The Characteristics of the Middle Ages
- YukiLv 51 decade agoFavorite Answer
The literature of the earlier Middle Ages directly reflects the life and civilization of a Heroic Age. The dominant dignitary is the fighting king or chieftain, the primary pursuit is war, the typical targets are glory, power and wealth, and the leading virtues are loyalty and intrepidity. The literary pattern is based on the actuality under the idealization of feudal society. For example, in The Song of Roland, the hero Roland combines the fighting chieftain, serving his lord Charlemagne, with the devout Crusader; secular-value pattern is assimilated to the work.
The heroic warrior plays a smaller role in the literature of the 14th century. Human civilization under Christian direction may be regarded as ideally designed to assist man on his way to union with God. The scale is represented in Dante’s Divine Comedy and in Everyman. Moreover, medieval romance is applied to writing, presenting knightly adventures and courtly love. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is an illustration.
As for secular literature, Boccaccio’s Decameron and Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales are the representative masterpieces. In a nutshell, medieval literature is cavalier, religious and secular.