Comparison and Contrast Medieval Characteristic - Essay Example

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Running Head: COMPARISONS OF MEDIEVAL, ANCIENT, AND CLASSICAL Monsters and mothers: Belief systems as they are impeded by the female clinging to tradition Name University Class Monsters and mothers: Belief systems as they are impeded by the female clinging to tradition One of the pervasive themes throughout the history of the epic poem is that of the madly protective mother and her deformed and monstrous child…
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Comparison and Contrast Medieval Characteristic
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Download file to see previous pages One such epic tale is found in the medieval poem Beowulf in which the hero and his man face down the creature Grendel, only to find themselves subject to the grieving mother of the monster who comes to take her revenge. Another such example of this can be found in the story of the Minotaur, written about in Heroides by Ovid. Yet another form of this is found through the character of Echidna who appears in Theogony, writing by Hesiod. The conflict of mother and son against the bonding of men and their heroism can be seen as resolved when the rise of Christianity made divine the relationship between Jesus and Mary. Until this time, the conflict of belief systems is manifested in the monstrosities that female characters give birth to and the heroics that are defined by the relationships of men. John Gartner (1971) wrote a fascinating piece of work that took the monster of Beowulf and made him seem sympathetic, giving him personified motivations and reaching into his psychology in order to explain the behavior of the monster Grendel. The book allows the reader to see the perspective of a creature who had before this time created destruction merely for the fact of it, without an understanding that the creature could have been driven to its deeds through reasons and motivations for his behavior. In the poem of Beowulf, the structure surrounds the bonding and honor of men as they approach their challenges, the monster not given purpose or motivation for his deeds. However, in looking at the work by Gartner in contrast to that of the work of Beowulf, the motivations that are missing in the original poem become glaringly apparent as the nature of Beowulf begins to appear just as randomly destructive as is that of the monster. The underlying discourse can be defined through a different set of meanings. In all of the instances of the birth of randomly destructive monsters, the mothers are manifesting the imagery of their sins, their existence perpetuating the existence of belief systems that are associated with an old framework, where the heroism of the men is symbolic of the rise of a new set of beliefs that are stronger and have a greater sense of morality than those of the old. An example of this can be seen through that of the story of the Minotaur in Herodes. The Athenian hero Theseus is responsible for the destruction of the Minotaur and this break represents the death of the power of the belief systems of Crete in favor of the belief systems that grew in favor of the Athenian models of religious belief (Fulkerson, 2005, p. 32). The creature that is the Minotaur is the product of the arrogance of the King of Minos who decided to keep a white bull that had been sent by Poseidon as a sign of approval for his sovereignty in Crete. When instead of sacrificing the bull Minos kept the animal for its great beauty, Minos was punished for his arrogance as his wife fell madly in love with the animal and mated with it, the result being the child who was half bull and half human (Fulkerson, 2005). This concept of a mutation that is part human and part animal provides context for the evolution of human development. The creature required the sacrifice of seven boys and seven girls each year, ...Download file to see next pagesRead more
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