Heroic epic of the Middle Ages

The epic of the mature Middle Ages is a heroic knightly epic. Compared with the early Middle Ages, a change in the consciousness of the characters occurs. Heroes are notable knights. Gradual democratization of the heroes (for example, Sid, this is due to the reconquest). An important place in the epic is the image of a seyneral-vassal relationship.

Early medieval epic is filled with pagan notions. During the mature Middle Ages, Christianity penetrates the minds of people – therefore, Christian motifs also arise in works. So, it is possible to note the tearful gift of Roland or Carl (they are all crying with the whole army); this is because Roland is the vassal of the Lord.

In the epic of the early Middle Ages, history is closely intertwined with a fairy tale. In the mature Middle Ages in the foreground – a historical basis, there is a reality of geographical and historical context.

Genre differences: for the early Wed, I have a short epic song; for the

mature – a great epic poem with a complex composition, numerous characters.

The ways of depicting the person in literature are also changing: if in the days of the early Cr-I the heroes were characterized by psychological underdevelopment, the emphasis was placed on the situation in the work, then in the mature SR the initials are depicted much deeper. Roland, Siegfried, Sid – they are all folk heroes, but very different. Roland is violent in courage, Sid is practical, Siegfried looks like a fairy-tale knight – that is, individualization of heroes and a great elaboration of characters in terms of tragic guilt are noticeable. True, this motif (guilt) in the “Song of the Side” is reduced.

More about the tragic fault. “Song of Roland”: the tragic wine of Roland – in that he did not blow the horn to call Karl when he saw the army of Marsilius. R. is to blame for the death of the French rear guard, because he did not want to blow the horn in time. But in the end, Roland repents, and his repentance is enormous. With the figure of Roland associated a lot of hyperbole.

In order to atone for his guilt, Roland trumpeted Oliphan three times with such force that his temples burst. In this episode, the author conveys the internal state of Roland through external details. The death of Roland is symbolic. The logic of medieval thinking is not based on imitation of reality, but reflects the symbols of reality. Death comes to Roland not because of external circumstances (there are no wounds on it), but because of inner necessity (purification of the soul through repentance and death).

Here is the same, but with clever words – from the encyclopedia:

During the Middle Ages, the development of the traditions of folk epic literature continues. This is one of the significant stages of its history, when the heroic epic became the most important link in the medieval book literature. The heroic epos of the Mature Middle Ages reflected the processes of ethnic and state consolidation and the developing seyneral-vassal relations. The historical themes in the epic expanded, crowding the mythological and mythological, the importance of Christian motifs increased and patriotic pathos intensified, a great epic form and more flexible stylistics were developed, which was facilitated by some distance from purely folklore samples. However, all this led to a certain impoverishment of the plot and mythopoetic imagery, so later the knightly novel again turned to folklore fiction. All these features of the new stage in the history of the epic are closely linked internally. The transition from the epic archaic to the epic classics, in particular, was expressed in the fact that the epics of nationalities, having reached the stage of distinct state consolidation, abandoned the language of myth and fairy tales and turned to the development of plots taken from historical legends (continuing to use, of course, old plot and language cliches, ascending to myths).

Rodo-tribal interests have been pushed aside by national interests, even in embryonic form, so in many epic monuments we find pronounced patriotic motives, often associated with the struggle against foreign and other conquerors. Patriotic motives, as it is specific for the Middle Ages, partially act in the form of opposing Christians to “unfaithful” Muslims (in Romance and Slavic literatures).

As said, the epic in the new stage depicts feudal strife and senile-vassal relations, but due to epic specificity vassal fidelity (in “The Songs of the Nibelungs”, “Songs of Roland”, “Songs of My Side”), as a rule, merges with loyalty to the clan, tribe, native country, state. A characteristic figure in the epic of this time is the epic “king”, whose power embodies the unity of the country. He is shown in a complex relationship with the main epic hero – the bearer of people’s ideals. Vassal loyalty to the king is combined with a story about his weakness, injustice, with a very critical image of the court environment and feudal strife (in the cycle of French poems about Guillaume of Orange). In the epic, anti-aristocratic tendencies are also reflected (in songs about Dietrich Bernski or in “The Song of My Side”). In the epic-heroic works of the XII-XIII centuries. sometimes even the influence of the courtly (knightly) novel (in the “Song of the Nibelungs”) is penetrated. But even with
idealization of courtly forms of everyday life, the epic basically preserves the people’s heroic ideals, heroic aesthetics. In the heroic epic, there are also some tendencies that go beyond the limits of its genre nature, for example, hypertrophic adventure (“Raul de Cambre”, etc.), material motivations of the hero’s behavior patiently overcoming unfavorable circumstances (in “The Song of My Side”), dramatism, reaching to tragedy (in “Nibelungs” and in “Songs about Roland”). These diverse trends indicate the hidden potentialities of the epic kind of poetry, anticipate the development of the novel and tragedy.

Stylistic features of the epic are now largely determined by a departure from folklore and a deeper processing of folklore traditions. In the process of transition from oral improvisation to recitation by manuscripts, numerous enjambements appear, ie, transfers from verse to verse, synonymy develops, flexibility and variety of epic formulas increase, sometimes the number of repetitions decreases, a more precise and harmonious composition becomes possible (“Song of Rolande). Although wide cyclization is familiar to oral creativity (for example, in the folklore of Central Asia), but mainly the creation of epic works of large volume and their addition to cycles is supported by a transition from oral improvisation to a manuscript book. Apparently, bookishness also contributes to the birth of a “psychological” characteristic, and interpretation of the heroic character in terms of a kind of tragic guilt. However, the interaction of folklore and book literature is actively continuing: in the composition and especially the performance of many works of the epic is the participation of the spielmen and jugglers in this period.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Heroic epic of the Middle Ages