The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1856  Monday, 1 November 1999.

From:           Drew Whitehead <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 29 Oct 1999 09:37:00 +1000 (GMT+1000)
Subject:        Re: The Two Noble Kinsmen

At the risk of opening the Shakespeare/Dante discussion again I have a
question that has been puzzling me.  In 3.1 of The Two Noble Kinsmen
Palamon says to Arcite:

Come before me then
A good Sword in thy hand, and doe but say
That Emily is thine, I will forgive
The trespasse thou hast done me, yea my life
If then thou carry't, and brave soules in shades
That have dyde manly, which will seeke of me
Some newes from earth, they shall get none but this
That thou art brave, and noble. [74-81, QLN 1390-97]

It is the phrase "brave soules ... which will seeke of me some newes
from earth" that interests me.  This strikes me as a very Dantesque
image.  Palamons speech implies that the souls have no knowledge of the
contemporary goings on in the world, and it reminds me of how the souls
in Dantes Hell can see the future and the past clearly but not the
present.  I have checked both "The Aeneid" and "The Odyssey" to see how
they handle their great underworld journeys, but both Virgils and Homers
shades seem to have clear knowledge of the present.  Does anyone know
where else this idea may have originated from?

Drew Whitehead

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