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Tasso's God: Divine Action in Gerusalemme Liberata*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 November 2018

Tobias Gregory*
California State University, Northridge


This essay examines a subject largely ignored in Tasso criticism: the role of supernatural powers in the epic action of the Liberata. Tasso introduces divine characters, notably God and Satan, at several crucial moments. The presence in the epic plot of an intervening God who is at once partisan and omnipotent brings to the fore certain narrative and theological problems; these problems are not Tasso's alone, but inhere in the attempt to construct a Christian supernatural on the classical epic model. The divine action of the Liberata sheds light on the religious ideology of the poem, and on an issue of broader significance: the uneasy marriage of monotheism and epic narrative.

Copyright © Renaissance Society of America 2002

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For their comments on a previous version of this essay I am grateful to Lina Bolzoni, Linda Gregerson, Matteo Residori, Michael Schoenfeldt, Sergio Zatti, and the readers for Renaissance Quarterly.


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