World Literature

Free «World Literature» Essay Sample

In the past people were very superstitious, they believed in the existence of a supernatural being as well as the existence of demons. Due to this fact humans of the ancient times were full of myths about how they came to existence and how they had to live their day to day lives. Each community had its own beliefs and a supernatural being to which it worshiped. Due to this nature a number of stories and poems were written to cover the beliefs and ways of life of different societies. This paper seeks to discuss how religion and supernatural play a role in Beowulf, Lanval and Laustic, and The Canterbury Tales.

In Beowulf, matters of religion are considered as imperative. This is narrated in a Christian way. It tells about the days when Medieval Scandinavia was pagan. Beowulf’s story was mainly narrated in the ancient Medieval Anglo Saxon Britain. It is told with reference to God in general but does not discuss Jesus or any details of Christianity. The specific moment the recounting of the story refers to Christianity is when it talks of the story of Cain and Abel, which is told in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible.

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Notably, in the narration of the story of Beowulf, there is the presence of supernatural beings. The first time one meets supernatural beings in the narration is when Grendel, who is a demon together with his mother, is introduced (Hinds 34).Conspicuously, there are other monsters in the Beowulf story. First, there is a monster in the form of a dragon, which the hero is expected to fight. The second monsters are serpentine creatures which are said to live in the lake in the story. The third monsters are those of the sea that Beowulf had fought before (Hinds 27).

The monsters above are considered as stock monsters from an epic fantasy story. However, Beowulf holds a great conflict against religion. The writer of the work is a strong believer in Christianity. However, he acknowledges that the story he is poetically narrating is of people who lived before him and, therefore, its characters were pagans because of their time of existence (Hinds 54). Due to this fact, Beowulf tries to merge supernatural beings with the Christian religious view of what is evil. Particularly, the monsters introduced in the story are the children of Cain in the Christian Bible (Hinds 47).         

In the story of Lanval and Laustic, religion and the existence of supernatural beings is very evident. The woman depicted in the work by Marie expresses her grief in the way she is not able to pay attention to mass when she is in trouble (Davey 23). However, the Knight in the story gives a long speech, telling of how greatly he believes in God. If it was in the normal situation for Marie, just using the word ‘yes’ would be enough for the Knight to confess of how much he believes in a Supernatural Being, God (Davey 65).

Marie compares the selfless love of God using the reference of the story of a woman and her husband. She talks of how selflessly the female stands for the male when an old and rich man treats him badly and locks her up (Davey 43). Marie tries to narrate of how Christian religious faith works by using the Knight who comes to the woman professing his love for her only after she confesses that she needs a knight. Marie further proves the existence of God by making the knight take the shape of the female and act as if the woman was not feeling well (Davey 71).


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The woman is able to get back her happiness after being with the knight who apparently is only supposed to come when the woman calls for him. Marie uses this story to narrate of how God visits Christians every time they call Him, welcome Him into their lives and how He restores their happiness (Davey 83). Readers are then told of how the woman trailed the steps of the knight to the knights’ place after the nightingale was discovered by the lord and cut with razors. She then reveals her pregnancy after which she is offered a ring and a sword for her unborn son to use to kill the lord when he grows older (Davey 16).

This compares to the provision of a way out by God in times of deep trouble and prolonged suffering, according to Marie. Particularly, the author proves that even in the middle of deep sadness and worry, God takes care of His believers and makes sure that He brings them victory (Davey 42). In the story, the people of Abbey are in a long wait for a son to be born to continue the work that the lord had started. Comparatively, in the Bible, it is told of how Christians were waiting for long for Christ, the son of God, to be born to continue the work that God himself had started (Davey 109).

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The Canterbury Tales represent a number of views concerning a church in England. Many of the European nations started showing their doubts concerning the authority held by their church after the experience of Black Death (Ackroyd & Chaucer 76). All the Europeans went their way concerning religion. In the story of the ancient church, there were two people unveiled, one was the pardoner while the other one was in charge of offering summon. It reveals that the two characters were abusive and exercised greed (Ackroyd & Chaucer 51).

The pardoner was accused of doing things or giving requirements that only brought him gain while the person in charge of offering summon was accused of exercising wrong behavior and then prosecuting other people for the same (Ackroyd & Chaucer 64). They did this in order to receive bribes from the accused individuals to avoid being excommunicated from the church.

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