“Travel, Religion, and Encounters.”
This blog post is focused on three themes; “Travel, Religion, and Encounters.” After reading few writings from different time frames, and english traditions, such as; Beowulf, Canterbury Tales, Classic of Poetry, and Tang Poetry. I would like to focus on Beowulf and Canterbury Tales, specifically on the theme Encounter, moreover on heroes and heroism, how it is similar, and different from each other.
Beowulf is an old english written and it is considered the oldest european writing and the post popular one, said to be 1000 years old, also called Anglo -Saxon. While Canterbury Tales has been written in Middle English out of the three periods, Old English, Middle English, and New English. It was the first time that poetry was included in these types of writing, which led him to be compared with Homer, stating as English Homer.
Beowulf is all about a great warrior that travels to another land to help them fight with a monster named Grendel. Help can be seen in different ways, because in the story the author mentions that Beowulf’s father had a favour from the king of Denmark, who was called King Hrothgar. So that can be one reason, that Beowulf decided to go help their Kingdom, or other reasons can be relating to his character and personality. Taking in consideration, previous readings, and heroes in it, such as Gilgamesh, the help could be based on greediness and show off their power and strength. Not always help it is meant to be an act of kindness, sometimes it is just done to show their own kingdom and neighborhood countries how powerful they are, so they better stay away from him. In thi8s case, this is what it looks like. It can also be defined that, he just wanted to be great, and considered really helpful, and be remembered from everyone, which can lead him to fight the monster, because either way he would have been considered to be sacrificing his life for other in need in this case the kingdom of the king Hrothgar. If the story was flipped, and grendel had killed him, he would have been considered great and selfless hero, who lost his life in order to return his dad’s favor, which also puts him into a place that he was really good son. In contrast to Canterbury Tales, in which the Knight is totally opposite of Beowulf, in character and personality. Knight is a really modest man, who believes in god and goes to church regularly, and asks forgiveness for killing people in war, while on the other hand, Beowulf, is totally proud for killing the enemies, and it is aggressive and doesn’t really believe in gods. Knight fights in religious wars, for god, while Beowulf fights to kill, which defines their opposite characters, and morals, with similar deeds. Both writings, show different roles of women, such as in Beowulf, women it is not really mentioned and included, or took in consideration, yes, I am talking about king Hrothgar’s wife, who shows to be supportive but also feared from the situation. While on the other side, the wife of Bath, who has a powerful background with five previous marriages, and desires for Art of love. She was considered attractive, clever and smart, by her appearance as she had a gap in her teeth, which build these assumptions and stereotypes. She confronts his opinion and gives the Knight a chance asking him to find out what does women desire! If he would return in a year with the answer he would have set free, otherwise he would be punished and killed.