This paper investigates the works in medieval literature. It examines the historical significance of this literature as well as its distinguishing components. According to the paper, this type of literature originates from the period encompassing the collapse of the western Section of the Roman Empire. In order to understand this literature fully, the paper suggests that it’s examined from both the religious and secular perspective. Furthermore, this literature is more similar to the contemporary form of literature and should be approached as such. Indeed, it’s clearly a complex field that touches on both the sacred and profane points of the traditional human history.
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The Medieval Literary Tradition
The medieval literature has an obvious aspect of anonymity. A look at the “The Song of Roland” tells all about this feature of the medieval literature. This has been attributed to the fact that official documents from that period have been too hard to find. More importantly is the fact that medieval authors had tremendous respect for classical writers to the extent that they did not want to take credit for works that were not originally theirs. In this respect, they preserved the fact that their interpretation of the original works of the authors was considerably different from their own clandestine interpretation of the contemporary society. However, due to their conservative behavior and the profound respect that this meant to them they chose never to include any names at all to take credit for these literary works. (Moncrieff, 2011)
The religious tone that appears in these works is quite very characteristic of the medieval literature. According to the piece of work in “The Song of Roland”, the writer keeps making references to religion. For instance, in the section I of this literature, the author talks of “Marsile its King, who feared not God's name”. This implies that to a very large extent the author of this literature believes in a superhuman who should be respected by all humans. Indeed, according to him the subject he is describing should be considered an outcast because he does fear the supernatural human in the form of God. Furthermore, his constant mention of the prominent figure in the history of religion shows how much he wishes to incorporate religion into his works. For example, he makes reference to “High festival will hold for Saint Michael”. It actually becomes clear that he recognizes the practice of sainthood. (Kline, 2003) Moreover, the secular aspect of medieval literature is very clear in these works. This typically has to do with love, passion and romance of the time. According to the history of the medieval literature, the subject of love became so significant at this moment in history that majority of the women folk used that opportunity to gain social prominence. For instance, in section III of “The Song of Roll” the author shows no meanness in his attempt to show the important place that the woman has in the society. This comes out in the stanza that reads “Send him our sons, the first-born of our wives”. The appearance of this point at a moment when the kingdom is supposed to show loyalty to a rival kingdom that has subdued the kingdom shows the reality that the children in the society belong to the women. This is typical of secular references that are often made in medieval literature. In addition, when the author goes ahead to talk about the society losing their respect by allowing their first born sons to be killed as they watch exposes the secular aspect of this literature. According to the author, they would rather their sons are taken to a far away land rather than being maimed as they watch. Ideally, this literature largely exposes just how much the concerned society had respect for family values. (Moncrieff, 2011)
The use of allegory in medieval literature to convey moral lesions clearly comes out in this piece of work. These include a situation where the author has an intended abstract of ideas, qualities and institutions that he wishes the audience to grasp. According to the medieval history, this feature was common from as early as the time of production of the “Battle of Souls” and “Romance of Rose”. Therefore, it is no surprise that it appears in this piece of writing. For instance, from the point of not finding it easy to let the sins of the community be killed as the community watches technically shows that they are a people who are never ready to give up. And even if they have to do it, they prefer to do it with dignity. That is why the author stresses that allowing this to happen will take away their personal and community dignity. Besides, the fact that the community elders and the king turns to the wise men when things get thick on his side shows the value of wisdom. This is a silent lesion to the society especially the young people that no matter how great someone is in the society they cannot wish away the value of wisdom. (Kline, 2003)
The section of the medieval literature chosen for this analytical paper perfectly befits the definition of a typical medieval literature. The fact that it incorporates both the religious and secular aspect of the concerned culture clearly puts in the radar of literary excellence. Furthermore, the intelligent use of the allegory as well as anonymity in this piece of work shows his mastery of this type of literature. Essentially, the features of medieval literature as contained in “The Song of Roland” would suffice any study of medieval literature. (Roland, 1959)
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