Comparison Of Medieval Literature And Culture

1279 words - 5 pages

Comparison of Medieval Literature and Culture While studying the Medieval times it is easy to see the difference between their culture and the culture of today. The way the people acted, the way the government ran the society, and the roles of men and women were much different than what we refer to as the normal of today. This difference was shown in all of the selections read, and two main examples were ?Ballad? and in ?The Fisherman and the Jinnee?. These two writings show how justice was served in the Middle Ages. Tools such as a refrain, frame tale, and theme were used to help tie their writing into the culture they were living in so others could also understand.Within the poem ?Ballad?, the author writes of six men hanging and asks the people not to treat this situation as they usually do. The hanging men were being punished as a result of a crime they had committed in their community. These ordeals were set up as a type of entertainment for the people. Many would gather around for days watching the painful deaths or torture of men and women who had done wrong. Some would have picnics and others would stop by daily to see the aging process of the dead bodies laying around. This was not hidden from anyone, even children were allowed to watch the actions with their parents. No one would do anything with the bodies after they were killed. Therefore, their eyes and beards would be pecked out by birds and magpies. The author, Francois Villon, wrote this way because he was once in this situation, almost having to face death, however, managed to get his way out of it by a royal pardon on grounds of self-defense. He said that he wouldn?t have wanted anyone spitting on his body or ridiculing him as he died. The writings were also looked at as epitaphs, ?a verse written to be put on a tomb or to commemorate one who has died?. This was because it was the lasting impression of the men who were being killed, yet was not looking back on what wrong they had done but rather trying to have a new, more positive, view on the common situation. Villon includes realism, ?the attempt to render in art an accurate portrayal of reality?, into his writing by showing a picture of a skull. This showed how real the situations were and how easily life could be taken away. It also goes along with the talk about the sun drying the bodies and the birds leaving nothing. One other concept mentioned in the poem is about the refrain. A refrain is ?a line or group of lines repeated in a poem or song?. The refrain here is: ?But pray God that he absolves us?. This shows that the men being put to death wanted Gods forgiveness and wanted to be free from guilt. The men felt it wrong for them to be ridiculed against because those who were saying things against them have also sinned or committed a crime in their lives.Both writings put a big emphasis on justice and mercy. In ?Ballad?, this is the theme and it is prevailed because the men are going through pain within the entire poem....

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