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  1. Pity for the Damned. In the epic poem The Inferno by Dante Alighieri, Dante experiences pity for the damned souls in hell, which defies the Christian Churchs concept of frowning upon those in purgatory. Canto XIII of The Inferno exemplifies Dante

    Upon entering the forest Dante questions his surroundings, an expected response of him. The entrance to the woods illustrates the pull between the imagined and experienced, and more importantly, what is written and left unsaid. Virgil tells Dante, '"Look well-you will see things that, in my telling, would seem to strip my words of truth.'/Lamentations I heard on every side but I saw no one who might be crying out so that, confused, I stopped" (Dante 239) Dante's bewilderment personifies the strangeness of the seventh circle of hell and his feeling towards suicides: confused, nervous, and wary.

    • Word count: 1735
  2. The Knight's Tale and the Miller's Tale. There is no more reason for Arcites death than for Alisons triumph, both are just random events. Discuss.

    Derek Pearsall discusses the effect of the 'juxtaposition of unrelated detail, a suggestion of incongruity which enhances the illusion of random recall and also creates in us a natural desire to look for the missing link which will rationalise the discontinuity.'1 The narrator's choice in, for example, describing the Knight entirely in terms of his past achievements, the Prioress in terms of her table manners and the Guildsmen barely at all, demonstrates this. The 'juxtaposition of unrelated detail' is also characteristic of Chaucer, particularly in the Tales.

    • Word count: 2003
  3. Virtue and the 'endless figure' in the works of the Pearl-poet. The Pearl-poets works reveal a preoccupation with the fate of the individual: Jonah in Patience, the Dreamer in Pearl and Gawain in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and their moral conditio

    This circular or endless movement is embodied in the poet's two most important symbols: the pentangle 'the endeles knot' (Gawain, 630) and the pearl 'the endelez rounde' (Pearl, 738). Both of these represent completeness, perfection and virtue, and are bound up in the wider symbolic functions of the works as a whole. The pentangle, for instance, is the most obvious example of the poet's numerical fascination, and especially his focus on the number five. The fivefold virtues of the pentangle (and Gawain's embodiment of them)

    • Word count: 2506
  4. Dantes Divine Comedy. Discuss what you consider to be the most important allegorical features of the journey of Ulysses in the Inferno, and give your interpretation of their meaning.

    To be considered first is Dante's dual relationship to the Divine Comedy. He is both the pilgrim experiencing the journey, and the poet who creates the reality to which he narrates the experience of the pilgrim. This narration is from a salvific retrospection on the journey of the pilgrim, where the poet has already, in a metaphorical sense, lived the story and highlights the pilgrim's human flaws and weaknesses. This gives a dichotomy of Dante so as it were the na�ve pilgrim and the matured poet.

    • Word count: 2774
  5. Chaucers presentation of Troilus and Criseydes love reflects the insurmountable influences of the conventional social ideologies in a patriarchy. Although the poem has a pre-Christian setting, many argue that Chaucer draws a message of Christian mo

    Chaucer recreates Boccaccio's Il Filostrato, 3 transforming it from a simple poem of love and war in which love stands firm into a tragedy. Thus, the backdrop of the Trojan War from Il Filostrato becomes a causal factor which, coupled with other influences, such as Boethian philosophy and Ovidian conceits of courtly love, symbolise how history, culture and society shape individual destinies and, ultimately, act as a destructive force on Troilus and Criseyde's love.4 Contradictory strands of courtly service are linked through Chaucer's representation of Troilus, who initially symbolises the idealised courtly love tradition;5 Pandarus, representing Ovid's attitude6; and Criseyde,

    • Word count: 3323
  6. The main characters in Le Roman de la Rose and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight are capable of finding an identity that suits them; the different paths that each characters takescourtly love and chivalrywere the highest ideals in medieval times

    "the source of all worth, a model for human relations" (Companion 86), as well as an antisocial one, "bringing folly and isolation to the lover" (Companion 86). The character's oneiric quest starts at a "time when Love claims his tribute from young men" (Lorris 3); this is a young man that is finally leaving the world of childhood symbolized by the time of year when his dream takes place: spring, a season commonly related to birth and renewal, to love and joy.

    • Word count: 3939
  7. Free essay

    Commentary on lines 305-338 of Sir Orfeo. While at first glance the details in the medieval romance Sir Orfeo, the ballad "King Orfeo," and the Scottish poem King Orphius seem to be just a group of similar themes gained from classical and Celtic tradition

    as his wife Heurodis, Heurodis recognises him also but not as he used to be, one of riches but one of a "messais" which anguishes her. The other ladies then make her ride away from Orfeo; Orfeo is so distressed that she did not speak to him that he asks himself why death won't come sooner for him. He then goes and follows the ladies. The style of this passage is the use of narrative, describing what Orfeo sees and does.

    • Word count: 1551
  8. 'It is clear...that Chaucer used the couple relationship as a kind of open field on which a number of battles might be fought

    However, the sequence seems to require absolutely that the Miller speak after the Knight, who opens the series, not only because he physically forces himself forward to speak next but also because the couple relationship which we perceive to be so prevalent throughout is immensely enhanced by the juxtaposition of these tales: Like the Knight's Tale which precedes it, the Miller's Tale is a story of the competition between men in love with the same woman--but with a difference. (Hallissey, 1995, p.

    • Word count: 2815
  9. Discuss Homer's portrayal of women in the Odyssey. How might the language and style of the poem show the patriarchal perspective of Homer's society?

    In fact, Eurymachos describes her as one who surpasses all women for beauty, stature and for her well-balanced mind. Her beauty makes her desirable among the suitors who want her as their wife. Even without knowing her intellect and virtues, men from different places and backgrounds are already attracted by her beauty alone. This love-at-first-sight shows that in their society, the rich generally consider the outward beauty and status of a person as more important factors than the inner beauty of her heart.

    • Word count: 1947
  10. Two Different Heroes

    For Beowulf, heroic accomplishments are a way of proving himself in the eyes of others, and the reason for his bravery is the fame that he achieves. This is also seen when Unferth accuses Beowulf of vanity because of a competition with Breca, and then tells Beowulf that he will not succeed in his battle with Grendel. Beowulf rebukes Unferth, and tells the story of his swimming competition with Breca. Beowulf lives to accomplish heroic deeds, such as killing nine sea-monsters by hand.

  11. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - The audience, the Pentangle and the Green Sash

    'Sir Gawain' was written in local dialect and its language ...'contains many harsh-sounding words of Norse origin...' (Stone, 1974 p 10). Partly because of the characteristics of the dialectic text, it has been placed as having been written in the north-west midlands, probably Shropshire. The poet also shows knowledge of a particular region around North Wales (Lines 697 - 701).'Sir Gawain' also belongs to the genre of alliterative verse, which was enjoying a revival in the north of England, albeit in a more relaxed form of the Old English style.

    • Word count: 2032
  12. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

    Not one knight rises to this challenge until, through shame Arthur stands to accept the opposition. This, I believe, was done purposely to elucidate the idea that Arthur was the leader of these men, he was the most courageous and noble among them, but their collective and individual courage was not as great as their reputation held it to be. It was the mockery of their reputation that sparked within Arthur the drive to withstand the challenge, not courage. Shortly after Arthur counters the Green Knight's challenge, Sir Gawain intervenes and proclaims that it is not proper for Arthur to be the Knight's opposition, so he volunteers to take King Arthur's place.

    • Word count: 1960
  13. The Threat of Seclusion in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

    Gawain must always strengthen his image and reputation, because without it he is as described above, weak and worthless-at least in his own eyes. There is a lot of this contrasting imagery of strength and weakness, with regard to Gawain, throughout the play. His armor, horse and shield are described as being splendors of gold, gems, and beauty, not function. It is almost as if they are just for show and not for protection. His armor is outwardly described as being "new-furbished" and "bedecked all with gold"; it "glittered and glowed".

    • Word count: 1502
  14. Beowulf: The Trojan Horse of Christianity.

    Then, a couple of lines afterwards, I believe the poet removes himself from the role of "narrator" and takes on the role of "Christian" when he warns, "[...] Oh, cursed is he / who in time of trouble has Trujillo 2 to thrust his soul / in the fire's embrace, forfeiting help; / he has nowhere to turn. But blessed is he / who after death can approach the Lord / and find friendship in the Father's embrace" (183-188). Another noticeable passage is found soon after Beowulf's final boast, before fighting Grendel.

    • Word count: 1592
  15. The fame shame warrior ethic was extremely important to ancient civilizations. It was how a man was supposed to act in order to become a hero and appreciated in the society.

    "I do not consider myself to be a fighter inferior either in strength or in experience to Grendel himself; so I shall not kill him with the sword. Although I could do it in that way, that is not how I propose to rid him of his life. He knows nothing of the art of cutting and thrusting, although his exploits are bold enough. Tonight we will do without weapons, if he really dares to risk a combat without them.

    • Word count: 1279
  16. In this excerpt from the story, Beowulf tells the people that he is not afraid of this fiend and that he will conquer Grendel at all costs.

    By speaking all of this the people begin to trust in him and believe that he could really be their hero and end their problems. Basically, Beowulf takes on the hero role and begins to show hero qualities to the people thorough this speech, which he gives. "The sounds changed, the Danes started in new terror, cowering in their beds as the terrible screams of the Almighty's enemy sang in the darkness, the horrible shrieks of pain and defeat, the tears torn out of Grendel's taut throat, hell's captive caught in the arms of him who of all the men on earth was the strongest."

    • Word count: 727
  17. Cultural clashes in Gawain and the Green Knight.

    They therefore understand the social precedents accompanying the Green Knight's fur trimmed hood, embroidered saddle and gold jewellery. Though he is 'scholes' and 'hade he no helme ne hawbergh nau�er' (160, 203), the costliness of his apparel, as well as the ceremonial dress of his horse and the confident formality of his speech, place him firmly within the courtly tradition. At the same time, his most striking feature is wholly alien to them and is left unexplained by the narrator: his greenness.

    • Word count: 1756
  18. History of Culture Supersedes Material Riches.

    Throughout the poem there is discussion on what makes a good king. Beowulf strives to learn the intricacies of being a great king so when it is his time he will be as successful at ruling as he was as a warrior. As the poem develops, Beowulf goes from being a great warrior, to being a good king. There is a learning curve that goes with being a king, and like present day leaders many times a leader or king can not be labeled great until well after they are dead and people can retrospectively look to determine how choices made affected the culture.

    • Word count: 1095
  19. Beowulf - critical review

    This quote from the poem is referring to when Beowulf fought Grendel in Herot, and he holds Grendel in what seems like a "bear" hug, which supports Beowulf being the Great White Bear of the North. When Beowulf travels to Grendel's home at the bottom of the lake he acts in a very Anglo-Saxon way. After killing Grendel and his mother, he decapitated Grendel and brought his head as a souvenir to Herot. This action is very contradictory to Christian ways, but would be a normal act for an Anglo-Saxon warrior in war.

    • Word count: 1516
  20. Compare the heroic status of Beowulf and Daredevil.

    (Lines 194-196). His battle with nine sea monsters while swimming for seven days in the sea solidified his strength. The enormity of his strength could not be measured until he swam to the bottom of the bubbling lake to fight Grendel's mother in the battle hall. Daredevil, a New York lawyer fights the criminals that he could not bring to justice by legal means in the courts. His blindness only increases his desire to wipe out evildoers. Daredevil and Beowulf believe they can take on a single villain or an entire army by themselves without the help of others.

    • Word count: 1253
  21. 'That doom abided, / but in time it would come' (Beowulf, lines 83-4) Discuss the theme of fate / destiny in these texts.

    It is also interesting to note here that the poem is book ended by funerals, death being the inevitable conclusion of fate, and also with prophecy, particularly effective for a contemporary audience knowledgeable of the outcomes of such prognostications. However, it is in the episode of Beowulf's fight against the dragon that we see the most signposted manifestation of fate: He was sad at heart, Unsettled yet ready, sensing his death. His fate hovered near, unknowable but certain (2419-2421) From the offset, we are told that Beowulf will die in this final battle, with the effect of altering our perception

    • Word count: 1169
  22. Discuss the ways in which the Gawain-poet develops the contrasts between the 'inner' and 'outer'.

    His reputation exceeds himself. She does not believe he is gawain. Gawain, bound to chivalry, is torn between his knightly edicts, his courtly obligations, and his mortal thoughts of self-preservation Lady Berolik exterior shows that she wants |Gawain but this exterior is false as she is tricking him and leading him tio temptasion I s our exterior what we are really like inside? Green knight outside appearance supernatural because of morgan le fay but inside he is human Berkolik is not who he seems -Techniques Phsically inside and outside -themes Why did the author spend so much space in what seems to be just action scenes?

    • Word count: 852
  23. Sir Gawain and The Green Knight is a poem of heroism, chivalry, brave knights and romance.

    The description of the animals characteristics made the story much more appealing and enjoyable to read. During the three days of the hunts Bercilak goes after three distinct animals the deer, boar, and the fox. The deer was thought to be honorable, but elusive, ready to flee before fighting. The boar was thought also to be elusive, but prone to face his attacker and strike back. The fox has the reputation for being cunning and duplicity. Here we can draw a parallel and see the symbolism between the hunted animals and the temptations of Gawain in the castle.

    • Word count: 1113
  24. The Morals of a Knight, An Essay on "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight".

    This conflict becomes very evident when Gawain is given three tests by Bertilak (the Green Knight). Bertilak gives these tests to Gawain in accordance with him staying: Within a moat, on a mound, bright amid boughs Of many a tree great of girth that grew by the water - A castle as comely as a knight could own, On grounds fair and green, in a goodly park. (ll. 765-769) At this castle, Morgan le Fay (the host's lady) tries to tempt Gawain with her "bosom all but bare" (ll.

    • Word count: 910
  25. Virtues of Heroism.

    He was spawned in that slime, conceived by a pair of those monsters born of Cain" (pg26). Heorot symbolizes civilization. It is the center of community life, where happiness and freedom are celebrated. It is also the site of the king's throne, and a place of safety. The destruction of Heorot is not just an attack against the Danes, but also an attack against the fiber of civilization itself. This tension represents the duality between civilization and social disorder. Although Grendel's mother shares the same destructive personality as her son, she demonstrates a minute spark of human emotion in her desire to avenge her son's death.

    • Word count: 1317

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