Free Essay

Medieval Age

In: English and Literature

Submitted By karishma105
Words 2688
Pages 11
Table of Contents

1. Abstract 1

2. Introduction 2

3. Literature Review 3

3. Hypotheses and assumptions on the movie: 5

4. Christianity in the medieval age 6

5.1. Aslan, the Lion parallel to Jesus Christ 6

5.2. The Table of Stone. 7

6. The seven deadly sins 8

6.1. Gluttony – sin by Edmund 9

7. Knighthood 10

7.1. The battle and the coronation 11

8. Conclusion 12

9. List of References 13

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to analyze the medieval influences and aspects in the movie The Chronicles of Narnia; The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. The movie emphasizes important elements of the Middle age. It is about the four Pevensie children, Peter, Suzy, Edmund and Lucy who entered the magic land of Narnia and with the help of Aslan, the Lion, fought the Wicked White Witch Judas. Thus they gave freedom to the other animals and restored peace and harmony in Cair Paravel and Narnia. The film captures brilliantly these moments and transmits them to the public. One of the main focuses of the film was the religious belief ‘Christianity’. The movie responds to the quasi- spiritual Christian beliefs and truths of good versus bad, highlighting the defeat of the Witch and her death. Secondly, it shows how the younger brother Edmund fell in the trap of the White Witch due to his “gluttony” of the Turkish delights and betrayed his brother and sisters. Last but not the least; the movie stresses another important aspect of medieval age “knighthood”. Peter fought with the Witch and the latter’s army, overcoming his fears and was crowned as the King of Narnia, The Magnificent.

Introduction

The term “Medieval” comes from the Latin meaning “middle age.” The dominant religious, political and cultural force at that time was the Christian church. It laid emphasis on human values and morality based on the Testament and Biblical scriptures.

The movie “The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is an adaptation of C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe popular book. It is a 2005 epic fantasy film by Disney and Walden Media, directed by Andrew Adamson and produced by Mark Johnson.

Nobody would have thought could ever be so beautifully pictured on the big screen and would gain so much fame and appreciation. Though this family based movie bears a slight change in the scenario, it has received many international accolades for its marvelous work and simple way of transmitting the teaching of good versus bad. It runs for approximately 150 minutes.

The movie portrays some of the medieval influences such as Christian beliefs and rules, knighthood, elements of the seven deadly sins (gluttony, greed, anger), elements of the heavenly virtues (forgiveness, kindness, humility), and so on.

3. Literature Review

The movie is made on the primary basis of entertaining the family people and to create awareness of middle age cultures and beliefs among adults and children mainly. However, Polly Toynbee strongly rejects the movie and adds in her article in the Guardian Unlimited posted on December 5th 2005 “Narnia represents everything that is most hateful about religion.”

Further, Toynbee says “In Britain children are likely to miss the Christian point and remain “utterly clueless” about any message that can go beyond the good-and-evil battle, and very few of them may actually see Jesus in the lion’s character.” She even brought up the Tolkien rejection of Lewis fantasy writing. Philip Pullman called Narnia “one of the most ugly, poisonous things” (par. 15).

Another film critic from the Guardian Unlimited, Peter Bradshaw, in his review of the movie reveals his commendable appraisal to the adaptation. He said: “Although Adamson drew on some of the experiences of Peter Jackson’s trilogy, his own story is handled perfectly with a set of wonderful actors who make the movie more playful, real and lighthearted.”

Stephen Hunter from Washington Post wrote in his review “A Winter Wonderland” that he finds the movie as a well-told, inspiring and entertaining version of the book for both children and adults.

Beatrice Gormley, a C. S. Lewis scholar and author of C. S. Lewis: The Man behind Narnia conveyed her ideas on the movie adaptation in an article “A Little Child Shall Lead Them” she also conceded the harbor of the main personalities in the film and she was satisfied with what she saw.

Producer Mark Johnson says, C.S. Lewis was obviously a Christian, as well as a Christian writer, and states, “If you want to find all kinds of Christian symbolism in it, it’s certainly there.”

Finally, Ted Baehr, the founder and publisher of Movie guide, Chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission, as well as anoted critic, educator, lecturer, and media pundit in a review, ChristianCinema.com Inc Baehr shares some of his views on the movie adaptation of the Lewis’s book. In many aspects he agrees with the scholars and critics. “The production quality is much greater than the sum of its part,” (par. 14) he says, suggesting that both CGI and live action characters deserves high praise. Although some of the elements have been either deleted or added in the movie adaptation, for Baehr it still has a deep theological base.

Hypotheses and assumptions on the movie:

A. Parallelism with Christian beliefs and truths are entailed in the film.

The only religion recognized in Middle Ages was Christianity which was based on the scriptures that related the life of the Christ and his disciples.

B. Gluttony, one aspect of the seven deadly sins is highlighted in the movie.

Medieval period emphasizes a lot on spirituality. However, the seven deadly sins caused hindrance in the path towards salvation. Gluttony, in other words, addiction, being one of such sins is considered as unforgivable as it isolates oneself from God.

C. Elements of knighthood are also included in the film.

Knighthood during the medieval times was not inherited purely but rather was acquired by following various steps including years of training. A knight need be brave and fearless in any battle but should also display cultured knightly qualities showing them to be devout, loyal, courteous and generous.

Christianity in the medieval age

Religion, Christianity was one of the essential influences of that particular period of time. It had a major role throughout that age in society and politics. It significantly had a great influence on the lives of common people. They believed that everything existed for the glory of Christ. Lewis was clearly influenced by his Christian beliefs when he wrote this story, though it can also be read as a simple tale of human growth. The stories of the Passion of Christ and the Resurrection of Christ are reflected in the character of the lion Aslan, who is the son of the deified Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea. The movie follows the lead and show the medieval influence in it.

5.1. Aslan, the Lion parallel to Jesus Christ

Aslan is the great lion and true king of the country. He is a literary Jesus figure. The movie brings to life the characteristics associated with lions in medieval bestiaries, thus adapting these characteristics to become key aspects of Aslan’s character and to explore in new ways how a lion can represent Christ-like and regal characteristics. He pardons Edmund for his betrayal and deceit and saves him from the punishment of the Witch Judas. He even asks the brother and sisters of the latter to forgive him due to his severity, fairness, and love. He treats everybody as they deserve, not withstanding his harsh word if they deserve it. Aslan’s love, forgiveness, compassion and sacrifice are brilliantly comparable to Jesus’ love for us. Aslan willingly accepts to sacrifice himself in the place of Edmund. He is killed and later resurrected just like Jesus after he was crucified.

This is parallel to the same way that death could not hold Jesus down, because he had done nothing to deserve death. The Resurrection was a sign that the Father looked upon Christ's sacrifice as acceptable, for if he had remained in the grave, this would mean that death had a hold on him for something he had done. But he indeed rose, and lives today, providing salvation for those who would call upon his name. For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Romans 10:13).

5.2. The Table of Stone.

To satisfy the requirements of the ‘Deep Magic’ for Edmund’s sin. Aslan, who sacrificed himself, was killed on the stone table. A strong symbolism to Jesus, who was pierced, crushed, spit upon and killed for the transgressions by mankind on the cross of cavalry. “… Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5.6

The Stone Table is a symbol of atonement for sin, analogous to the Cross. Its cracking is parallel to the stone being rolled away from Jesus Christ's grave. Jesus, the sinless one, died for us who had sinned against him. “…when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would break and Death itself would start working backwards” from The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe.

His death on the Cross, where he took all our sins on himself, was what allowed us to go free and to not suffer eternal death. Similar did Aslan, who gave his life not only to save Edmund but everyone.

6. The seven deadly sins

Medieval times were conceived mainly on religious terms and lives were ruled by the divine authority. Hence, the seven deadly sins were considered as an inflexible category of medieval dogma and transgression leads to severe punishment.

The seven deadly sins are those offenses which are lethal to spiritual uplifting.

They are as follows:

a. Pride – extreme trust in one’s abilities that hinders with one’s recognition of the grace of God.

b. Envy – the desire for someone else traits, status, abilities or situation.

c. Gluttony – an excessive desire to consume more than the required amount.

d. Lust – an inordinate hankering for bodily pleasures.

e. Anger – also known as ‘wrath’, the manifestation of fury when one reject love.

f. Greed – longing for materialistic things, neglecting the realm of spiritual realization.

g. Sloth – shunning from physical or spiritual activities.

6.1. Gluttony – sin by Edmund

Edmund’s first and foremost sin was to surrender himself to the lure of gluttony; ‘the Turkish delights’ which in fact were enchanted by the witch. The young boy forgot everything and tried to shovel as much Turkish delights as possible. This led him to ignore the real intention of the witch and revealed everything on his siblings.

In fact, it is the symbolism of the sin made by Adam and Eve of eating the apple from the Tree of Knowledge. “Gluttony turned Adam out of paradise gluttony it was that drew down the deluge of the time of Noah” (10)

The Turkish delights are symbolism for the sins of the flesh (gluttony). It is actually not a vice in itself but rather turn devastating when the sinner gets entangled in them and is unable to distinguish between good and bad. This causes him to fall deep in the pitfall, thus distancing him from the path of truth, righteousness and morality.

This leads to Edmund’s betrayal to his brother and sisters in a temptation of earthly desires of having more delights and the position of princehood. Thus one sin leads to all the remaining ones among the deadly seven sins.

7. Knighthood

Knighthood was one of the honorable titles given to a deserved person in the middle ages. However, to become a knight required years of training and practice. Since a knight comes from a noble background, he was supposed to show nobility in character towards women and maidens. The duty was to fight and serve their liege Lord according to the code of chivalry.

The movie highlights the path how the four Pevensie led to the magic world of Narnia, following the captures of Tumnus and later the younger brother Edmund by the white witch and later confronts her in a battle guided by Aslan, the Lion.

It paves the way to show how Peter listened to his youngest sister Lucy and decided to prove the prophecy right and break the curse over the other animals and the land of Narnia. He overcame his fears and led the battle against the witch.

The film shows traits of chivalry, bravery and valour in Peter. It also highlights the courage and prowess of the latter, featuring the medieval influences of knighthood on Peter Pevensie.

7.1. The battle and the coronation

Peter Pevensie, the elder among the four children was crowned the Magnificent King of Narnia. Though Peter was initially unwilling and reluctant to believe the prophecy and stay in Narnia, he finally decided to stay.

Having, received a sword as gift from Father Christmas, and after the first battle against the wolf, whereby Peter attacks the wolf and sinks the sword in its heart, aslan makes him knight. From that particular moment Peter started training and overcame his fears while gaining more confidence in himself. Later Peter bravely fought with the white witch and her army and won the battle with the help of Aslan who killed the Witch.

Lastly, Aslan crowned Peter Pevensie as the King of Narnia, giving him the title of the Magnificent. Thus he gave the responsibility of all the animals and the land of Narnia to the four Pevensie children, as Peter the head.

Peter Pevensie battle’s and coronation are aspects of knighthood that featured in the medieval age. Hence, even the children in the movie are the elements of the medieval influences.

8. Conclusion

On a conclusive note, I would like to say that Andrew Adamson has succeed to a great extent in doing justice in passing the message of C.S. Lewis original version of The Chronicles Of Narnia; The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe book. The movie updates the medieval influences in the book and has beautifully shown the essential. The film brilliantly highlights the major themes of the medieval period such as; Christianity, knighthood and the seven deadly sins.

The entire crew and cast of the movie are worthy of applause and appraisal for this marvelous job done. In fact, I would pat the back of Disney and Walden Media and the director Andrew Adamson for putting so much effort to intelligently grasp the zeal of the medieval period and adopting it from the book to project it on the big screen.

Finally, I would like to say that any child would like this film and would understand the symbolism of good versus bad in it, which will definitely mark his life and surely projects good impression and shape a better life with truth and morality.

9. List of References

1. Atonement: the significance of the stone table by Leia Kalnaja

http://www.angelfire.com/scifi/leia1/Narnia/atonement.html

2. Christianity and Religious Freedom in the Medieval Period (476 – 1453 CE) by David Little

http://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/rfp/essays/christianity-and-religious-freedom-in-the-medieval-period-476-1453-ce

3. Christianity in the Middle Ages by Simon Newman -

http://www.thefinertimes.com/Middle-Ages/christianity-in-the-middle-ages.html#sthash.yworrHiG.dpuf

4. Gluttony by Jacqueline Moore

https://medievalchristianityd.wikispaces.com/Gluttony

5. Medieval knights by Linda Alchin

http://www.medieval-life-and-times.info/medieval-knights/

6. Medieval Knights and Warfare by David Ross

http://www.britainexpress.com/History/Knights_and_Fights.htm

7. Mythology and Moral in C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by Catarina Persson

lup.lub.lu.se/record/1326721/file/1326722.pdf‎

8. The bible and animals by Dr. Peter Hammond

http://www.thebibleandanimals.org/index.php/articles-catlist/6-through-the-wardrobe

9. The lion, the witch and the wardrobe: reflections of its meaning by Michael Gleghom

http://www.probe.org/site/c.fdKEIMNsEoG/b.4217927/k.C070/The_Lion_the_Witch_and_the_Wardrobe_Reflections_on_Its_Meaning.htm

10. The seven deadly sins by Ed Friedlander, M.D.

http://www.pathguy.com/seven_sins.htm

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