Women in beowulf and arthurian legend essay

Finnish Folklore by Juhani U. Lehtonen offers a brief introduction to Finnish folklore. Finnish Mythology by Pirjo Joki discusses the Kalevala, rustic mythology, and shamanism. Kalevala offers the complete text of this Finnish epic in Finnish from Project Runeberg.

Women in beowulf and arthurian legend essay

The Middle Ages were an age of faith. The workings of God were recognized in everyday life, and any unusual or striking events, whether storms and comets, victories and recoveries of health were regarded as signs of his direct intervention in human affairs.

If, however, they look at the surviving remnants of Anglo-Saxon art and literature — the wall-tapestries and Old English illustrated manuscripts — they will see a complexity, an interweaving of two-dimensional characters, heavily symbolic of attributes or of stereotypical tasks, e.

These are placed on ornamented historical backgrounds, interlaced with religious both Christian and pagan symbolic creatures and paraphernalia.

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It must always be borne in mind that all forms of Anglo- Saxon culture, whether pagan or Christian, are intimate- ly related to religion; yet always the natural tendency is towards ordered conceptions with a strong sense of fit- ness and continuity ….

Similarly, the qualities of Anglo- Saxon literature point to the same gifts of ordered cere- monious arrangements and balanced types of ornamen- tation … Wrenn,pp. Despite being early medieval tales told in the late medieval period, the historical social conditions of the Feudal society provided their credibility.

It was not until the advent of the novel in the mid-eighteenth century that psychologically complex fictional characters began to be constructed and explored.

That is not to say that there were no complex characters prior to the novel. In poetry and drama, particularly Shakespeare — Hamlet, Macbeth, and even Henry V who was a heroic figure — the characters had many levels. In the Arthurian Cycle including Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the characters varied in dimension — the main characters being more highly developed, the secondary characters merely populating their landscapes.

Larger than life, Beowulf requires larger than life foes, inhuman and supernatural, to fight and conquer — easily done in youth, and fatally in old age. Beowulf, son of Edgetheow, is the very type of a hero in that it is his eagerness to seek out and meet every challenge alone and unarmed that makes him glorious in life and brings him to his tragic death.

Hrothgar and historical flashbacks would be the B story, while Hygelac and his historical flashbacks would be the C story. The atemporal nature of the flashbacks would not matter as they would link to the relevant theme in the corresponding story.

The flashbacks are allied to their appropriate reference — for example the torque given to Beowulf by Hrothgar sets off the relating of the history of the torque, and its consequential battles.

Leyerle cites many examples of this inter-lacing, concluding by demonstrating the way the narrative returns to its beginning — the funeral of Scyld opens the narrative, and that of Beowulf ends it. Both funerals entailed pagan rituals, fortunately not modified by the Christian poet, but described in detail, adding to its authenticity.

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After a hand-to-hand struggle … I had hewn off her head … with a sword of huge size. I survived that fight not without difficulty; but my doom was not yet.

But with the encroachment of age the inevitability of his death hovers over his final battle with the dragon. In true heroic form he sets out to fight the dragon alone, with the fate of his people at stake. Beowulf … shares in this doctrine of particular loyalties and of personal and social vengeance, and in the literary habit of extracting pathos from these patterns … Hieatt,p.

We can empathise with him. The notions of loyalty an essential part of the Chivalric Code and fealty are highlighted, particularly in the final battle with the dragon. Tolkien in Tuso,p. Tolkien believed that Beowulf was not a historical depiction of Geatland or Sweden.

As mentioned, the past was given to create a depth to his illusion of dark and troubled times in which Beowulf was to struggle, succeed and finally die. However, I do believe that the female characters of medieval literature, unless in the text in an allegorical form — that is representing Truth, or Holy Church as in Langland, or delivering a homily as in Pearl — are treated superficially.

But this merely reflects their status in their particular era.

Women in beowulf and arthurian legend essay

The women often become the bond themselves by marrying into another tribe, like Wealhtheow, Hildeburh, and Freawaru. It was inevitable that Christian attitudes would be attributed to the pagan hero.

To the late-medieval audience it was unthinkable and unbelievable that a hero could be lacking in compassion, could be merely a blood-thirsty warrior out for treasure and renown. As a consequence, Beowulf was credited with feelings for those in trouble, prepared to risk his life to save others.

Although the trouble belongs to Hrothgar, who is not even of his land, Beowulf pledges: Beowulf is the embodiment of a moral discipline so perfect as to seem instinctive and effortless.

His tremendous strength, both physical and spiritual, is applied to precise objectives for the good of other men: An indication of the perceived status of medieval women lies in the portrayal of the wife as a temptress — … by the wiles of woman to woe be brought. For even so Adam by one on earth was beguiled, and Solomon by several, and to Samson moreover his doom by Delilah was dealt; and David was after blinded by Bathsheba ….

Only at the end do we find that her behaviour had been directed by her husband, who placed her in a position of risk, and that she is therefore worthy of respect. Cursed be ye, Coveting, and Cowardice also! Through care for thy blow Cowardice brought me to consent to Coveting [my own life], my true kind to forsake, which free-hand and faithful word that are fitting to knights.The Role of Women in the Arthurian Material.

Uploaded by. In this essay, the depiction of women in Malory’s Morte Darthur is compared to works both predating and following it.

Lynett and Lyonesse’s roles in the “Tale of Gareth” are compared to that of Olwen in the earlier Welsh version of the Arthurian legend. Malory’s original. Modules. Explore the modules we offer to discover your options and opportunities here at the university.

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Guinevere: The Fall of the Arthurian Legend During the Victorian Age, we see a resurgence of Medievalist practices and ideas - Guinevere in Arthurian Legend introduction. Many writers and poets recreated the Arthurian Legend through a Victorian lens.

The Victorian Era was a romanticized time period with strict moral and social . Beowulf is an epic poem written back in the Anglo-Saxon time period - Women In Beowulf introduction.

While the epic poem features a significant amount of female characters such as Grendel’s Mother and Wealtheow, it is obvious that the men and their affairs are the focus of the story.

Mar 23,  · The role of women in Beowulf. This essay will introduce women and their roles in Beowulf, giving examples that clarify the centrality and prove the importance of female characters in the poem.

All future quotations are based on Swanton’s edition translated into modern English.

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