Monday, November 29, 2010

Death and the Maiden: Exploring the Role of Marian Art in Medieval Execution

On November 29th, Rosie Miola, a member of the class of 2011 at Loyola, held a lecture regarding two paintings of the Virgin Mary and their relationship to Medieval Execution, which relates to The Cask of Amontillado. While the lecture described how people were publically executed and how the paintings of Mary led them into eternal life with Christ, in The Cask of Amontillado the main character is haunted for his entire life my person he killed. Ultimately, the lecture and the short story give the reader two results of murder and death, allowing us to see how they would like to live their life.

In the lecture, Rosie described the two paintings of Mary, drawn on tabletas, influences anyone who sees them, and directly leads them to eternal life. These two paintings were created by Fra Angelico in the fifteenth century. The people who lived during this time period were very accustomed to public executions, especially hangings. This was a typical punishment for anyone who was arrested for treason or theft, meaning there were a lot of executions. People who were executed had to walk a long way up to the place where they would be killed. On the this way, religious members would hold up these tabletas, revealing the face of the Virgin Mary to the person. It was ultimately the last thing they saw before they were killed. The reason they were shown this was so that there last vision would be of Mary and therefore they would be closer to Christ. Because of this, they ultimately would be closer to heaven. This idea brings about the good idea of death, where a person would enter heaven. Because of the paintings, the person sentenced to execution would be able to Christ when he dies.

In The Cask of Amontillado, a different type of death is portrayed. The main character ends up luring a man into a cellar, convincing him there is rare wine at the end. After luring him deep enough, the man locks him in the cellar, where he eventually dies. The main character is ultimately haunted for the rest of his life because of what he did. This is the complete opposite of the lecture, as the last image before death leads them into heaven. In The Cask of Amontillado, the man hears the laugh of the man he kills. He feels awful about what he did, and believes he was wrong in doing it. Ultimately, the lecture and The Cask of Amontillado bear two different cases of feelings about death.

In other news, the question of what was the most surprising thing I learned from class this semester was posed. I think that the most surprising thing I found out was everything that goes on campus. When I came here, I was not sure what would be going around the school. Because of this class, I found out about all the events going out, all the plays, and all the community service plans. Without the class, I would not know about anything going on campus. Ultimately, the most surprising thing I learned was about all the things going on around the campus of Loyola.

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