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nicsjmarquez
Dec 15, 2018
In Heroes, Saints, & Lovers
During Mary Leech's Why Dame Ragnell Had to Die she talks about how Dame Ragnell usurps Gawain's authority over her and the importance in the death of Ragnell. Dame Ragnell enters the piece as a hideous creature of both looks and manners, and is notable in that she is the only loathly lady to receive a name. Gawain in this tale is the perfect knight as he acts appropriately in every sense of the manner and for lack of a better term consistently does the right thing. The most important point of interest in this is that when Gawain chooses to make the just actions and the loathly lady is transformed into a beautiful woman she still holds the power in their relationship and in a way holds Gawain hostage. Gawain would rather stay with his beautiful wife than go questing in the name of his king essentially showing him as more of a house cat than a knight. This is uncharacteristic of Gawain as he is often portrayed as quite the knight doing all the knightly deeds including the wooing of maidens and since he is in a position where he will not go on adventures he cannot uphold his sense of honor and chivalry as a knight of the round table. Gawain being taken hostage by his affection for his wife is why she must die in order to restore the balance of power between man and woman. As the piece says this is a fine example of the flaws portrayed in the masculine culture of the time(228).
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nicsjmarquez
Dec 15, 2018
In Heroes, Saints, & Lovers
While reading this piece by Lee Jobling I was quite intrigued with this focus of Pilate as a human interacting with extraordinary circumstances. Described in one instance as an evil man who meets his just end, and in another as he was right in his actions and decisions resulting in Christs death. The piece goes over the acts of Pilate throughout the during the Passion sequence of the York Mystery Plays and it is quite hard to get a grasp on just what this character is doing as he stays inconsistent in his actions. He claims Jesus must be crucified but when it comes down to it blames those who put Christ on the cross claiming it is they who have condemned Christ. Pilate is adamant in his ways of saying that there must be sufficient evidence in this trial against Christ and he tries to remain sympathetic to Jesus' plight. Furthermore Pilate shows the possibility of being saved by Christ himself when he summons the large men to hold banners and they all bow before Christ and Pilate himself stands for Christ. Pilate also shows fear of Christ which is interesting as many fear Pilate such as the guards he leaves at Jesus' tomb. At the end of the piece it describes Pilate as just a man dealing with out of the ordinary circumstances, and he acted as though any man would to save himself above all others. When going over the article again the actions of Pilate make a lot more sense as this is exactly what a man who is trying to protect himself would do, putting the blame on others and doing what he believes will keep him out of the most trouble. In the end I sympathized with Pilate because what is a man of his position supposed to do when presented with a situation like this as he is walking on thin ice and the way things turn out could end horribly for himself.
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nicsjmarquez
Dec 15, 2018
In Heroes, Saints, & Lovers
During Knepper's A Bad Girl Will Love You to Death she describes two maidens who are considered bad girls. The first is the maiden of Ascolot who receives little to no actual recognition until she dies. Knepper claims her father has more identity than she does, that her only identity is only constituted by her relationship to her father and her desire for Lancelot(230). She tries to play the game of courtly love by making everyone think there is something between herself and Lancelot. This does not work in her favor as she gives Lancelot a favor to wear in the tournament so at the very least the audience will think there is something between her and the knight. Then she asks Lancelot to leave his armor behind as another courtly gesture of his affection for her, he does this so he can make ulterior moves of his own but all she wishes for is his attention. Eventually the maiden of Ascolot cannot take this lack of affection anymore and dies where she finally receives some sort of recognition. The second bad girl is the sorceress Hellawes, who wishes to keep Lancelot in her possession even in his death. When Lancelot runs into Hellawes he is given a couple of trials in order to prove his faith and is told the punishment for failing these trials will be his death though what he is told to do for the trials is quite the opposite. For example he is told to put down his sword, and yet he refuses and when he does so he is told he has passed his trial. His next trial he is told to give Hellawes a kiss and yet again Lancelot refuses to do so, and it turns out she was offering Lancelot the kiss of death, and since he refused to meet her lips she dies within a fortnight(236). While the piece claims that by harboring the affection of these two maidens Lancelot is proven to be an object of love and desire. I believe it is in Lancelot's rejection of these maidens that he truly proves his knightly value to his love Guinevere. He is given the opportunity multiple times to fall prey to lechery and yet he denies both maidens willing to give their entire lives for him to remain faithful. Though he is called an object of love and desire I believe this to be a classic case of you want what you cannot have and I believe had it been Lancelot trying to woo these girls it would not have gone so well.
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nicsjmarquez
Dec 14, 2018
In Heroes, Saints, & Lovers
In Christopher Dean's Sir Gawain in the Alliterative Morte Arthure he goes into detail of the knightly and chivalrous identity of Sir Gawain. Comparing & contrasting Gawain to king Arthur the reader learns that where Arthur is weak Gawain is strong and vice versa. Both are strong leaders but in different aspects Arthur is strong in leadership in the sense of diplomacy as he seeks counsel before declaring war. Whereas Gawain is a strong leader in the sense of action and combat this can be seen when he charges towards the Romans leading his men to victory, and again when he assumes command over Florente's forces and once again wins in combat. This contrast of knight and king is quite apparent in the piece and it makes sense that Arthur is the stronger leader as a king should be regal and have a certain type of finesse when leading. Whereas Gawain, while an heir apparent is no regal leader, and has no sense of duty to be leading in this manner but as a knight he should be able to inspire Arthur's forces especially in battle. Dean puts it quite nicely when he says "Both Arthur and Gawain are acting worthily according to their different lights, and both are upholding principles highly valued by medieval society" Gawain consistently proves his knightly worth to his king by winning battle after battle all the while feeling that he is protected by the lord in doing so. Ultimately Gawain meets his demise to Mordred further reinforcing the fact that there is a hierarchy to be followed since he cannot be the one to take down Mordred and that it must be Arthur to fell the usurper. In his death Gawain receives further honor from both Arthur and Mordred. Arthur claims that without Gawain he would have no success(124) and Mordred, having killed Gawain himself, calls him a knight of many good deeds and gives Gawain quite the eulogy. This emphasis on Gawain's knightly deeds throughout the piece I feel is quite important as it gives Gawain a standing position as a knight and nothing more. Gawain being related to Arthur would give him right to rule should Arthur fall. Gawain even has the qualities of a strong leader about himself, but ultimately Gawain dies and it his value as a knight that is constantly mentioned. He has a destiny of knighthood he cannot escape but I think it fitting of him as all of his aspirations are that of someone who follows the code of chivalry.
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nicsjmarquez
Dec 14, 2018
In Heroes, Saints, & Lovers
Prior to reading Jessie Weston and the Green Knight I had no idea that great Gawain was not as famous and well read about as he is today. I always thought all the Arthurian tales were popular as who doesn't love a good story about a chivalrous knight. Daniel Nastali goes into detail about the literary history of Gawain's rise to becoming a scholarly piece of literature. While claiming not much is known about the pieces popularity during the 14th century, Nastali mentions that the poems are pretty much ignored until Frederic Madden got a hold of and published them in 1839(45). The poem was then pretty much reprinted in 1864 by the Early English Text Society(EETS) but was still overlooked by scholars. In 1882 the piece sees the light of day again as its published in a children's story in Charles Henry Hanson's Stories in the Days of King Arthur. Though it did not gain the same amount of popularity as other children's stories during the time. In 1890's the poem began to ascend in popularity among scholars with Alfred Cope Garrett calling the poem "the last and greatest" English romances.(46) It is at the end of the 19th century that Nastali claims that it is Jessie Weston's work with the poem that truly brings about the poems literary significance. According to Nastali, Weston is held responsible for revealing and introducing many Arthurian stories to the wider scope of audiences they have today. In 1898 Weston published Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: A Middle-English Arthurian Romance Retold in Modern Prose. (47) the first of a series providing translations for Arthurian tales not mentioned in Malory's Morte D'Arthur'. Weston's version of Gawain did quite well being reprinted multiple times finally achieving a place in popular culture. After this moment several more versions of Gawain were written, but most importantly in 1912 Weston released an anthology including the poem making it readily available to academia. So while I recognize Weston's contributions to Sir Gawain becoming a staple in academic reading and joining the realm of pop culture, I don't think this piece is aptly named as it gives more detail into Gawain's literary history than it goes into specifics about Weston's work on the piece. Also as I said before I had no idea Gawain was so unheard of prior to his ascent into pop culture, but I also learned so much about his journey into becoming a highly regarded reading and all the people who have worked with this journey as well.
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nicsjmarquez
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