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And Julian Of Norwich Essay, Research Paper

The crucifixion of Christ is treated otherwise within the organic structures of Old English and Middle English literature. The values of each epoch & # 8217 ; s society are superimposed on the descriptions of the forfeit of Christ on the cross. Christ is depicted either as the theoretical account of the hero, prevalent in Old English literature, or as the incarnation of love and passion, as found in Screenings by Julian of Norwich. Old English literature establishes the elements of the heroic codification, to which its society ascribed. A adult male must populate, or dice, by his award. In The Dream of the Rood the crucifixion of Christ is depicted as the ultimate symbol of gallantry, as all world bewailed Christ & # 8217 ; s decease and prepared a aureate cross for him. & # 8220 ; This was certainly no criminal & # 8217 ; s gallows, but holy liquors beheld it at that place, work forces upon Earth, and all this glorious creative activity. Wonderful was the triumph-tree, and I stained with wickednesss, wounded with errors. I saw the tree of glorification radiance excellently, adorned with garments, decked with gold, gems had worthily covered Christ & # 8217 ; s tree. & # 8221 ; ( Norton Anthology of English Literature, Sixth Ed. , p. 19 ) Jesus is non rendered as a figure of poignancy. Jesus is identified with the other glorious warriors of Anglo-Saxon times, such as Beowulf, in this rendition of the cross. It was tradition during the Anglo-Saxon period to bury the esteemed decease with all of the adornments of wealth that they had gained in the earthly life. The Dream of the Rood treats the decease of Christ as the apogee of His glorification. As the Rood itself speaks, & # 8220 ; Disclose with your words that it is the tree of glorification on which Almighty God suffered for world & # 8217 ; s many wickednesss and the workss of Adam did of old. He tasted decease at that place ; yet the Lord arose once more to assist mankind in his great might. & # 8221 ; ( Norton Anthology of English Literature, Sixth Ed. , p. 21 ) Julian of Norwich, an anchoress of Saint Julian, received great visions of the crucifixion of Christ, on what was thought to be her deathbed. Harmonizing to the Norton Anthology of English Literature, Sixth Ed. , her disclosure of these visions, Showings, is colored by her experience and disposition as an single adult female. Julian & # 8217 ; s word picture of the crucifixion describes Christ & # 8217 ; s love for humanity upon his crucifixion. & # 8220 ; This I took it for that clip that our Lord Jesu of his gracious love would demo me the comfort before the clip of my enticement ; for me thought it might good be that I should by the sufferance of God and with his maintaining be tempted of monsters before I should die. & # 8221 ; ( Norton Anthology of English Literature, Sixth Ed. , p. 294 ) His pick to decease upon the cross seems to be the necessity for the redemption of world, non as the manifestation of His inimitable award and glorification. The thanes of the heroic codification are bound to their Godhead by award. The Dream of the Rood affirms this powerful duty as the writer writes that when God visits us on judgement twenty-four hours, He will inquire who would stand fast, fearless, for Him, their existent leader: & # 8220 ; Before his host he will inquire where the adult male is who in the name of the Lord would savor acrimonious decease as he did on the cross. & # 8221 ; ( Norton Anthology of English Literature, Sixth Ed. , p. 21 ) . In add-on, the Godhead is bound to his work forces. This ideal is continued within the gallantry of the Middle Ages. As a transition of Showings tells the reader: & # 8220 ; It is the most worship that a grave male monarch or a great Godhead may make a hapless retainer if he will be homely with him ; and viz. if he show it himself of a full true significance and with glad cheer both in private and openly. & # 8221 ; ( Norton Anthology of English Literature, Sixth Ed. , p. 296 ) However, Julian & # 8217 ; s mystical visions imbue a more feminine thought to the crucifixion than does The Dream of the Rood. Showings tells us of Christ as the figure of the three left on the cross, but besides relates a uniqueness of maternity upon his actions. Would non any female parent dice for her kid? Christ died for the lambs of his crease. The exalted ideals of the knightly codification: love, humbleness, and flawlessness, are evidenced in Christ & # 8217 ; s actions. The Dream of the Rood evidently depicts Christ as the masculine hero of his set of considerations, as shown by the transition & # 8220 ; The Son was winning in that raid, mighty and successful. & # 8221 ; ( Norton Anthology of English Literature, Sixth Ed. , p. 21 ) In a adult male

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ner similar to leaders of Old English literature, Christ endowed gifts to his followers upon his death. Herein is a similarity between Showings and The Dream of the Rood: his gifts were not of gold and treasure to be found on this earth. Christ’s death enabled man’s everlasting life. Perhaps the most striking contrast between the Old English text of The Dream of the Rood and the Middle English text Showings is the depiction of Christ’s actual death upon the cross. The Dream of the Rood does not allude to the odious suffering Christ endured for days as he hung upon the cross. However, Julian of Norwich tells us in Showings that Christ died upon that cross as all blood drained from his body and he became withered and beset by the pallor of death, with his final words begging forgiveness for his persecutors. The Old English hero would never beg for forgiveness; the heroic code mandated that his thanes avenge his death. Because Middle English society developed the chivalric code, in which love is a central theme, Showings is able to depict Christ’s honor as a form of love: “For he is the endlesshead and he made us only to himself and restored us by his precious passion, and ever keepeth us in his blessed love” (Norton Anthology of English Literature, Sixth Ed., p. 296) Both The Dream of the Rood and Showings are depicted as visions. Yet, Julian of Norwich is referred to as a “mystic” in literature. The society of the Middle English period did not readily accept women as powerful beings. A woman could not be expected to write with any authority, unless there was something “supernatural” about her subject matter. The author of The Dream of the Rood is given authority by way of his masculinity. The obvious distinction being that, as he is a man, he is to be trusted upon his word. Neither had Old English society become so firmly entrenched in Christianity. The Dream of the Rood seems to have been a method to convert heathens to Christianity by immersing Christianity in the extant value system of the time. This does not seem to be the case with Showings. In all likelihood, Julian intended for the reader to come away with a sense of beauty and the knowledge of the extreme sacrifice of Christ. The conversion to Christianity is not the ultimate motive of Showings. The reader is supposed to engage in a greater understanding of the passion of Christ and his desire to suffer so that all mankind did not have to suffer for eternity. In both works Christ emerges as a powerful being that will stoically suffer for us all, and reward us, for the price of our piety. The seeds of Christianity that had been planted during the time of Old English literature prospered within the texts of Middle English literature. Even as Christianity managed to flourish in medieval times, the ideal of Christianity changed with the period in which it lived, meshed in the ideals of the society to which it implored conversion. Whereas honor is the prevailing theme of Christ’s crucifixion in The Dream of the Rood, love becomes the dominant subject in Christ’s sacrifice for humankind in Showings. “Thus was I learned, that love is our Lord’s meaning. And I saw full surely in this and in all, that ere God made us he loved us, which love was never slaked ne never shall. And in this love he hath done all his works, and in the love he hath made all things profitable to us, and in this love our life is everlasting.” (Norton Anthology of English Literature, Sixth Ed., p. 297) This change in the integral ideal of the subject matter is perhaps indicative of the ensuing social changes that occurred during the Middle English period. Julian describes Christ’s gift as the fulfillment of his love for all creation. It is not for honor that Christ gave his life. Of course, during the Old English period, the lord’s retainers certainly experienced “love” in some fashion for the man they willingly gave their lives. Certainly that “love” was not to be construed as a display of femininity, for these men were warriors. Changing social values helped to transform the Old English heroic code to the Middle English chivalric ideal. The literature of each of the periods offers the examples upon which to base this conclusion. Old English honoric ideals are complemented by Middle English concepts of love and beauty.

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