Various treatments of love in chosen literary works.

The final work of literature chosen for this exercise is the New Testament. Epic in scale and content, it is probably the most important book for Christians. Obviously, love in the context of this holy book is that which is in relation to God. One of the tenets of Christian theology, as indicated in the New Testament, is how God loves us unconditionally. The only precondition to God’s love is a proper surrendering to him. God, through his son Jesus Christ, pays penance for all the sins of the faithful. The crucifixion is the epitome and symbol of this supreme sacrifice. Elsewhere, it talks of how one could attain personal salvation through loving fellow humans. The criteria for this love are a lack of hypocrisy and unfair discrimination. Jesus Christ sets the example by loving all his disciples. Beyond this, he does not even show the slightest hatred toward his persecutors.

An important feature of the New Testament, which is a deviation from the Old Testament, is the moderation in its language and thought. In the Old Testament, Godly retribution for committing sin, blasphemy or apostasy is very pronounced. The notion of suffering great turmoil in the hell fires of the afterlife were a central belief in the older scripture. The New Testament breaks away from this negativity and focuses more on benign aspects of Godly love. It says how God loves all the faithful even if they have erred and sinned.

In conclusion, the five works of literature picked for this essay display very different types of love. In The Prince, the love of power is the main theme. In comparison, the New Testament is about love of God, his reciprocal love toward the faithful, and the devotee’s love of salvation. In sharp contrast, Decameron generously deals with sensual love, whose morality is a question of debate. Finally, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales idealizes brotherly love and chivalry. The varieties of love thus showcased form an exquisite melange. They encapsulate the range and shape that love can manifest as. They also spark our imagination into finding other forms of love – be it interpersonal, political or divine.

Works Cited

* Bloom, Harold, ed. Dante’s Divine Comedy. New York: Chelsea House, 1987. Print.

* Jensen, De Lamar, ed. Machiavelli: Cynic, Patriot, or Political Scientist? Boston: D. C. Heath, 1960. Print.

* Koff, Leonard Michael, and Brenda Deen Schildgen, eds. The Decameron and the Canterbury Tales: New Essays on An Old Question. Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2000. Print.

* Lawrence, William Witherle. Chaucer and the Canterbury Tales. New York: Columbia UP, 1950. Print.

*Perrin, Norman, and Dennis C. Duling. The New Testament, An Introduction: Proclamation and Parenesis, Myth and History. 2nd ed. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982.Print.

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