Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
This dissertation examines how Juvenal, in his Twelfth Satire, critiques greed. Caused by human stupidity, a principle theme of the Fourth Book of Satires, greed destroys society by corrupting core values of friendship and religion, and by consuming those characters that Juvenal characterizes negatively throughout the poem. Emphasis is placed on interpreting Juvenal's attitude to and the relationships between the characters of the poem. The mocking portrayal of the narrator's "friend" Catullus, a merchant, characterizes him as being consumed by the same materialism which drives legacy-hunters, the targets of the diatribe at the end of the poem. Greed, as exhibited by Catullus and the captatores, spreads vice throughout society by attacking friendship, kinship, religion, and the fundamental values of the state.
I argue that Juvenal discusses the corruption of his contemporary society as a concrete illustration of the universal human stupidity outlined in Satire Ten, thus providing a more cohesive reading of Book Four as a whole. I also analyse Juvenal's command of intertext and allusion, through the examination of the poet's play on the poetic storm as a literary motif of the epic genre (Chapter 3), and also by comparing and contrasting the treatment of legacy-hunting in Satire Twelve and in Horace's Satire 2.5 (Chapter 4). These philological discussions elucidate the poem's various points, complementing the line by line, section by section textual analysis (Chapter 2). Specifically, my literary analysis contributes to our understanding of how Juvenal contextualized himself in his own genre, in Latin literature, and in his own society.
Gough, Spencer John, "Morality and Materialism: A Literary Analysis of Juvenal's Twelfth Satire" (2008). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 5295.
McMaster University Library