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ICARUS, SOPHIA AND THE PEGASEAN ASS

Alessandro Rebonato
Bruniana & Campanelliana
Vol. 9, No. 1 (2003), pp. 109-139
Published by: Accademia Editoriale
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24333110
Page Count: 31
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ICARUS, SOPHIA AND THE PEGASEAN ASS
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Abstract

The essay is an investigation of the Gnostic influences within the intertextual relationships between Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus and Giordano Bruno's Moral Dialogues. Shared by Bruno's frenzied hero and Marlowe's wretched magician, the key metaphor of the fall of Icarus clearly reinstates, under a cyclical mythological form, the ancient Gnostic "rhythm of conflict" which exemplified Simon Magus' heretic 'fall'. In Simon and his paramour Helena (or Sophia) there is mythically set forth the emancipation of the human spirit from the bonds of finitude and ideological constraints (both political and religious), which fundamentally completes itself everywhere under different names. This very same rationale traverses Bruno's thought and Marlowe's overreaching desire.

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