“Jerusalem Deliveres” is an epic written by Torquato Tasso and divided into 20 cantos. He strived for symmetrical harmony and that we can see in the fact that he spent most of his life writing this epic.
The plot is settled into two basic spaces. There are places that the author invented and the authentic locations where the crusade took place in 11th century. All of that is blended into the plot.
The main motive of the book is the crusade and the blockade of Jerusalem. The author interfered with the plot by inputting many digressions such as the captivity of Tancred, Rinaldo’s departure and all about his arrival. The author placed the episodes into the plot so he would avoid the tension while reading.
“Jerusalem Delivered” contains many battle, weapon and army descriptions and those are essential for epic poems.
The main plot of the epic happened by the end of the 11th century. The main plot is the historic base of the epic and it concerns the taking over of Jerusalem by Godfrey’s army. There are some events regarding the Medieval and author gets involved with then popular questions about politics and religion.
An important aspect of this work is the religious one that is easy noticeable in the theme of the book itself. Tasso tried to show the unity of Christians during the crisis in the Catholic Church. Christianity was then endangered by the Turks invading Europe and by the inner confrontations in the church.
The crusade has been going on for 7 years. The duke Godfrey decided to talk to his soldiers and encourage them to keep on going with the war. Their final destination was Jerusalem and the grave of Jesus. The soldiers decided that the duke should lead their way.
In the meantime Jerusalem’s king Aladine plans how to defend the city and Christ’s grave for the crusade. At the same time Virgin Marie’s photo was stolen and Aladine believed that will help him defend the city. Sofronia and Olindo, a young couple, was accused of stealing it. Clorinda managed to save them and she was a warrior of the Muslims.
The crusade arrived to Emaus. Their camp was visited by the messengers of Egyptian king. Godfrey rejected their peace offering and the war continued. Soon after that the soldiers were approaching Jerusalem and they already had a strategy on how to win it over.
The king of Damask was influenced by an evil archangel and sent his beautiful niece Armida to the French. She was supposed to seduce Godfrey and stop his soldiers. Armida told him her sad life story, that was a lie, to get his sympathy and make his army weaker.
Godfrey rejected her because he was scared that it was a trick but his brother believed her and got ten soldiers for her.
A battle occurs and Rinaldo kills the Norwegian prince. After that he has to leave the camp because otherwise he would have to take full responsibility for the murder. The soldiers that were about to leave with Armida were picked and then they get some news about the Egyptian army.
Argante suggested that every army picks a hero that will take part in a battle and that way they will decide how the war ends. Argante and Tancred battled but night arrived so the battle was ended. They arranged a new place and time where the battle will be held.
Tancred has deep feelings for Clorinda but Erminia is also in love with him. Erminia decides to dress up as Clorinda and pay the wounded Tancred a visit. She never gets to him because she gets ambushed.
Tancred goes to visit Clorinda but then he gets ambushed by Armida. He also gets some fake news about Rinaldo being dead.
The Arabs decided to attack the crusade but they managed to defend themselves. In the end even the soldiers that left with Armida return. A new attack on Jerusalem occurred. Godfrey was wounded and Rinaldo killed Clorinda because he did not recognize her.
Rinaldo is on the run and the Christian army is in crisis. The soldiers run around and everyone believes it is impossible to stop them without Rinaldo. Godfrey believes that it’s in everyone best interest if he gets Rinaldo back and when he sends his messengers to get him he finds out that Rinaldo is with Armida.
When the messengers got to Rinaldo they barely managed to convince him to go with them because Armida was doing everything to keep him by her side. When he decided to go back to the army she was furious. ARmida went to Egypt and promised herself to anyone who will kill Rinaldo.
After Rinaldo was back with the army the crusade went to invade Jerusalem. The battle between Argante and Tancred went on and Tancred killed Argante. Erminia gave her help to reveal the conspiracy against Godfrey.
At the end of the story the crusade entered the city and they won. During their victory they bowed down to the Holy Grave.
Torquato Tasso Biography
Torquato Tasso was born in Sorrento in 1544. From his earliest age his family struggled with financial difficulties.
Step by step they got used to losing their money and they problems got worse when Torquato’s father went to exile. When Torquato was 12 he lost his mother and went to Rome to live with his father.
While he was young he started working on his first epic poem “Gerusalemme” that was named “Rinaldo” when it was finished.
1560 he went to Bologna and Padua to study law and philosophy. After that, in 1565, he went to Ferrara where he worked for cardinal d’Este. He wrote poems dedicated to the sisters of Alfonso II. Four years later his father died and he went to Paris with the cardinal. He met the French poet Pierre Ronsard there.
In 1573 he wrote “Aminta” that was firstly performed in 1573, and published in 1581. In 1575 he finished “Jerusalem Delivered”, a work he started in Ferrara and that made him famous. After that he stayed in Rome where he worked on some mistakes in the epic poem that were pointed out to him by critics.
Because of the pressure and psychical problems he ended up in the hospital for a few years and there he also worked on his writing. After 7 years of hospitalization he lived with the prince of Mantova and then he finished his tragedy “Galealto” that was later on renamed to “Torrismondo’.
He went to Rome and Napoli where he worked on his poetry. Then he finished “Monte Oliveto” and “Le sette giornate del mondo creato”.
1592 he went to Rome to stay with pope Clement VIII’s nephew and he dedicated him the newer version od “Jerusalem Delivered”.
Soon he wrote more poems such as ” Stanze per le lagrime di Maria Vergine santissima e di Gies”. He stayed some time in Napoli and then in 1594 he retired to Rome. A year later he died and still he is an inspiration because of his interesting life and his controversial work.