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Lukus Rattanapote-Malaney
Dec 13, 2018
In Heroes, Saints, & Lovers
Jobling's piece regarding the role of Pilate in the Corpus Christi play regarding the Cruxifiction speaks towards the changing expression of Roman leadership within the culture of that time. I found it interesting that the plays themselves change, but keeps the long speech at the begining of each episode. Historically speaking the role of Pilate in the gospels differ in consideration of who the author of the gospel. The Gospels view upon who was to blame for the death of Christ mirrors the plays themselves between the Jewish leadership and the Roman government. Pilate plays a role in these stories regarding the author's own affiliation with the factions of his day. While the Jewish leadership was prevalent within the authors time Pilate was displayed as the enemy that sentenced Christ to death with the fear of being over thrown as a leader within the community. As the Roman's role in the culture continued the blame was cast upon the Jewish leadership in order to appease the author's new place in Roman society. Jobling points this out by comparing the ways in which Pilate plays a role in the plays. In The Conspiracy we see a reflection of the Roman's role in the crucifiction by emphasizing the accusation of treason, Judas' staying out of the plan, and the Roman's own admittance to not meddling with the religious leaders of the day. This displays a role that the Roman's would focus upon treason, but also wish to appease their subjects. Christ Before Pilate 1 displaying Pilate's questioning of the Jewish leadership about knowledge of the law illustrates a one eighty departure from the previous play. Pilate's questioning is a direct accusation of the Jewish leaderships right to lead as not only spiritual authority but in the ability to fully understand their own place in God's plan. This kind of accusation is also seen in the display of Judas showing remorse for his actions which mirrors the coming to knowledge of the decisions the Jewish leaders "should" feel for their own part in the death. Christ Before Pilate 2 emphasizes that the Romans had been tricked into action by a lie that was told to them in Christ's role as a leader of a rebellion against them. This projects the Romans' as only acting when they thought that Christ played a role in distrupting societies balance. It would be interesting to juxtapose a side by side analysis regarding the Gospel and the play in which Pilate would center as a character of interest. The Roman connection to the author, if known, would help to illustrate the impact in which both authorities had over the writing themselves. Also a deeper understanding of the Middle Ages view upon both Jewish and Roman roles within their own lives would show why the plays were written the way they were.
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Lukus Rattanapote-Malaney
Dec 10, 2018
In Heroes, Saints, & Lovers
Horobin's article indicates that Bokenham's work presents a life that all young men and women were to aspire unto in regards to morality. However, it would seem that one aspect of this kind of prompting is gender specific within the Saints lives: sexual agency. As seen in the Saints lives the women are depicted, the majority of them, as beautiful women that are constantly battling against the oncoming sexual advances of kings, merchants, and sons of officials. This represents a common theme within the sexual agency that a women in medieval stories were inferred to have in accordance to cultural normative acceptance. This type of discrimination would project, as seen in Margaret, Dorthy, Anne, and Agatha these women have to struggle not from within a sexual desire, but from without. These stories are displaying a type casting of women needing protection from the sexuality of others because they do not have the agency to safeguard their own sexuality. The extent of the torture that these Saints encounter emphasizes this point by the torture itself being a sexual attack based upon taking away the feminine physical attributes, thus alleviating the women of sexuality at all. The men within the stories, however, are portrayed in two lights: one they are paganistic and do not attempt to suppress the sexual drives, two: having to advert companionship with women because they are a temptation that draws them away from God's plan. This places the blame of all sexual indiscretions on women (or the paganistic belief system that is constantly feminized in literature) alone whom, as discussed above hold no agency. So what are we to make concerning Horobin's claim of these stories being for the edification or example of moralistic lifestyle of both Men and Women? I would tend towards these stories being a picture of an archaic belief of a woman's role within sexuality. That is to say that it projects the blame upon women for not having or holding an agency that is not allowed to them in the first place.
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Lukus Rattanapote-Malaney
Dec 10, 2018
In Heroes, Saints, & Lovers
The significant amount of times in which Kempe had been accused of Lollardism by her peers and Church officials seems to indicate that they at least would view her as outside the normative practices of the day. For a person in Kempe's position (wife, catholic, mystic) she had enacted in many roles that were outside the acceptable view. A significant position clarification was made in chapter 52 of The Book of Margery Kempe that may lead the reader to infer Kempe's own adherence to Catholic sentiments and pull her away from the accusations of Lollardism. In this chapter Kempe argues with an Archbishop on the validity of her position in engaging with the public in a role of spreading God's word. The Archbishop attempts to make Kempe swear " that you shall neither teach nor challenge the people in my diocese." This oath that the Archbishop wishes Kempe to make creates a problematic situation for readers since Kempe has not expressed anything of what she has taught specifically. Kempe is said to have spoken OF the gospels on her pilgrimage, has spoken to many Church officials regarding the secrets that God has given her, and has discussed her visions. The actual teaching of the Bible/theology/dogma has not occurred during this point in the book. However Kempe is quick to deny the oath that the Archbishop is requesting but her explanation does not include teaching at all instead: "I will speak OF God and reprove those who swear great oaths, wheresoever I go, ...". The significance of this statement is that Kempe is not being chastised because of her audacity to teach, but that she is making officials uncomfortable with her stance upon oaths spoken by men. Speaking to the Archbishop this would cut to the quick of his own office in which he had to take an oath unto God. Kempe is seen throughout the text reprimanding those whom are in a position of divine power and do not live up to the position given to them. The Church officials that are reproved by Kempe have not lived up to the standard in which God has demanded of his representatives. Hornbeck in his book regarding the markings of a Lollard would indicate that such a challenge would be the sign of a Lollard. The Lollard would hold a skeptical view upon the individuals in power give by the church, they would hold them accountable to live a standard of life dictated by God. If they did not live up to that standard then they lose all power and rights to that position. Kempe does not make the accusation of the Archbishop not living up to this standard, but her refusal to give an oath and specification upon oath giving in general would dictate the focus she is pursuing.
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Lukus Rattanapote-Malaney
Sep 03, 2018
In Heroes, Saints, & Lovers
Reading the secondary piece by Fisher and then reading Lais from Marie de France brought a certain amount of clarity to the nuances behind the primary reading in which I sought out instances in which gender and culture differed from what I had previously encountered. Themes within these writings stand out within the context of the characters regarding the autonomy of female characters, Lineage preference, and portraying the male characters with a loss of control. The autonomy of female characters within these readings stand out in that they are involved in the process of matrimonial pre-cursers, in so much as many of them create the plans for action, instigate relations, and/or (at times) abide by oath's better than their male counterparts. For instance in Guigemar it is the female that instigates the manner in which their love will be bound by creating a knot that only she can untie. This would indicate that the lady takes charge of the relationship and sets the standards for which it will pursued. Guigemar is then bound by the love that his lady has set forth, always searching for the one whom can untie the knot. Fisher's piece that speaks towards the Gender roles of the time would indicate that these writings attempt to flip upon their heads the ideology of the woman being the one awaiting upon the knight to free her from a bound of love they have made by his consent. This type of power of the woman is also seen in Le Fresne in which it is Frense that controls emotional ties of the relationship, keeps herself in check, and abides by the standards of the time towards what is acceptable within a relationship. However, Frense is portrayed as an individual in charge of her own emotions, which runs counter to some writings in which women are portrayed within, what was deemed, "hysteria". It is the male protagonist that demonstrates less control over their life position and their ability to choose in matters of love. The Lineage question presents in these stories as a question of wether the relationship between the two protagonist could be valid due to their difference in birth place. Again with Guigemar there is a foreign man that falls in love, is dependent upon, a woman from another country. Instead of focusing upon how the woman is lesser because of where she is from it is Guigemar that must fight his own loyalty to uphold the lineage and wether or not he can cope with this difference. In Equitan the wife is striving to better her position, not only in love but, in power. We see that it is the woman whom makes the plans, takes action, and climb the social ladder. Her plan meets in disaster only when the King, whom is overtaken by emotions to the point of causing havoc, succumbs to his baser feelings and is caught. Even before this happens she sets the standard by which the relationship would be in saying "Love is not worthy if it is not equal." ; this is something that most female representatives would begin to say much less even be thought to be written that they even had these thoughts. This hit as pertaining to what Fisher wrote about Doxa in which Marie would write her characters that go against what was regarded as normal within their own lineage and gender. Fisher also pointed toward the a gendered discourse to discuss what the society terms in normalcy within her literature. The men in these stories are repeatedly portrayed with a lack of control of their emotional states which lead them to, at times, betray the very essence of what they at once thought was important. Issues such as how an oath is fulfilled by the knights is challenged by their lack of ability to control their emotional states. What is pointed out is the helplessness that these men encounter that is paralleled to the action that the women take is a reversal to what was commonly instituted or accepted. Guigmar's inability to control his own fate or emotions, the King in Equitan bumbling around with thoughts of love and having to equalize it by command, Gurun being limited by his station to love, In Bisclarvet it centers around a man that has no control at all, and Lanval having to abide by his lady's rules of engagement. These stories run a common theme of a reversal of power where the man is left to his baser emotions and the woman has control in some way. Fishers piece illustrates the idea that Marie sought to portray the difficulty of assimilation but also used the literature to draw commentary of gender relations and power struggles within each community. The women in Lais portray a number of "male" traits as regarded within the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and does well in instituting the power of the female characters as reasoned individuals. The characters do not portray a stoic or "non-natural" state within the stories but are believable because they have depth and nuances that are not present in other female characters of this time period.
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Lukus Rattanapote-Malaney
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