A Study of Spirituality Versus Carnality in Man as the Theme of Two Wroks by Robert Henryson
Osburn, Carol Gene
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The discussion of Henryson's theme of spirituality versus temporality in man will be supported by examination of two of Henryson's most acccomplished works, The Testament at Cresseid and the Morall Fabillis. In limiting my critical study of Henryson to two of his works I have primarily two intentions: one is to demonstrate the diversity of Henryson's talents through a discussion of two long works which are equally well executed but very different in style and in subject matter. The Testament of Cresseid is a strict medieval tragedy. while the fables present the best of Henryson's humorous and ironic appraisal of mankind. My second intention is to emphasize Henryson's expression in both poems of the same thematic assertion or the contrast between the temporal world, the actual world of man in his imperfection and his shortsightedness, and the ideal world of spiritual satisfaction which it is possible for man to attain. Because these two works are pr1marily responsible for whatever acclaim Henryson enjoys today, I feel that in supporting their thematic continuity I am also suggesting that this same theme is the unifying factor in all of Henryson's poetry, and is, in fact, the focal point tor his complete poetic expression.With honors.