The Many Manifestations of the Satanic Hunter in Medieval English Literature

In medieval literature, the devil often appears in the guise of a hunter searching for the prey of human souls. This figure can take several forms, including that of a cunning poacher laying snares and waiting patiently for his victims, or a mounted rider leading a frenzied pack of hell-hounds to flush out his terrified quarries. These tropes had their origins in Scripture as well as in ancient European folk beliefs, and they were employed by medieval writers, including Chaucer and Henryson, to achieve a range of imaginative effects, some calculated to inspire horror, others to raise profound questions about the powers that Satan and his ministers are allowed to exercise in the world.
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The Department of English and the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies are units in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


Language and Literature (LL) 316, Arizona State University