Comparative Essay on the Styles of “The Death of King Arthur” and “Idylls of the King” 1) Introduction – The two texts, related to the Arthurian mythology, appear as not having much in common, if were to compare their informational properties. Idylls of the King is clearly a poetic piece, while The Death of King Arthuris a fine example of medieval prose. Nevertheless, they do contain literary metaphors and symbolism. Back in Medieval times, the English language used to be more rich, from the linguistic point of view. This is one of the reasons why both text sound so turgidly. But in the times they were written, it was absolutely normal to use metaphorical language, in everyday conversations.
Even though that both texts are comparatively short, one gets to experience a strange feeling of having obtained more information, than they could possibly contain, after the reading. This is due to the fact that Idylls of the King and The Death of King Arthur is much more than just an artistic interpretation of historical events, they represent author’s philosophy. Usually, we think of metaphors as the mean to richen the language, while in fact, they convey a message of its own. Being able to metaphorically describe the event is the most important precondition of being able to operate with the abstract categories, which in its turn, is the precondition of philosophy and science. 2).
Metaphorical elements – Let us prove this statement, by comparing metaphorical elements of two texts. In Idylls of the King Sir Bevidere makes the following statement: When every morning brought noble chance, And every chance brought out a noble knight This i a very artistically refined way to say that the nobility, as metaphysical category, is continuous and uninterrupted, just as change of seasons, just as the change of day and night.
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This statement is a very fine example of a stylistic finesse. Because it is true and pleasing to the ears. Even though that The Death of King Arthur is written in prosaic language, and there seem to be no room for the poetical elements, we, nevertheless find them plenty: Sir Launcelot, flower of the knighthood: I, Sir Gawain, son of King Lot of Orkney and of King Arthurs sister, send you my greetings!. We might think that it is not very necessary to use metaphors in the strictly informational account of king’s death. Yet, what would serve better emphasising the fact that Sir Launselot is the best of the best, than referring to him as the flower of the knighthood? Therefore, the metaphors in The Death of King Arthur do not only serve a decorative purpose. They help us to to get a clearer picture of the drama.
The same can be said about the Idyll’s poetical language. Entitling expressions of nature with psychological properties of an individual has always been a trademark of European existential mode. Therefore, it is no wonder that we continuously come across it in the text: To the island-valley of Avilion; Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow, Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it lies Deep-meadowed, happy, fair with orchard-lawns And bowery hollows crowned with summer sea… Idyll’s author strives to emphasise the ever changing nature of life and death, which points out to the fact that Christian motives in the Arthurian tales are purely artificial, as author describes the events with the calmness of a heathen. ( Explanation: Arthurian tales go back to around 500 A.D. when Christianity by began getting a foothold in Britain, hence the overall mood in both pieces is not really affected by it, although the God is being mentioned on the permanent basis.
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But it is rather an idea of divine, than the tribal god of Jews, to which we are more accustomed. The overall mood of Idyll’s is a proof, therefore it can’t be quoted, unless your teacher wants 30 pages of text. One simply has to have a basic knowledge of Arthurian theme in the literature to recognize the validity of this statement).
The metaphors are meant to make the reading more vivid. Author entitles the reader with a freedom to adjust understanding of the text, according to its own ideas. But there is only one thing that the both text never leave any doubt about its absolute value noble behaviour.
3) Symbolism – Even if we did not know that both texts are related to the Arthurian mythology, we would still be able to figure out that they were written in early Middle ages. This is because of excessive usage of animalistic symbolism. This is another element that these two texts have in common. Arthur was vouchsafed a strange dream: He was appareled in gold cloth and seated in a chair which stood on a pivoted scaffold. Below him, many fathoms deep, was a dark well in the water swam serpents, dragon and wild beasts. Suddenly the scaffold tilted and Arthur was flung into the water, where all the creatures struggled toward him and began tearing him limb from limb – back in the Dark ages it was believed that everything has to do with everything, therefore the human dreams were being thought of as just another form of reality.
It is why king Arthur had no doubt that the appearance of hostile animals in his dream was meant to convey him a certain message. This is very typical for the early European literature to associate daily events with the symbolical images, such as animals. We find the same kind of pastoral symbolism in the Idylls of the King as well, although in much weaker form: So said he, and the barge with oar and sail Moved from the brink, like some full-breasted swan That, fluting a wild carol ere her death, Ruffles her pure cold plume, and takes the flood With swarthy webs Here we see the purely metaphorical comparison of the vessel to the swan as also having a symbolical meaning. The swan represented purity and the notion of nobility was closely associated with it. As a matter of fact, the noble conduct was often thought of as the external manifestation of one’s purity. It is not by the simple accident that the knights of the round table are described as blond and fair skinned. This is why the medieval symbolism cannot be referred to as political correct, in the contemporary sense of this world. But unlike symbolism of 20th century, it is not separated from the essence of the symbolized subjects or events.
The Epic of Gilgamesh has many similarities to The Legend of King Arthur. Although Gilgamesh and King Arthur have comparison they also have differences. The main difference is that one is an Epic and the other is a Legend. To compare and contrast The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Legend of King Arthor, one must first know what the words, "Epic" and "Legend" mean. Primarily, "epic" is a long narrative ...
The two analysed texts prove this statement better than anything else, as the line between symbols and metaphors in it is very thin. When we read of a dragons in Arthurian tales, we usually think of them in the terms of fiction, while for the Medieval mind, their symbolical meaning was so obvious that the creatures themselves were being thought of as absolutely real. This is the main stylistic similarity between two texts. But we can also find other common elements in it. 4) Epic similarity – For example, even though that we compare poem and the prose, the two pieces undoubtedly belong to the epic style of storytelling. The characters’ psychological features are not being emphasised at all.
The king Arthur and the knights of the round table are represented to us as one dimensional embodiments of certain ideas and nothing else. King Arthur, for example, represents virtue and he simply cannot act in the way that would make him more human, because the whole premise of the story would be distorted. Sir Modred, on the other hand, cannot be anything else but a villain. It is nothing but a features of metaphysical determinism. Curiously enough, this kind of determinism is often found in ancient Greek literature, which points out to the fact that ancient people had a some kind of notion of genetics. (Explanation: Again, it’s quite impossible to prove this statement by quoting any particular piece, from the text. The epic style is characterized by the absence psychological elements.
But it is only after having read the complete piece that we can determine style. Therefore, there can be no quotation, as the conclusion that we deal with the epic style of story telling is self-evident).
5) Conclusion – To conclude the paper, let us sum up the common stylistic elements, found in two texts: 1) An excessive use of metaphors 2) Medieval symbolism 3) The epic style of writing. The mood of both pieces is tragic, tone epic, content semi mythological, diction narrative. (There are referrals to it, throughout the text this is simply the summary. One derives from another. For example, the diction in the epic piece cannot be anything else but narrative.
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These things are self-evident and do not require an additional explanation).
We will not be able to find any kind of Freudism in them.(Explanation the characters’ actions are never motivated by the emotions but by their sense of duty and also by their bipolar worldviews, where there are no other colors, except for black and white. This is a trademark of Ancient literature and it also can be referredd to as the absence of Freudism) The description of the characters in both texts might be thought of as incomplete, but it is finely refined. The king Arthur and his knights, as well as his foes, appear to be the men of honor, who put their duty to the nation above everything else. They can be referred to as the men of first generation, who posses raw power and who are not even slightly affected by the spiritual decadence of the latter centuries. At the same time, we can say that these features are the common element of the early European literature, as whole.
This partly due to the fact that the worldview of early Medieval writers was still remaining largely unaffected by the spiritual poison of Christianity. This is the most important reason why Arthurian tales still maintain a high cultural value in our time. Mallory’s story is better than Tennyson’s, because he analyses the two given texts from deeper stylistic prospective, rather than focusing on factual elements of the stories. This is because, the two texts are neither myth nor the fact and the only effective way to do a stylistic comparison, is to maintain the same illusive aura, while doing it. Only then the true essence of both stories can be assessed..
... . The author satirized the unsympathetic methods of upbringing. This story tells about a boy, named Nicholas, who was in ... personality, to be artificial and hypocritical. Perhaps, the text portrays the typical approach of upbringing in India where kinships ... to achieve the best result, to comfort this situation. The text contains both formal and colloquial words (formal: disorderliness; indignation; ...