A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE EPIC, “BEOWULF,” AND CHAUCER’S “THE PARDONER’S TALE”
This paper tackles how literary history allows us a glimpse into the past, specifically from two classic literary pieces, Beowulf and The Pardoner’s Tale. Both tales show how past historical events and tensions are written to show how historical literature can provide insight into the traditions and societal conventions of the time in which they were written.
Beowulf is known to be one of the earliest surviving works of English literature. The story has been passed down from generation to generation for so long that no one really knows the author to the great piece anymore. It circles around the first century when the environment surrounding society at that time, was savage and very uncontrollable. This is represented by Grendel, the monster in the story, who appears to be representative of how the greed for power was sought for using violence in that period. The monster had come into Heorot every night to attack the land, in an attempt to overthrow Hrothgar. Beowulf, the hero, was representative of what the people had aspired to be – brave, skillful, and strong – which seems ample at a time when there was a struggle between the people and their environment. Beowulf exemplified all those, able to execute the role of a hero and the duty to overcome the uncontrollable forces. So the struggle that existed in fighting for the hall of Heorot, was also representative of how the author shows their concept of the struggle between good and evil. The monster, Grendel can also be seen as a threat that was beyond human realm. This thought was also dominant during a time when Paganism was the belief that ruled the land. So after reading Beowulf, one can understand a little of the beliefs and practices that the early anglo-saxon period had.
Now George Chaucer’s “The Pardoner’s Tale,” was written during a time when religious tension was quite evident. The tale firstly focuses around three...
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