Advisor(s) - Committee Chair
Mary Clarke, Hugh Agee
Department of English
Master of Arts
To define the scope of this study, therefore, Harrowing of Hell imagery will be thought of as those symbols peculiar to the pseudo-biblical story, with redemptive activity and triumph as distinguishing criteria. The hero is a Christ figure who has already achieved a degree of self-mastery. His descent into hell represents an act of redemption for others, with victory as the outcome. This delimitation, it will be seen, is not impossibly restrictive. A survey of contemporary literature indicates that Wasserman's use of the descent motif with redemptive implications is far from an isolated instance. Edward Albee in The Zoo Story and Samuel Beckett in Waiting for Godot employ the imagery as a tentative suggestion of redemption, hoped for if unachieved. The same wistful negation accompanies its appearance in Kazantzakis' Greek Passion and Mauriac's The Lamb.
Arts and Humanities | Comparative Literature | English Language and Literature | Literature in English, British Isles | Literature in English, North America | Playwriting | Theatre and Performance Studies
Shepherd, Margaret, "To Hell for a Heavenly Cause: The Re-emergence of the Harrowing of Hell Motif in Twentieth Century Literature" (1969). Masters Theses & Specialist Projects. Paper 2840.