from modern times are quite different in comparison to those, which were inherent to ancient or even medieval times. People were eager to take leading positions using ignorance of such points as dignity and respect. People could love sincerely, but still, some external factors were on their ways to success and happiness.

The world has been changed, and these changes could not but find their reflection in everything, and literature in particular. The works of these three giants of the World Literature demonstrate perfectly the values, which were appreciated by people of different epochs. Ancient literature underlines the importance of description and belief in something that might control living processes. Wars and conflicts helped to divide the territory and define its places in this world. Homer’s Iliad tells that people did care about the feeling of each other, but still, their desire to win and demonstrate power turned out to be stronger.

Medieval literature did illustrate that the world had been changed: people tried to decrease the influence of gods on their lives, and be devoted to personal feelings. When the territory is divided, it is high time to start thinking about personal satisfaction and the continuation of the kind. However, it is not the final point of the world’s development, and this is why the ideas, presented in modern literature, reflect one of the final stages of world development till nowadays. People have enough territory to live on and have some people to care about. They know lots of ways to achieve desirable success and try to follow personal interests to create something new and improve something old. Shakespeare demonstrated perfectly how the problems of one person and his self-analysis may destroy the lives of several people. They had all – homes, lovers, families, and support; but still, the absence of a firm belief turns out to be a problem, the problem that cannot be solved independently.


Telling the truth, my choice of these literary works is not accidental. These three works also illustrate the development of any human life: birth and desire to have more and more (Iliad, Homer), passion, enthusiasm, and belief (poetry by Dante), and, finally, searching of own personality and self-analysis (Hamlet, Shakespeare). This corrupt world is not easy to accept and win. People face more and more difficulties every day. So, literary works are such sources of information, people can take into consideration and focus on the things, which may help to take concrete positions. To my mind, literary works should not be forgotten by people, especially, such works as Iliad, Hamlet, or Divine Comedy and other sonnets and poetry by Dante. If a person wants to grasp this world and comprehend the essence of why we all live here, it is high time to open one of the mentioned books and start enjoying those times and the values of our ancestors. Such awareness should help to improve this world and personal life, the only thing required is the desire and time to analyze everything, the authors of different epochs wanted to represent.

Works Cited

Dante, Alighieri. Love Poems. 2009. Web.

Homer, Knox, Bernard, and Fagles, Robert. Penguin Classics Iliad Deluxe Edition. Penguin Classics, 2003.

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Simon & Schuster, 2003.

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