Middle English language was a a spoken and written form used mostly in England from around 1100 to 1500. We can say that Middle English is considered to be the unity where all the varieties of the English language were spoken after the Norman Conquest until the late 15th century. Moreover, it developed out of Late Old English, seeing many changes in its orthography,  grammar and pronunciation. Writing customs during this era varied widely, but by the end of the period, the creation of the printing press helped develop the procedure of it. At the late portion of the 14th century the consolidation of English as a written language was made as we have mentioned earlier. And in conclusion, the latter portion of the 14th century can be seen as one of the most significant periods in the history of the English language.During this unique period, English got maturity and widespread popularity among people belonging to the society. The English literature came into being when the Anglos and Saxton and Jutes came to settle in England in the later part of the fifth century and eventually gave the country its name and its language. It should also be noted that Middle English has its own certain features which distinguish them from others. To start with, we have impersonality which is clearly one of the most important characteristic in Middle English. The writers did not have prestige, as in this era readers would focus on the poem more than on the poet. That is why nowadays, we hardly know the names of the writers of middle english as they were anonymous and also because it was really common to rewrite the poems and this change would affect directly in the source. The medieval author was at a disadvantage compared with popular writers today in having no publisher interested in keeping his name before the public. As I have mentioned earlier, the works were commonly rewrited, that means originality was not necessary as today in literature.  Story material in particular was looked upon as common property and the notion that one could claim property in ideas is seldom encountered. Of course the work were less personal and most of the time not original. Religion plays an important role in Middle English literature, it is a crucial element of social life in the medieval ages. It should also be pointed out that men and women lived thinking on the next life, they were always worried and scared of going to hell , they felt fear, and for them, religion was their way out. Later on we will discuss element and we will look to its influences in religion.Furthermore, oral quality is another important feature in Middle English. Much of the Middle English Literature was meant to be listened to rather than read. Most of the literature was memorized by someone and then related to the audience. One of the reasons of oral tradition was that books were very expensive and common people could not afford to buy them not only that but also many people were not able to read.  As a result, verse was really common in medieval english literature.Courtly love was essential and the first person who popularized the phrase courtly love was Gaston Paris .Courtly love is a highly conventionalized medieval tradition of love between a knight and a married noblewoman. The love of the knight for his lady was thought to be an honoring passion and the relationship was typically unconsummated. Summing up, it was a secret affair between the lovers and we can say it  was similar to adultery. Chivalry is a prominent feature of Middle English Literature. We define chivalry as the medieval knightly system with its own religious, moral, and social code. Middle English Poetry is mostly concerned with heroic deeds of knights and that is a feature we can clearly see in famous middle english poems such as The Canterbury Tales and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Romance is another crucial characteristic of Middle English Literature. Romance is defined as a novel or other prose narrative depicting heroic or marvelous deeds,v pageantry, romantic exploits, etc. usually in a historical or imaginary setting. In the Middle ages,  the term is linked to tales specifically concerned with knights, chivalry, and courtly love. Putting aside this characteristics and focusing on the authors, it was with the fourteenth century that major works of English literature began once again to appear; these include the so-called Pearl or Gawain Poet’s Pearl and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Patience, Cleanness, and Sir Orfeo; Langland’s political and religious allegory Piers Plowman; John Gowers Confessio Amantis; and the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, the most highly regarded English poet of the Middle Ages.First of all, we are going to concentrate in the meaning of both religions, Paganism and Christianity.  On the one hand, paganism is a religion other than one of the main world religions, specifically a non-Christian or pre-Christian religion and Christianity is the religion based on the person and teachings of Jesus Christ, or its beliefs and practices. In the next pages we shall examine the influence of pagan and christian cultures among middle english literature. We will try to work with a concrete famous poem of this era called Sir Gawain and the Green knight.The great impact of the pictures of priests and crosses is obviously present in Middle English Literature as the Catholic and of course Orthodox Christianity was the dominant. This christianity´s popular conception was the most important belief about the period and because of that, the ignorance of people was current. Although because of the fact that religion used a lot of writing tradition in order to materialize their beliefs and thoughts, they kept writing alive and evolved it. Much of it was divided by a complex relationship between Paganism and Christianity.The elements of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight are mostly based on courtly love and chivalric code.  It is said that the roots of this poem came from a Celtic pagan myth despite its christian message. The thing that impacts most and makes the story unique is the use of Christian and Pagan symbolism. Although Christianity was the religion of the Pearl Poet and 14th Century Europeans, they constantly had to make a big effort with the social heavy conflict of The Church with their Pagan history. Paganism and Christianity were always competing for their values and beliefs. The Pearl Poet used the battles of Sir Gawain to represent the issues of a Christian living among a Pagan world. Gawain’s journey can even be seen as the hero’s archetypal encounter with the Otherworld, an essential theme in pagan belief.Christian nature of the poem……Biblical parallels can be found in the appearance of Bertilak’s castle (Paradise) and the role of his wife as temptress (Eve). Accordingly, Gawain loses his moral innocence when his value system is shattered by the end of the poem. Such an allegory emphasizes once more the poet’s Christian message, and the relationship between mankind and the divine.In contrast to the questionable nature of the chivalric code, the poet upholds Christian faith as the ultimate, saving grace for humanity. Ever pious, Gawain continuously finds guidance in God: from the image of the Virgin Mary on the inside of his shield to his prayers while journeying alone, to his narrow escape from the adulterous temptations of Lady Bertilak. It is, in a sense, faith in God which enables mankind to negotiate between the dangers of human society and the dangers of the natural world. To affirm this, the poem concludes with a supplication to Jesus Christ, the Savior.There are many features common to pre-Christian Celtic mythology, such as the waiting period of twelve months and a day, the Beheading Game, and the Temptation Game. The Green Knight himself is a strongly pagan character, similar to the Green Man or Wild Man of the Woods. His equipment also includes symbols and contrasts but first I want to talk about the fact that roots of the figure “Green Knight” may come from the “Green Man” as I have mentioned earlier. It seems like the Green Man is a figure or character  that evolved from paganism to christianity. We can also see this evolution in his path, as he first looks like an evil rival to court, a demonic figure that comes out of nowhere and want to play a fatal game which will cause the death of Gawain, but through the end of story he looks like a perfect Christian as a helpful patron and host to Gawain. The Pearl Poet brings more depth to this clash of world-views by revealing the identity of The Green Knight. The Pearl Poet describes The Green Knight in great detail to show his unmistakable completion. He is described as perfect, but also human.One the greatest on ground in growth of his frame:From broad neck to buttocks so bulky and thick,And his loins and his legs so long and so great,Half a giant on earth I hold him to be,But believe him no less than the largest of men (Pearl 165)This is the first one of the ways The Pearl Poet parallels the Green Knight to Jesus Christ.The Green Knight was pictured as a complete and perfect man.He survived death when Sir Gawain beheaded him, but continued to judge Sir Gawain with mercy in the closing of the Poem. As well as he becomes the supernatural, all powerful judge of unmistakable human quality, just as Jesus was the divine, all powerful God of unmistakable human quality.Besides, if we pay attention to the very beginning of the poem, The Pearl Poet chose to start the poem at Christmas time. Christmas was a newly Christian holiday in this era that was chosen because of its Pagan background. This holiday is an agroupation of the two world-views and The Pearl Poet doesn’t hesitate to bring these dualities out right from the beginning. The most obvious symbolic struggle is on the shield of Sir Gawain. The Pearl Poet uses two Christian symbols on the shield. On the one side  The Virgin Mary´s figure. This is The Church’s view of perfection. The other symbol is the Pentangle. The Pearl Poet goes into great detail when it comes describe the Pentangle to clearly representate perfection and completeness. The Pearl Poet also gives it Christian meaning by describing it as “…a sign that Soloman set long ago” (175). However, the picture of the Pentangle came from magic and superstition. The Pentangle was believed to display incorruptibility to the pagan people and would give them powers over evil. Moreover, the belt used in the poem also is an another symbol that imposes the cowardness of Gawain. When the test was over, Gawain continued carrying the belt as a sign of shame for his cowardness, and always kept it in mind to never fail  again. In addition, in one of  his hands he holds an axe, a symbol of conflict and war and I believe this shows that he is holding together good and evil.At last Sir Gawain sees himself as a failure because of the expectation he has as a Christian. This expectation was placed on early Christians by the Church ,however, The Green Knight forgives him and commends him for upholding his standards and the courage he displayed. He is also highly esteemed by his peers for his courage and commitment. These are two virtues held in high regard by both Pagans and Christians.


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