Essays on Classic Literature

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Beowulf : A 4 page (detailed) analytical discussion of the classic English epic poem - "Beowulf." No Bibliography. Beowulf2.wps

Beowulf / An Overview : A 5 page paper about the Old English epic. The writer provides an overview of the story and then analyzes its importance to contemporary readers today. No additional sources cited. Beowulf3.wps

The Character of Hrothgar in Beowulf : A 3 page essay in which the writer analytically presents Hrothgar as the most "human" character in the epic "Beowulf." It is posited that while Hrothgar does indeed have all of the qualities necessary for greatness, he is the one character with whom we can most identify. Also examined is Hrothgar's relationship with Beowulf and the fact that while he has wisdom, Hrothgar lacks courage. No Bibliography. Hrothgar.wps

Family Ties in Beowulf : A 5 page paper analyzing the way the author of this anonymous early-medieval poem views the ties of family and kinship. The paper concludes that the poem’s author considered valor and nobility to have a genetic component, and felt that a person of noble blood bore an extra measure of responsibility for his people. Bibliography lists 1 source. Famwulf.wps

Beowulf, Sundiata, and Heroism in the Epic Tradition : A 5 page paper comparing Beowulf, the oldest work in English literature, with an African epic, Sundiata. The paper concludes that the two works define heroism differently; while Beowulf is interested primarily in promoting himself as a valiant warrior, with Sundiata the emphasis is always on his people. Bibliography lists four sources. Epictrad.wps

"Beowulf" & Joseph Conrad’s "Heart of Darkness" / Heroism : A 5 page paper comparing these two works in terms of their conceptions of heroism. The paper concludes that both authors share a sense that true heroism has a spiritual component that goes beyond fame and power. Bibliography lists 2 sources. Beodark.wps

Beowulf & Gawain / The Role of Women : A 5 page paper examining the way the anonymous authors of these two early works deal with the presence of women in their tales. The paper notes that in both cases, women function as forces of primal but somehow irrational passion that need to be "smoothed over" and subjugated by men in order for the world to function in top form. Bibliography lists 3 sources. Beogaw.wps

Kingship And Downfall In Beowulf And Lear : A 5 page paper comparing Beowulf and Shakespeare’s King Lear in terms of the protagonists’ deaths at the end of their respective works of literature. The paper observes that Beowulf’s overconfidence caused him to die precisely as he wanted -- a hero -- while Lear’s vanity caused him to die a tragic and humbled death. Bibliography lists 3 sources. Learbeo.wps

Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight : A 5 page paper that discusses the difference between the two heroes in these works. Beowulf and Gawain both represent the characteristics of heroes, but both demonstrate them in different ways. While Beowulf fights his battles to achieve fame and glory, Gawain battles the Green Knight in service to Arthur. There personal characteristics determine the outcomes of the works. Bibliography lists 3 source. Gawain.wps

Beowulf vs. Achilles : A 6 page paper comparing the characters of Beowulf and Achilles (Greek mythology for Achilles). Shows basic similarities in their actions, but very different motivations. Bibliography lists a total of four sources (including the two primary ones). Beowulf.wps

Feudalism in Sir Gawain : A 6 page paper on the fourteenth-century anonymous work Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. It points out that the social structures imposed by feudalism had a great deal to do with the development of all three branches of chivalry -- bravery, loyalty, and decorum. Examples are offered from the poem. Bibliography lists 5 sources. Gawainf.wps

Sir Gawain And The Green Knight: The Use Of A Pagan Villain As A Test Of Christian Virtue : This 10 page paper considers the issue of virtue as presented in the Old English version of the tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and considers why the poet would have used a pagan symbol (the Green Knight) to show the nature of virtue from a Christian perspective. Bibliography lists 2 sources. Sirgaw3.wps

Honor & The Test in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight : A 3 page paper on this famous medieval poem of anonymous authorship. The paper examines the question of whether Gawain passes the test set up for him by the Green Knight, and argues that he does; the point of the exercise was to test Gawain’s honor and courage, and he exhibited both. Bibliography lists 2 sources. Hontest.wps

Knight’s Tale Vs. Sir Gawain / Conflicting Obligations Of Knighthood: In 5 pages, the writer discusses conflicting and overlapping obligations of knighthood as present in Chaucer's The Knight's Tale and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Knigconf.wps

Honor In Sir Gawain, Canterbury Tales, & Henry IV : A 5 page paper comparing the views of honor and virtue in the three works: Sir Gaiwan and the Green Knight, The Canterbury Tales, and Henry IV Part 1. No additional sources cited. Greenhon.wps

Magic In "A Midsummer’s Night Dream" And "Sir Gawain And The Green Knight" : A 5 page paper discussing how magic is employed in the two works. King Oberon uses the magical potions in order to effect his own short-term gain; Sir Gawain uses his as an aid in keeping himself pure as he desires to be. No additional sources cited. Midsum4.wps

The History of the Holy Grail : A 7 page paper discussing the sources from which the theme of the Holy Grail was gathered, and how the theme has changed over time. Sources discussed include the Mabinogion, Chrétien de Troyes, Robert de Boron, the Perlesvaus, the Queste del Saint Graal, and Thomas Malory. Bibliography lists six sources. Grail.wps

Courtly Love in Medieval / Arthurian Romances : A well-organized 11 page research paper on the theme of courtly love in Medieval Literature. The writer focuses upon such authors as Andreas Capellanus, Chretien de Troyes, and others. The role of women, chivalry, etc;-- is elaborated upon using such examples as "Lancelot" and various other Arthurian romances. Bibliography lists 10 sources. Medeiva2.wps

Chretien de Troyes’ "Yvain" : A 5 page analysis of de Troyes’ tale on the subject of how pure love leads to transformation of the individual—where Yvain and other characters are representatives of both the personal soul and the community soul. Bibliography lists 1 source. YvaindeT.doc

Chretien de Troyes’ "Yvain" / Love and Marriage : A 5 page paper showing how the title character in Chretien de Troyes’ medieval romance learns to appreciate the value of love. The paper concludes that in the Middle Ages a successful man’s life was supposed to be carefully calibrated to include both love and adventure -- a public life and a private -- and Yvain erred in favoring one at the expense of the other. One source cited. Lmyvain.wps

Chretien De Troyes' "Yvain" / Relationship Between Knights and Nobles : In this 3 page essay, the writer discusses such things as the importance of nobility in Knighthood, chivalry, and the "human side" of Knights as evidenced by the character of Yvain. This is contrasted with Nobles- who were not treated as heroes in this genre of literature. Specific examples from the story are provided. Bibliography lists 3 sources. Yvain.wps

The Legends Of King Arthur / Fiction or Reality : An 8 page essay exploring the historical roots of King Arthur. Stresses that the middle age authors who passed on the stories paid little attention to historical setting and that therefore the question of the reality of King Arthur is difficult to answer. Bibliography lists five sources. Kinga.wps

Literature & Medieval Warfare : An 8 page discussion of the "Song of Roland" as an example of the logical aspects of Medieval Warfare. It is noted that while the typical knight's code of honor should not be underestimated and was of great importance, so was his quest for financial rewards. Bibliography lists 5 supporting sources. Medieval.wps

Why Did Roland Wait to Blow His Horn? : A 2 page look at the anonymous French chanson de geste, The Song of Roland. It analyzes why Roland takes such a long time to blow his horn to summon aid, and determines that it was initially pride, but then sound military strategy. Bibliography lists 1 source. Rolhorn.wps

Song Of Roland : Some say that courage is danger, difficulty, or pain without fear. It contains elements of will power and self-sacrifice. Courage will inspire men to hold their ground when every instinct calls upon them to run away. In The Song of Roland bravery and courage are the main themes. Three of the main characters reflect concepts of an archetype well known to the people of the time. This is a 5 page paper that examines the story, the characters and the plot in terms of the archetypes and their concepts of bravery. No additional sources cited. Songrola.wps

"The Song of Roland" : This 5 page report discusses the medieval poem "The Song of Roland" or Chanson de Roland and summarizes the plot, describes the poem’s characters and their roles, and briefly discusses the "ideal" behavior of a knight, as well as chivalry in the middle ages of Europe. No additional sources cited. Roland3.wps

Presentation of Kingships in Medieval Literature : A 7 page paper presenting the role taken by the medieval king in such works as Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The writer depicts the father-son relationship that existed between a king and his warriors. Bibliography lists three sources. Kingship.wps

Nobility in Medieval Literature : A 5 page paper describing the role of nobility in the Middle Ages. The writer uses Dante's Inferno as a primary source, and describes how Dante presented the noble class. Bibliography lists four sources. Inferno.wps

Teutonic Knights : A 6 page research paper that looks at the history of the Teutonic Knights, a military-religious order similar to the better known Templar or Hospitaller Orders of the middle ages. The Teutonic Knights were responsible for bringing Christianity to Eastern Europe through numerous crusades that lasted through to the fifteenth century. Bibliography lists 3 sources. Teutonic.wps

Scholasticism Of The Middle Ages : This 5 page paper looks at Scholasticism of the high Middle Ages and compares it with other religions of that era and of later time periods. The position of doubt in theology is one concept explored. Bibliography lists 5 sources Stism.wps

King Arthur’s Wife / The Legend Of Guinevere Through Time : A 10 page paper tracing the development of the legend of King Arthur’s wife Guinevere from her origins in Celtic tales, through Chretien de Troyes and Thomas Malory, to Alfred Lord Tennyson’s treatment of her in "Idylls of the King." The paper shows how the perception of a free-thinking and independent woman changed over time, providing reasons why this may have occurred. Bibliography lists7 sources. Guenevre.wps

Gilgamesh / Religion : A 5 page paper comparing and contrasting religious views of the Sumerians as evidenced by the epic of Gilgamesh with religious attitudes in our own day. Bibliography lists 2 sources. Gilgmesh.wps

Dream Interpretation in "Gilgamesh" : 5 page discussion of dreams and open dream interpretation in the epic "Gilgamesh." No Bibliography. Gilgames.wps

Gilgamesh as an Epic Hero : A 2 page essay demonstrating how the character of Gilgamesh does indeed fall under the classic and definitive explanation of a "hero" as well as how the elements of his story comprise that which genuinely defines an "epic." Bibliography lists 2 sources. Gilgame2.wps

Heroism & Violence in Gilgamesh and the Odyssey : In this 6 page essay, the writer argues that Odysseus (from "The Odyssey") and Gilgamesh (from "The Epic of Gilgamesh") were both heroes in the classic, definitive sense. It is reasoned that their violent tempers and mood swings actually had some "redeeming value."-- Excellent comparisons are made between the two characters. No Bibliography. Odysseus.wps

Death & The Afterlife In Gilgamesh And The Iliad : A 4 page paper comparing and contrasting views on immortality and the afterlife in these two ancient texts. The paper concludes that their two conceptions of the afterlife closely resemble the main alternatives of belief -- heaven versus nonexistence -- held by people in our own day. Bibliography lists two sources (the books). Gilg.wps

How Different Was a Scholar's Life From Other Medieval People : In 6 pages the author discusses the medieval scholar and compares him to other medieval people. There were many types of people that existed in medieval times, from peasant, to scholar, to nobleman. The scholar was a very dedicated person that was also called an intellectual, a historian, and a cleric in medieval times. They were the most learned of men during that time. Bibliography lists 9 sources. Medschol.wps

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