Toll free:


Toll free:


Medieval Literature

In the Medieval texts, the idea of monsters is applicable to the human behavior very closely. In many literary and religious works, the monstrous appearance is depicted in the close relation to the human features that may be mixed with the beast’s type. The monstrous persona and monstrous behavior is reflected specifically well in the literary texts, in which imagination is often mixed up with reality, providing the close relationships between outside monsters and demons within. This paper is focused on the literary analysis of monstrous creatures to highlight the relevance between the impacts of their behavior on human beings who by observation or meeting with monsters in reality tend to be dominated by their almighty power derived from the supernatural world. The impact of monsters is that they cause the conditions under which humans form the deviant behavior that do not let them live under the normal behavioral principles and socialize as ordinary people. The extraordinary monstrous behavior is caused by their supernatural forces that may impact either positively or negatively on people, but in any case demonization of creatures help them to stay alive either physically or spiritually owning the space in human souls.

Get a Price Quote:

All first-time users will automatically receive 10% discount

For instance, the literary works “The Wife of Bath’s Tale”, “Yonec”, and “Beowulf” reflect the idea of “monstrous behavior” and “monstrous persona” very close to reality in the fictional manner. These texts provide the ideas that monstrous behavior cannot always be related to the dreadful appearance, as many demons are hidden within humans who turn their deeds into evil. The human spirit may either rise to fight and conquer monsters within or without or in the other way, people may fall down, being tempted by the evil forces and led astray. The monstrous personas and their behavior have direct and indirect impact on human lives, giving them chances to get released from the ordinary life or simply repress their good intentions. Monsters have the figurative meaning as well, for they are the symbols of passions, desires, phobias, euphoric feelings, joy or sorrow that human being experience in their life every day. In such case, monsters are the indirect incarnation of the fight between good and evil that is common for our life.

The literary works of the medieval period show the monstrous behavior as adjusted to the gothic context, when demons and beasts resembled the type of fallen angels as it was explained by Christianity. The perversions of angelic forms, they suppressed the human spirit, leading humanity to stand apart from God. So, there was no doubt that “such monsters were exciting and exotic, but since they were located at the periphery of the known world, they did not seem to cause their medieval audience much anxiety”. However, when placed in the literary context, monsters turned to very lively images that made the plots highly valuable.

For instance, the poem “Yonec” by Marie de France is one of the major examples of how monstrous behavior and monstrous persona fit the context of national folklore of the people of the North. In this literary text, the human monster is the knight who visits the young lady in the tower after she asks God to let her to get involved into love affairs. When faces with him for the first time as a shadow that “flew into the chamber; its feet were banded; it looked like a hawk of five or six moldings”. Indeed, the lady “was quite frightened when she saw him first as a man and then a bird”. She feels scared, but then she falls in love with him, for he is able to turn to a handsome man. However, he leads her to infidelity in relationships with her husband until she is pregnant. This infidelity causes two deaths: the knight is mortally wounded by the iron spikes, and the husband is killed by the stepson. So, the idea of monstrous behavior and human experience in relationships with them proves the fact that demons from within because the demonic feelings of passion, revenge, infidelity inside the lady that is tempted by the unexpected love affairs. 

The idea of monsters is well reflected in one of the most famous Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury’s Tales “The Wife of Bath’s Tale”. In this literary piece, the monster-like woman encourages a young knight to marry him after she tells him the secret of what women desire the most. Feeling inspired by the right to know the correct answer and escape the death sentence, the knight agrees this condition, being led into the case of female monster domination. The old hag follows his promise to become his husband, insisting that he kisses her and letting her get released from her condition of the unfavorable appearance: "Kiss me," quoth she, "let us be  wrathful no longer, for by my word, I will be both to you, that is to say, hpth fiiir, you, nnd grind I pray to God that I may die mad unless I be to you as good and faithful as ever wife was since the world was new”. In this case, the evidence of “monstrous persona” is fading away, and the old hag turns into a beautiful lady who brings joy and happiness to the family life of the knight. In the beginning of this story, the knight was tempted by the beauty of the young maiden and seduced her; however, by the end of this literary work he finally recognized his fault behavior and tried to correct the situation by marrying the old hag. He faced the monstrous within and without, but he managed to overcome his fears and stresses to start the new life in the happy marriage.

Similarly, the story of Beowulf is influential for explicating the idea of monsters as the driving force of the human struggle for release from demons and happiness. The idea of monsters in this text is reflected in the images of Grendel and Grendel’s mother, as well as the powerful dragon that terrorize the Kingdom of Danes. The monsters originated from the “ill-favored creatures, elves and giants, monsters of ocean, came into being, and the giants that longtime grappled with God; He gave them requital”. From the very beginning, Beowulf was aware that he can manage to kill monsters and release the kingdom from the terror: “I shall manage the matter, with the monster of evil, the giant, decide it”. The reason of the deviant monstrous behavior of these creatures was that they were envious to the success of Danes, as their conquests and power were rising. So, Danes asked Beowulf to help him to conquer the monsters that lived in remote moors, but used to eat people of this kingdom. He uses the magic sword to kills them and release people from monstrous behavior.

The analyzed medieval texts include the controversial approaches to the idea of monsters. In each of these literary works, humans have to face with demons from outside and fight with their inside monsters. So, the concept of the “beasts” has both direct and figurative meaning. In some cases, monsters encourage people to reveal their moral and physical strength, but in other cases they lead humans astray. The distinction between positive and negative impact of monsters is in their nature that helps them to stay influential in human lives.

order unique essay example

Buy custom Medieval Literature essay

← I Robot Asimov The Other Wes Moore →
Search essay