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Medieval Societies

Medieval societies during the era of Beowulf and the Arthurian Romances were undergoing transformation from pagan, illiterate societies where codes of conduct governed social relations and together with reason brought happiness. The warrior societies described in Chretien de TroyesÆ Arthurian Romances and Seamus HeaneyÆs Beowulf along with other literature of the medieval era show the ideals of reason and code of conduct as the foundation of human happiness. The character of Beowulf clearly expresses this ideal. This ethical outlook of the characters, however, also shows signs of a transformation that was occurring in European cultures as paganism became replaced by Christianity and as the ideal of the warrior society was replaced by a quest for knowledge that embraced humility and resulted in inner peace and a connection with God. The character of Perceval in the latter De TroyesÆ romances clearly expresses this quest. This analysis will compare and contrast various aspects and elements of the two warrior societies illustrated in De TroyesÆ Arthurian Romances and HeaneyÆs Beowulf. Other works from the period will also be used to demonstrate the nature of heroism, the role of women and the ethical and religious outlook of the characters.

The warrior societies described in the Arthurian Romances and Beowulf are ones that clearly define the nature of heroism and ethical and spiritual behavior. In both of these works, the central figures are guided by reason and codes of conduct as a means of heroism and happiness. Only reason and following a code of conduct that is considered the social ôidealö enables one to achieve heroic status in an ethical manner that provides spiritual or personal happiness. We see that in both Beowulf and ôErec and Enideö that we are provided with a fairly similar characterization of heroism and ethics. In each story a by-all-accounts successful knight undergoes a spiritual or moral crisis ...

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Medieval Societies. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 19:24, August 03, 2020, from