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Medival and Ancient Literature

In: English and Literature

Submitted By gomezm41
Words 906
Pages 4
Monique M. Gomez
Professor Dr. Heather Lusty
English 231 Sections 1003, 1004
November 20, 2013
Formal Essay Assignment Throughout the years there have been different interpretations on medieval and ancient literature. Ancient Greek literature has seemed to stem from involving many stories about the interventions of the gods and the consequences they have on man. While medieval literature is consumed by religious writings that involve a romantic hero that faces a quest of chivalry and conquers an evil villain. Medieval literature also branches from knights behaving in a certain code of ethics that involve taking oaths and being loyal to their kings and individuals while in combat. While viewing medieval and ancient literature I perceived a couple interesting aspects that are influential with modern society. Honor and leadership are seen today not only from men, but also women. Also, fidelity and women have been The oldest poem in English language literature Beowulf is one of the most symbolic forms of medieval literature to be created. The poem depicts several emotions and characteristics that are still used today in modern society. While Beowulf is still on a conquest to help the good of his family heritage, he faces a dilemma with leadership and honor. He is constantly proving himself throughout the poem to be seen as a superior dominant figure for his people and at the same time, wants to be respected and seen in a heroic light. Although this poem depicts a glimpse of the past, the vast majority of men in modern day society, want to be seen or at least want to take on this role similar to Beowulf. In today’s society, men will go to great lengths to prove themselves worthy of retaining their masculine identity. Whether it is a physical contact with a bigger individual then them, or an intellectual debate, the modern day man has to prove themselves a worthy opponent to other men. They feel a necessity to protect what’s theirs, and will go to the limit to defend, if another individual comes in their way. “When it comes to fighting, I count myself as dangerous any day as Grendel…He has no idea of the art of war, or shield or sword-play, although he does possess a wild strength” (Beowulf, 127). Although the concept of honor and nobility are depicted thru medieval and ancient literature, sensation and passion are also key factors that are involved; mostly with fidelity among women, as well as betrayal. The story of Lanval unfolds as a dramatic piece of literature that tells a tale of a man that was mistreated by his king. Although he rises to the occasion and perseveres because of his angelic lover, he still denies the queens seductive ways, and yet the tale ends up with him showing a sense of loyalty towards his love, as well as the king. “She was upset and angry because he had insulted her” (Lanval, 303). This tale in my opinion would view women in two different lights, a good and bad. The queen Guinevere is seen as a jealous and dominant figure, while his mistress, a woman with milky white skin and angelic face is the rescuer of him at the end of the tale. They both seem to show the abundant and malevolent side of what a woman can be. As for modern society, women are still sometimes viewed in two different lights. There are career minded women that seeks out their goals and strive for the limit without endless possibilities, with or without a man. As well, there are homemaking women that are very nurturing for the youth of their children and do not mind being family orientated and fulfilling a patriarchal society with a man that they feel will protect their household. Although in today’s society there is no bad quality of these two different extremes, medieval literature seems to have a different depiction on these two qualities in women. Fortunately medieval literature customs have changed between men and women, therefore making us more genuine and aware of the effect we have on people of the opposite sex. “Brother, let us go back to our kingdoms and our cities, never to marry a woman again. As for myself, I shall show you what I will do” (From The Thousand and One Nights, 561). As this tale was written in the fourteenth century and viewed all over the world in films, opera, fashion or in theaters, it still represents similar traits that still occurs in modern day society. The story starts off with Shahzaman; a man whose wife slept with a kitchen boy, as the tale unfolds Shahzaman executes his wife and her lover and seeks out for a journey to his brother Shahrayar’s palace, only to find his brother in the same predicament. As the two brother’s journey is revealed, the oldest decides that he has lost trust in all women and claim that they are unfaithful. Since he was not able control his wife, he fears that others will view him unstable to control the country that rests in his hands. In today’s society in the Middle East, reoccurrences similar to this story or more gruesome still happen in that region. Although this story is solely based on social influence and a patriarchal society, women of the Middle East are now standing up for their equal rights as a citizen as well as struggling towards political resistance.

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