Medieval test paper assignment
Select one from each pair and write a 250- to 300-word response for each selected topic
(about one page each in times new roman 12cpi, double spaced); use quotes from the selected works to support your position.
Beowulf was written in Anglo Saxon vernacular, meaning that the language was used the way the people used it every day. How can this use of the vernacular reveal insights into the values held by the society depicted in the work? Identify and use specific values as examples.
What is the purpose of the tangential stories within Beowulf? How can they reveal the values of the society as examples? Use specific examples.
From Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain
How can Monmouth’s history of Troia Nova be compared to Camelot? How can Brutus be seen as a champion uniting the descendants of Troy as Arthur does later for his people?
According to Monmouth’s “history,” what is Merlin’s role in the destiny of Britain? How good or bad would the Pendragon kings be without Merlin’s assistance?
From Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
What is Gawain’s attitude when he returns to the court of King Arthur? What is the court’s attitude? What is the Green Knight’s attitude? Whose response should we see as the more appropriate, Gawain’s or that of the Green Knight and/or Arthur’s court?
Who initially accepts the Green Knight’s challenge? Why does he accept? Who intervenes?
Why does he intervene?
From Le Morte D’Arthur
In “The Poisoned Apple,” King Arthur asks Guinevere, “What aileth you . . . that ye cannot keep
Sir Lancelot upon your side.” Is it possible that Malory is using dramatic irony in that the audience knows of the affair between Lancelot and Guinevere but the king does not or could he be suggesting that Arthur knows about the affair and is perhaps needling his wife? How can the utterance be understood in either case?
In “The Day of Destiny,” Mordred decides he wants the crown and the queen, using falsified letters to make it happen. The Archbishop of Canterbury finally protests by cursing Mordred with “bell, book, and candle,” to which Mordred replies, “Fie on you? Do your worst!” How severe is this curse and why does Mordred seem so unaffected by it? References: you should use at least 5 references
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