In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the Pearl Poet surreptitiously conceals Lady Bercelak’s vital role; her illustrious beauty, seductiveness, and deceiving nature make Lady Bercelak the most powerful character in this Arthurian legend. When Sir Gawain meets Lady Bercelak for the first time, the recognition of her beauty is prominent. There are multiple women in all of society that have attractive features, but Lady Bercelak’s beauty is one that cannot be perfectly defined. Sir Gawain explains that she “excels the queen herself” (2.945). Transcending the beauty of Queen Guinevere is unheard of which makes Lady Bercelak already a curious character.
Throughout history, women have been looked upon as sources of beauty. From medieval times, the women that are remembered and well-documented in poetry and story-telling are presumably all one thing: beautiful. A woman’s beauty does not simply represent their physical beauty, but the knowledge, power, personality, and even hardships that woman has endured. Strong, significant women from this time and prior periods have entire works of literature dedicated to their beauty and appearance. Goddesses, such as Aphrodite or Venus, the Virgin Mary, Nature; these women are central figures in the beginning of the Anno Domini era, through medieval literature, all the way to present day.
Juliet Capulet from Shakespeare’s play ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and Tess Derbyfield from Thomas Hardy’s novel ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ are prime examples of tragic heroines. They symbolise her constant spirit and determination and are typical products of their authors and also the times and societies in which they were created. The presentation of the heroine begins in biblical times with notorious characters such as Eve and the Virgin Mary. These early female characters started the development of our literary heroines. Throughout Classical, M... ... middle of paper ... ...pose intended… (Angel Clare and the Montagues and Capulets) When Tess was published it received mixed criticism- challenged many accepted Victorian assumptions about society, sexual morality, and religion.
Role of Women in Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene Edmund Spenser in his epic romance, The Faerie Queene, invents and depicts a wide array of female figures. Some of these women, such as Una and Caelia, are generally shown as faithful, virtuous and overall lovely creatures. Other feminine characters, such as Errour, Pride, and Duessa are false, lecherous and evil. This might seem to be the end of Spenser's categorization of women; that they are either good or bad. Yet upon closer examination one finds that Spenser seems to be struggling to portray women more honestly, to depict the "complex reality of woman" (Berger, 92).
In the epic poem of “Beowulf,” Grendel’s mother is portrayed as a strong, evil-fighting woman. Yet, with the superiority of men, women are also looked down upon and withheld from several rights of passages and freedoms. In Puritan times, women were regarded as only being useful for their domestic abilities and child-bearing capabilities. As time moves forward, several outstanding women have worked to gain their own rights and fight for equality with men. A crucial part of each women’s rights movement is the first-hand perspective from a female poet or author.
Women in Beowulf and Arthurian Legend A common theme in the stories we have read is that glory, happiness, and success come in cycles (this theme is commonly represented as "the wheel of fortune"). This theme is present in the Arthurian tales, as well as in Beowulf. Each story tells a tale (or part of a tale) of a rise to glory, and the proceeding fall to disarray. The men always were the kings and warriors, but the women played different roles in the different stories. The women of Beowulf were used to bind up peace (or were peaceful women), whereas the women of Arthurian legend tended to disturb the peace and cause strife.
Morgan leFay is the ultimate conniving, manipulating, woman. While the three women in this legend have a much more active role than in earlier texts, this role is not a positive one; they are not individuals but are symbols of how men of this time perceive women as passive tokens, adulteresses, and manipulators. Guinevere from the very beginning of the legend is portrayed as a passive, typical lady of the court. In stanza four, the author describes Guinevere almost as a trophy or ornament of the court: "Queen Guinevere very gaily was gathered among them/....The prettiest lady that one may describe/She gleamed there with eyes of grey/To have seen one fairer to the sight/That no one could truly say" (74-84). Guinevere does not take an active role in the court.
In tales like “Odyssey”, “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” and “The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Baths Tale”, women play an important role that contribute to many events of the story. The women’s role in these tales use the actions of their feminine psyche to persuade men to do things that they, of the time, supposedly would not usually do. The characters of these women greatly enhance important elements. Women in these tales were generally valued, but vastly for their sex appeal and or beauty. I will discuss the comparison of Lady Bertilak, Guinevere, Penelope, Clytemenestra, Calypsos and other women’s character and roles in these tales.
Hundreds of centuries before the fourteenth century, during it and yet still after, civilization, led by the educated theologians, politicians and whoever else made up the ruling class, women were looked at as the Devil’s ally – a sensual and deceitful creature who was a constant bearer of sin and the cause of most of man’s misfortune. Women then and now may look upon most of these “devilish” characteristics as desirable, strong-willed and feministic. Chaucer appears to support women and specifically these devilish feminists by creating two very strong-willed and successful women in the Wife of Bath and the old hag in the Wife’s tale. However, through all of the tough outer attributes, on the inside are the same classic and traditional damsels in distress that require a man just like the women of that time always had. Through the original strong qualities of the two women, Chaucer provides a hopeful example and model for women of now and then.
. he accepts uneasily the medieval view of women as either better or worse than men, but never quite the same." (Green 3) This is evident in Chaucer's portrayal of women in such poems as "The Wife of Bath" and "The Clerk's Tale" which assault the reader with antithetical views of women. The Wife of Bath is one of the most memorable characters Chaucer ever created. She is considered, in view of Diamond's statement, to be better than the men in her life.