1. Short Answer: Choose two (2) questions from the list below and respond to them as thoroughly as you can using details from the texts we have read so far in class. Try to write 4-5 sentences per question. (5 pts. each)
1. When Beowulf is preparing to leave the Danes and return home, Hrothgar offers him these parting words, “O flower of warriors, beware of that trap [. . .] For a brief while you strength is in bloom / but it fades quickly” (lines 1758, 1761-62a). What is Hrothgar trying to tell Beowulf with these lines, and how do his words relate to a larger theme within the poem?
2. In the Qur’an, what is the significance of describing Mary’s labor pains as she prepares to give birth to Jesus, and how does it relate to the infant Jesus’s words: “I am a servant of God. He has granted me the Scripture; made me a prophet”? Discuss how representation challenges the beliefs of medieval Christians during the time in which the Qur’an was composed.
3. What does the Wife of Bath in Chaucer’ Canterbury Tales mean by “sovereignty,” and how does her tale illustrate this concept?
2. Passage Identification: Choose two (2) of the passages below and for each one identify the following things: 1) Name of text, 2) Author of text, 3) Context of passage, e.g. who is speaking to whom and why or what action is taking place immediately around this passage, and 4) Significance of the passage as it relates to the work in general. (5 pts. each)
1. Why are you incensed, and why is your face fallen? For whether you offer well, or whether you do not, at the tent flap sin crouches and for you is its longing but you will rule over it.
2. So he spoke; and he stirred in the other a yearning to weep for his own father, and taking hold of his hand he gently pushed the old man away. And the two remembered, the one weeping without cessation for man-slaughtering [Name 1] as he lay curled before [Name 2]’s feet, and [Name 2] wept for his own father, and then again for [Name 4]; and the sound of their lament was raised throughout the hall.
3. The Master said: “When the father is alive, watch the son’s aspirations. When the father is dead, watch the son’s actions. If three years later, the son has not veered from the father’s way, he may be called a dutiful son indeed.”
4. “Experience, though no authority Were in this world, is right enough for me To speak of the woe that is in marriage; For, my lords, since I was twelve years of age, Thanks be to God, eternally alive, Husbands at the church door, I have had five—
Essay Question: Chose one (1) question below and respond to it in a longer-form essay (Two well development paragraphs). DO NOT use any websites or book citations .Your response will be graded on thoroughness and detail (20 pts.)
1. In the Old English poem Beowulf, the monster Grendel is described as an enemy of God, a descendent of Cain, and a mearcstapa—one who steps along the borders. In an essay, elaborate further on Grendel’s monstrousness and discuss what this theory of monstrousness suggests about human society.
2. What does the phrase “the Good Life” mean? Make an argument for what “the Good Life” is from the point of view of one of the following texts: The Hebrew Bible, Analects, The BhagavadGita, or The Qur’an. Use as many details from the text you have chosen as you can to support your answer.
3. Courtliness and chivalry are medieval values that have to do with being proper, humble, respectful, brave, and loyal. Often these values are directed toward a beloved person. When this happens, characters find themselves feeling a deep sense of devotion that rivals religious piety, and so they use the language and concepts of religion to express the depth of their feelings. Both the Lais of Marie de France and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales engage themes of courtliness and chivalry. In an essay, discuss how either or both of these texts treat the subject courtesy.
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