POET_ESSAY - In order to analyze a poet based on his works...

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In order to analyze a poet based on his works during the medieval ages, one must understand that government, manor of town and life and the role of the church greatly influenced most aspects of society. While the poets of Beowulf , The Inferno and The Canterbury Tales all lived during differing time periods—they served as entertainers and philosophers, while at the same time, gave knowledge of the history, religion, culture, and political views of their time period. One major conflicting aspect between these three poems, is that the authors used differing languages in writing (or speaking) them. While the author of Beowulf , as well as the exact time it was written (roughly between the 8th and 11th century), is unknown—it is an Old English epic poem of Anglo-Saxon literature. The Inferno and The Canterbury Tales , however, were published during the renaissance (14 th century) and a rise in the use of the “vernacular” (common people’s language used for literature). Due to this cultural movement, The Inferno was written in Italian, while The Canterbury Tales was written in Middle English. The literature, specifically in The Inferno , containing local languages often contained evidence of the legends and history of the places wherein they were written—providing its people with some form of national identity. While the unknown author of Beowulf lived centuries before the renaissance, his epic poem displayed aspects of a society that was affiliated with legendary and heroic tradition. It is clear to see that “recognition and acknowledgement of the past is not only an investment of society but also a reflection of the heroic traditions upon which the entire society is based” (Lawson). One example where recognition of the past translates into societal virtues is when Hrogthar expresses his wisdom of the true values of heroism. Hrogthar explains to Beowulf how the evil king of legend, King
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Heremod, "grew bloodthirsty, giving no more rings / to honor the Danes…and learn / from this and understand true value" (ll. 1719-1725). By this, Hrogthar (or perhaps the author) insinuates that despite the material possessions, bravery and heroic qualities one may have, that hero must refrain from becoming too greedy or proud. We again see Beowulf’s extent of bravery even when he may doubt his own success when he battles his third and final adversary. This inquisition of the perfect hero can be interpreted as a significant aspect of society at that time. That is, that while everyone
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This note was uploaded on 04/30/2008 for the course ENG 110 taught by Professor Millar during the Spring '08 term at Marist.

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POET_ESSAY - In order to analyze a poet based on his works...

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