Changes in Literature Through Time

Topics: Geoffrey Chaucer, Poetry, The Canterbury Tales Pages: 7 (2334 words) Published: December 13, 2012
Changes in Literature through Time.

Literature is said to be the mirror of the society. The theme and style of writing have changed due to important historical, religious and political events that took place and lined every piece of writing in every period. So it is important to analyze and compare these periods to see the different changes. The novel "Beowulf", from the Anglo-Saxon period, started the British tradition. "Beowulf" introduced many of the standard themes and conventions used in adventure stories ever since. Then, “The Canterbury Tales” give great insight into the fourteenth century’s reflections of social change, religious controversies, and gender expectations. During the renaissance William Shakespeare introduced many new terms and ideas to British literature. He expanded the dramatic potential of characterisation, plot, language, and genre. And He also focused on creating “human” characters with psychologically complexity clearly showed in “Hamlet”. These three periods have markedly influenced literature. In this research paper the conexion between the novels or tales and the corresponded period are going to be expanded and also the diferences among “Beowulf”, “The Canterbury Tales” and “Hamlet” 2.1 THE EPIC “BEOWULF” AND THE ANGLO-SAXON PERIOD

“Beowulf” is considered by most experts to be the most important piece of existing Anglo-Saxon literature, because the poem is the oldest English manuscript and gives insight into the Germanic way of life. This poem deals directly with tradition and mortality. It is structured around battles and funerals and the traditions associated with these events. Certain characteristics as the way of living : in tribal groups valuing richness, power and heroic warriors; the language that Anglo-Saxon used: old English and the belief of the people: pagan and christianity are clearly showed in “Beowulf”. The hero “Beowulf” reflect the ideals of the society. And he also performs brave acts and appears superhuman. The world that “Beowulf” depicts and the heroic code of honor that defines much of the story is a relic of pre–Anglo-Saxon culture. This story which is set in Scandinavia, before the migration strengthens the Heroic Code. This code was derived from the Anglo-Saxons’ Germanic roots, and called for strength, courage, and loyalty in warriors. It also required kings to be hospitable, generous, and have great political skills which is seen in the hall of the king. This code was a basis for Anglo-Saxon honor. Although the epic is the oral tradition and therefore it is probably quite unlike the “Beowulf” with which the first Anglo-Saxon audiences were familiar, is clearly seen that the poem follows the Anglo-Saxon culture not only for the code of honor but also for the religion and the language that the unknown writer used. “I resolved, when I set out on the sea, sat down in the sea-boat with my band of men, that I should altogether fulfill the will of your people or else fall in slaughter, fast in the foe's grasp. I shall achieve a deed of manly courage or else have lived to see in this mead-hall my ending day” (Beowulf, 13) When Beowulf speaks these words, he shows his great courage, and displays the proper attitude of the Anglo-Saxon warrior. Death for a warrior is honorable, and courage must be shown through deeds, even if it means death. A hero must be willing to die to achieve glory. He must display courage in the face of overwhelming or impossible odds, and he must have the strength to back his courage. 2.2 “THE CANTERBURY TALES” AND THE MEDIEVAL PERIOD.

 The characters, introduced in the Prologue of the book, tell tales of extreme relevance. It began as a listing of people on a pilgrimage to Canterbury, and then continued with each person telling a tale or story along the way. He details each person’s occupation, personality, and clothing with historical accuracy and societal perspective. Chaucer was born...
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