StudentShare solutions
Triangle menu

An Analysis of Fairies as a Literary Device In Medieval Folklore - Essay Example

Nobody downloaded yet

Extract of sample
An Analysis of Fairies as a Literary Device In Medieval Folklore

A number of saints holidays (that happened to coincide with older holidays) help to ease the layperson's transition from pagan beliefs into a more Christian view of the world. These beliefs in the old magic evolved into literary devices when incorporated into folk tales, frequently used to either juxtapose the new and old beliefs, to distinguish between the two, to either reconcile them or to show the superiority of the new religion, as Christianity soon became omnipresent in medieval life. These Christian elements came to be exhibited retroactively through romantic tales of chivalry, for what was once an ethos of "might makes right" soon were thought to exemplify such Christian ethics as the mighty defending the weak, or the application of mercy. The reverence of the Virgin Mary developed into a reverence of all women and the notion of courtly love. However, these patterns spread slowly. To examine these elements in an evolutionary, if not exactly chronological, orderone can focus on such examples as the lais "Bisclavret" and "Yonic" by Marie de France and the J. R. R. Tolkien translations of "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" and "Sir Orfeo."
Marie de France's lais "Bisclavret," or "The Werewolf," approaches the notion of magic through the title character's curse of transforming into a werewolf. A brief summary of the plot describes Bisclavaret's curse, his wife discovering it, and then her subsequent betrayal of her husband in favor of another man which results in Bisclavret being trapped in wolf form. As a wolf, he eventually wins the respect of the king, who allows the wolf to stay at the castle. The wolf is well behaved until he meets is betrayers, at which point his animosity is so great that the court recalls the woman's lost husband. She confesses, Bisclavret is restored and the couple are exiled. In the context of this story, the author holds no implicit distrust of magic: it is viewed as a condition pre-dating the arrival of Christianity (paralleling evils of human nature), and while it proves a cursed inconvenience, it in no way prohibits Bisclavret from acting nobly while in wolf form: "He's never touched anyone, / or shown any wickedness, / except to this woman."1 The plot instead focuses on Christian moralizing, i.e. the evils of the wife and knight's betrayal of their lord (thereby breaking the holy covenant of marriage, as wel as the knight's forswearing of fealty to his lord) , and their subsequent punishment. The loophole provided by magic actually provides a more satisfactory retribution than mere Christian conscience would allow, for the Church would undoubtedly promote the notion of mercy, forgiveness and leniency. The couple are allowed this to an extent, as they are merely exiled with no other pronouncement of punishment. But magic allows a more telling retribution: when the wolf attacked the woman, he bit off her nose. Not only is she nose-less for the rest of her life, but several of her daughters were also born without noses, thus continuing the medieval tradition of a flawed character revealing itself in physical defect.
While Bisclavret's condition proves the means of his eventual revenge, the father of the title character "Yonec" uses magical transformation for different reasons and with different results. This ...Show more


Medieval folk tales, or "lais" (a French term refering to the balladic form many of these tales used to survive until their chronicling), frequently contain elements of magic or reference to fairy powers. These otherworldly components are lingering elements of pagan beliefs and traditions, considered the "old ways" or "old religion," that existed prior to the coming of Christianity to medieval Europe…
Author : donald60
An Analysis of Fairies as a Literary Device In Medieval Folklore
Read Text Preview
Save Your Time for More Important Things
Let us write or edit the essay on your topic
"An Analysis of Fairies as a Literary Device In Medieval Folklore"
with a personal 20% discount.
Grab the best paper

Check these samples - they also fit your topic

Literary Analysis
As such, he proposes that he has to “dispose of nature in its entirety as its lord and master”. This gives him freedom, and boldness to explore his inner thoughts and speak them out without restrain. As he writes, “All this sets my soul free, gives me greater boldness of thought, and throws me, so to speak, into the immensity of things… without fear of constraint”.
7 pages (1750 words) Essay
Analyze literary device
It drew much criticism and controversy because of its brutal ending of stoning a woman to death when it was published in 1948 (Oppenheimer 1). Nowlan’s narrative is set in a small Canadian town in 1962 and is about a wild moose that wondered into a seemingly civilized, human environment where it was mocked by the people before they killed it, showing how humanity is in disconnect with nature (New 3).
4 pages (1000 words) Essay
Analyze literary device
He soon finds himself in trouble with the law by trading in drugs and is incarcerated at the age of 20 and, while in jail, he receives a letter from his family, to which he returns once he is set free. It is there, while in his reserve home, that he is taught by his keeper about his culture that he slipped away from.
4 pages (1000 words) Essay
Literary Analysis
In the classical American society, training has a code word for educating the poor people. Spayde opposes this perceptive of the meaning of being educated. All these were narrow functional objectives in support of the developed study of humanities in the framework of everyday existence.
3 pages (750 words) Essay
Literary Analysis
The plot revolves around the characterization of Emily. Emily is used as the plot device in novel as the author uses her character to create their argument and theories. The relationship between Emily and the plot is significant as each and every aspect of the novel revolves around her character.
4 pages (1000 words) Essay
Literary Analysis
Knowledge of English allowed Asian American children to realize themselves, but created a generation gap between them and their parents. Multiple layers of
8 pages (2000 words) Essay
Literary analysis
In many cases, these meanings are given further nuance when taken into context with the history behind a given poem, such as realizing that it was written during a specific time period or that major world
4 pages (1000 words) Essay
Literary Analysis
In this context we can quote the statement of Henry David Thoreau, where he says, “I am self educated; that is, I attended Harvard College” (p. 67) and during the early 19th
3 pages (750 words) Essay
Literary analysis
The essay also creates a basis for the argument therein. Evidences are also inherent in an attempt to validate the arguments as per the discourse. Major ideas in the text have references, and a writing reference list is at the end of the document. The
5 pages (1250 words) Essay
Literary Analysis
Although, the two poems have different timelines and written by different writers, the feudal social structure and heroism are major two facets that they show
2 pages (500 words) Essay
Comments (0)
Click to create a comment
Let us find you another Essay on topic An Analysis of Fairies as a Literary Device In Medieval Folklore for FREE!
Contact us:
Contact Us Now
FREE Mobile Apps:
  • About StudentShare
  • Testimonials
  • FAQ
  • Blog
  • Free Essays
  • New Essays
  • Essays
  • The Newest Essay Topics
Join us:
Contact Us