Welcome Lords and Ladies

Welcome Lords and Ladies, Kings and Queens. We have gathered to this meeting to express the tales to be told in the world. My name is Mary and I will be your guide through this round table discussion in God’s Kingdom.

[Enter the Characters]

Mother Jesus enters carrying the Rood through the archway. King Arthur and Queen Guinevere by his side following is Sir Gawain and Sir Launcelot. They all take their seats at the table. Next to enter to Beowulf, who walks in with a cocky stride as Grendal and his mother follow closely behind him. Everyman enters with his nose embedded in the Holy Bible. I, Mary, stand alone in the corner with a scroll in my hand listening, watching and awaiting for all this discussion about to take place. They are all seated, mead is being slowly passed around to each and the discussion begins.

The Rood gets the conversation started with a joke and the first question is asked. We start with a discussion about gender inequality in medieval times. Gender inequality changes in different readings, for example in courtly love narratives. Women are viewed as negative beings, but they still need to obey the male figures in their lives. However in Beowulf, they are celebrated and free. Until we get to a character like Guinevere. She has no children. Even though she was married to King Arthur and had all these affairs, there is no textual evidence of her having any children. She is perceived as n innocent woman because of this fact, however, in Mallory’s The Death of Arthur, when she dies, she is not “saint-like” so how is he innocent?

Women definitely play an interesting role in these texts. For instance, Guinevere and The Wife of Bath seem to have power, whereas Morgan le Fay from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight tries to fix the Arthurian court. She tries to prove that knights don’t live up their respective tile of a “ladies man.” More specifically women are considered to be deceivers of men. This is where Morgan le Fay can be seen as a manipulator. On the reverse side of this, you have Chaucer. He noticed that women are not as powerful, so he tries to give them power in his stories. There is also an openness of sexuality. Also Chaucer really tries to give women a voice, however, there is still seen as sexual beings. For instance, the Wife of Bath has five different husbands throughout her tale. The men included, old men who had money or young men who turned out to be bastards. So women are becoming empowered in these tales. Let’s take Marie De France. Yes she can be seen as bias in her story, but she is still trying to give women a voice.

Back to the Wife of Bath, she sort of give a negative light towards their empowerment. She can be seen as independent, but at the same time worse than men. She tries to find the perfect man, which is why she has different relationships. However, God gives them this ability to deceive men. It could be something that’s inborn, which helps them gave the empowerment they need to take over men.

Now it is hard to accomplish gender equality during this period of literature. Knights, for example, have a different perspective than women. They don’t look at them as something good. Women are considered to the good wife and that’s their noble work whereas the knights are noble to the king. The discussion is being brought back to the Wife of Bath, where she feels that men are allowing themselves to be stupid, and that gives them the power to deceive. This brought up an interesting point that women could only gain power through the men. They can deceive and create situations where they control them men. Chaucer appears to be making fun of the Wife of Bath; because of the features he has given her. He made her appear like a very ugly women with buckteeth, however, Chaucer could have been getting back at the horrible backlash from his rape case. So instead of empowering women, he was dragging them down. It also has been said that women don’t want power. They just want to be wives.

These texts do not embody women’s literature, however it could be a way they are gaining power over the men. A constant example being brought up is The Wife of Bath, for instance, she is a progressive woman, but at the end she is still the submissive wife. This is the fate of many of the women, regardless of rank, in the hands of their husbands. The main conclusion from this topic is that men put women in a box, and they are not progressive. This is when a heated debate broke out between two characters. Could the Wife of Bath’s tale be considered submissive or progressive? It is a toss between the two. It can be considered submissive, because she is a typical housewife. However it can be progressive, because she is embodying a sense of female empowerment. According to the debate, you have to separate the tale from the prologue, which makes sense. There is a sense of feeling limited when writing about women in medieval literature.

This sparked the topic of this lack of Women authors. Now it should take us back to the idea of what a medieval author is. It is actually a scribe. Margery Kempe, for example, she did not read or write. She had a scribe write down all her stories, which could have been written by women. This leads to a limit of respect for women in the field of literature. The males had the majority of authorship, so this creates a solid unbalance in the writing. Were men illiterate? They were not, and the same goes for women. Some women could read and write. This brought on a debate if women were illiterate. Let’s take a great author like Mallory, who references the French book numerous times throughout this works. This creates a sort of disconnect with the text. It is also the easiest way to take away the ownership of the text and themselves. It is almost like these authors are trying to say controversial stuff, but stating that someone else said it. They are trying to keep the church in mind. IF you said it, it would look very bad to the church. But if a French writer said it, suddenly it’s okay. This is a tool used to distance the authors from their work. It is a stylistic choice.

A great example that came up was Esope’s Fables. They are revisions of a classic text. It has many references from other authors and valued texts. It appears more authentic when learning or reading it. These fables were also used a teaching tools in schools to teach them about editing and revising texts. It is a socially economic thing to have many textual references, because you’d appear smarter. When you use the French language and texts, which is the language of Lords and wealth, it is like the ultimate sense of smarts.

Another topic that came up was Julian of Norwich. This text cannot be read with a pronoun or gender. The author relationship looking at these texts is about interpretation. Henryson suggests using he or she pronouns. He is always interchanging them between his characters. For instance, in the lion and the mouse tale, the mouse is referred to as a she. The pronouns’ are all misplaced in the text. Mother Jesus is another example. They are trying to highlight the “motherly nature” of Jesus. He is a giver of life and he nourished mankind. This creates a sort of confusion, because in medieval motherhood is so important to women. Even though Mother Jesus is a man, he is not a mother. This was argued against.

A Mother can be seen as a “soft sheep.” She is a nurturer. However, Jesus has done that for his followers, it is an interchanging mother. He and people should not tell the difference between the two. It cannot be measured concretely. Jesus is a man, but he is a mother. He gives life, he takes away life and he forgives. He embodies all of the aspects of a mother.

The writing is in an authentic nature. It’s the way they liked it, so they kept it. What has changed? Do you believe this literature has changed? There have been so many stories told over time. Copy write laws did not exist at this time, which is why there were so many versions of King Arthur. Now is this how it’s intended? Were these works released with the intention of being copy written? It is important to say that these are the only surviving transcripts unlike the original texts, which could have been destroyed. These changes were made and it changed the idea of the text. This caused many of the parts of the texts to be left out and the stories have been changed. This creates an overlap between readership and authorship. The edits have been recreated or revised in order for the stories to make sense. It becomes a process of thinking and doing a closer reading.

— Pause for Intermission —

What a lively discussion so far!! There were so many things discussed and so many debates. Gender inequality, personally I feel was the most heated debate. I think it is awful that us women did no get much of a voice in these texts. We should have been heard more and expressed. Also we women verbally spoke these texts, but all those thieving penholders were men. They stole our ideas and passed them off as their own. Bastards. My apologizes. Son, please forgive your mother. Mother Jesus, is a mother. He gave all of you life. He gave me life and created a new path for myself as well as Margery Kempe. One finally thing before we resume this discussion, stop changing the old texts. Be sure to keep the originals saved on those hard drives. Wait this is the middle ages. Scratch that. Keep a book.

Now back to the discussion…

Goblets had been refilled with mead as all of these lovely characters are taking their seats back at the round table.

One the topic now is muscular Christianity. Has it been seen in other texts? Well first what is muscular Christianity. It is an oppressive, aggressively motivated way of converting someone to the Christian faith. For instances, the Siege of Jerusalem destroyed the idea of Christianity. There were also critical texts of the church. Let’s take Chaucer, for example, used the concept of pilgrims on a pilgrimage. They all seemed to have a glib voice about religion, in particular, that wife of bath. She ruined the sanctity of marriage by marrying many times. Another example is Launcelot and Guinevere in the Death of Arthur. This is like the pseudo military of Christian men; which is the denying of good deeds. Knights are a major example of Christian rules. They are very pro-Christianity. This could be apart of the metaphorical view of faith. Let’s take Morgan le Fay and Sir Gaiwain. These are the pagan rules of faith.

This begins to get into the shivery of Knights, particularly in King Arthur. Is shivery outdated? It can be, but it also has a different meaning. Take the affair with Launcelot and Guinevere. Being intimate with your Queen was common practice. Shivery is not a brief expression. The women part of it is small. Knights have more of a shivery towards each other. In Sir Gaiwain and the Green Knight, shivery is seen very differently. The way you treat men and the way you treat women can create a conflict. You don’t want to offend your king, but you also don’t want to be rude to the Queen. This was the conflict Sir Gaiwain faced with Guinevere. He couldn’t be rude to her when she crawled into his bed, however, he can’t be dishonest to the king. It’s a true conflict on interests. Like in Beowulf, there was a major faith in the king and he was looked at like a God. It also is also stated that the King must give to the people and vice versa. It is interesting looking at through the religion. Why is that though? It is because religion played a major role in creating these tales.

This was hard writing about the characters, especially if they did not have much of role in the text. I realized a lot of the others had the same problem as I. It was hard coming up with information and having to read the texts ahead was a challenge. For characters like Mother Jesus, it was hard, because Jesus is essentially everywhere. Also John Kempe and myself were characters we had short roles in our texts, so it was hard learning those parts. Most of them were written in the perspective of someone else. How can you tell what’s real or what’s false? Another challenging thing was the posting, which happened around the board. Adapting these characters and posting before our initial blogs were due was hard.

[After reading their parts, the characters all stand up and exit the room…]

Thank you all for reading and being patient with me as I regale this tale of a round table discussion. We had a great time informing and entertaining you, as I hoped you had a great time reading this.

May God bless and keep you!!

— Mary



The Morte D’Arthur

This here is the tragic tale of the death of the noblest of kings; King Arthur. This here is a tale death and betrayal. This is a tale of kingdom torn apart by sin! If only these noble knights had followed the good word of our lord, then this terrible tragedy could have been avoided. But alas! Men sin, it is in their nature. The Kingdoms of men are fragile and precarious – only the kingdom of God is eternal! Take heed of these warnings lest the same tragic fate that happened to the Kingdom of King Arthur happen to you.

Oh how the mighty and noble have fallen! Sir Lancelot has succumbed to the temptation of the flesh, and in doing so betrayed his King. Like the dull-minded hungry larks to fowler’s chaff, Sir Lancelot all but flew to his Queen’s bedchambers. What he did to her body, I cannot say, as I am in no position to tell of such things! But, be sure, it is truly a mystery that she did not bare many of his children!

Alas, the other knights at the round table are no stranger to sin. Sir Mordred, full of envy and wrath did try to usurp the throne from his king. His covetousness knew no bounds and lead to his death. These sinful knights brought tragedy to their kingdom! Heed my warnings, for if you succumb the temptations of this life, you very well might find yourself quickly heading to the next! Like the larks  found out in the fowlers sack, death, sin, and violence come hand in hand. If only the wise King Arthur had made room at his round table for a preacher well versed in the words of our lord, he could have avoided this terrible tragedy!

John Kempe: Meditations with Mother Jesus

I have been thinking a lot lately. As I usually do, I have been communicating with mother Jesus. I do this for a variety of reasons. First, I do this to be reassured of my greatness as a follower to mother Jesus. If it wasn’t already obvious, I have devoted my life to the word put forth in His word. Therefore, speaking to mother Jesus in my spare time is always a comfort because mother Jesus always commends me for my service. Another reason I do this is to relieve the stress of being married to the creature I am married to. You all may know her as Margery Kempe, disciple of Julian of Norwich, daughter of the former mayor of our town. I know her to be a sinner. I still am trying to figure out what her first sin was that she will not tell anyone. Not me. Not the Priest. Only Mother Jesus knows. I know her to have publicly embarrassed me and emasculated me by criticizing my less noble heritage. No, I am not of noble birth. No, my father was not a mayor. And yet, through the grace of our mother Jesus and the Father, I was able to move beyond the station assigned me at birth. Yet my wife does not appreciate the work I put in to attract her. To Her I am lesser than.  I know her as the woman who was well aware of her earthly material and wanted to make sure our neighbors were well aware of them as well. Spending our money foolishly on things like jewelry and other goods with which to show off our monetary success, she proceeded to go against the word of mother Jesus. One could understand after all of the sins why I wasn’t ready to let her have her way so easily. When she asked me to relieve her of her wifely responsibilities, of course I said no at first. She needed to be punished for these transgressions so I continued sleeping with her even though she didn’t want me to. I was angry. Yet, in my most recent conversation with the holy son, I have been inspired by mother Jesus. Mother Jesus instructed all to forgive. While I felt I couldn’t do this at first, and let that be known in response, I’ve decided to continue following the word of Mother Jesus even though it doesn’t sit well with me. So, I forgive my wife.

The Lion and the Mouse

The tale of the mighty lion and the humble mice is one that examines the relation between the ruler and the ruled. It is a tale of mans dominion of the beasts, as was ordained by our creator! It is a tale of man and his net, and the unusual acquaintance of mighty lion and the little mouse. It is a tale about the relationship between the sovereign and the subject. The mice, who are but ignorant common folk, dance upon the lion and mock him in his sleep. When this mighty lion awakes, he has the chance to spare or eat the most unfortunate of the mice. Fortunately for this unfortunate mouse the mighty lion is merciful and spares her life!  When the lion is trapper later on in man’s nets, the mice come to help, paying their debts.

It is this, says Esop, that the ruler and ruled owe to each other. And who I must ask, is the ruler of all? He is our creator, after all! Take heed of this tale and you shall see, the true nature of His divinity! You see his just, and merciful too. And we men are the mice, who now not what to do. They dance and prance to and fro and they think the lord cant see them go. They go to sin! Like the larks to the fowler’s chaff! It is with this knowledge the lord will grab up men like mice, to remind them to walk the path of the righteous! In all the close calls  of death in life, it s our lord, trying to set us right. You see, the lion, our lord, is fighting the fiendish fallen angel for all our salvation. And like the lion he needs the help of the common man or mouse.

Each soul on the righteous path is like a little mouse knowing on that hemp rope! Now, of course, the lord, unlike this lion, or any king of men, could win this fight with the fallen fiend without a second thought. But it is the test of mens souls that our lord has sought!

So do good, kings and commoners, follow his lead. Do away with sin, to help our lord win!

The Tale of the Cock and the Jasp

This here is the tale of the cock and the jasper; it is the tale of a surprisingly wise bird, one who knows, better than most, what value really is. It is the story of a humble rooster who, at the moment of the story, was in the search of corn to eat. Rather unexpectedly, through no skill or fault of his own, he stumbles upon the most precious of stones – the jasp! What he does next is of particular note. Nothing! You see, a cock has no use for such a thing. He cannot eat it. Nor can he sell it. Sure, he could carry it here and there in his talons or under his wing, but what is he to do when the fowler or the fox comes? If it is under his wing, than he cannot fly to safety. If it is in his claw he cannot run quickly to the bushes. If he drops it – then what a precious gift he will leave for the fowler!

What the cock wants is corn. He has not the time in his busy life for precious stone that men will kill each other for. He just does what our good lord created him to do. Now Esop and Robert Henryson, both being men, both who see value in the valueless, quite naturally disagree! But the wiser of God’s creatures know that this life is short, it is the next one where we appreciate such fanciful things! It seems to me this; let us say the cock was beholden to this little gem. He adored it! Tucked it safely under his wing, hiding it from the fowler as he flew and the fox as he fled to the bushes. Lets say he was so enamored with it, fully aware of what Esop and Henryson would call it’s real value, that he did whatever it took to protect if from harm! He hid from any potential thieves, even if meant spending less time in search of corn. After all, corn is less valuable!

Then, when winter comes, the hungry cock with the precious stone is getting desperate for food. He spies some chaff in a field! But quick, he sees the larks flying do get it. And now the fiendish fowler had bag full of larks, a thin, but nonetheless perfectly edible cock, and precious jasp, that he can sell for corn! A wise bird knows where in God’s creation he belongs. A wise bird has no business with precious stones! And wise men know that this life is short and to throw away something so precious for a stone is foolish!


Faith or Fear?

In the fable, “Preiching of the Swallow” Esope is making a general reference to never giving up on one’s faith. Thy Swallow is always on the edge of his tiny feet, making sure thy does not get caught by the fowler The moral of this story is that thy prayers to God for as long as thy are in life. Thy swallow is saved by his faith in God. Thy has great wisdom and faith. His soul is filled with a great spirit and is always thinking on step ahead of that fowler. Always have faith on thy side, for as long as needed. If thy is in their good graces.

Thou should always be determined to their faith. Never let thy fear stop thee from achieving their goals. This fable is all about education people into their faith. The fowler is a devoid of grace. Thy fowler is similar to the evil ones who sacrificed my son on the rood. They lose thy faith and did not believe in miracles anymore. They did not see the good in him. Only evil. This is how thou should see the fowler. The sinner. The anti-Christ. The one who does not believe in a higher power. He is a temptation of great sin and shame is set aside. This is very similar to the pain and suffers thy Lord felt up until his death.

Thy Swallow avoids thy snare. He is always one step ahead of the fowler. This is how thy should look at sin. Always been on step ahead of them. Always be on thy right path towards the Heaven. After thy swallow had died, he was praised. He was seen as a clergyman for never given up on his faith. Always pressing forward and being thy best can be. Always trying to be free of sin. Thy believes the trap and the fowler represent sin. Thy swallow needs to stay one step ahead in order to avoid being caught in thy devil’s trap.

There are four blesses of the faith. One thy sins are removed. Preaching is like warning to others about the dangers of sin. To be careful of what is out there. Second thy will end the war; which is what happens at the end of this fable. The war had ended between the bird and the fowler. There was finally peace in the land. Third is a perfect day for love and charity. One should make time for thy ones thou love and also be charitable towards others. If thou does all these things well, thy will end up in God’s Heaven.

It appears that prayer is thy key to life. It will always be there for thyself when ready. Also never give up. Thou should continue to press forward and creating your own path of good faith. In the end, everything will work out for thee. Have faith and just know that God is always on thy side.

An Open Letter to the Noblemen

Esope has such a great mind of telling fables to people. Teaching tales and giving advice is what you do best. In the fable, “The Taill of the Lyoun and the Mouse,” is expression for letting the world know to be kind to their kinsmen.

The mice save the lion from this horrid fate of being caught in a net. They could have easily been killed saving their king, but they were spared. This is how a King should treat his people. They have done well by saving their king. The mice banded together, even though you could have been eaten. Thy mice are very brave and did a good deed. I praise them. Sacrifice is what makes up good morals. My son sacrificed himself for the good of others. Thou are strong. Thou needs to save the ruler of thy land.

Be brave. Be helpful to thy king. Do not take your people for grant it, Sir king of Scotland. Appreciate all they have done for you. The Lord was eventually appreciated for his praise and the miracles he performed for others. He was brave and was able to sacrifice himself for others. Are you able to say that, king? I surely hope so.

This fable also teaches bravery and strength in its utmost forms. It is the strength of these young mice that carry the king. Remember that? Thou have people working under you, helping you and making your kingdom run well. Never let it go. Never take something you have for grant it. Because what is a king without his kinsmen? Thou needs to be sure to respect and appreciate them. Thy king is of great power and is supposed to rule the land as well as keep order.

The common folk are unguided. In this fable, when they see their king in trouble, thy have no respect for him. Thy would have waited for their demands to be met before saving him. The moral of this story is to learn to mercy’s power in thy own heart. It should not be that way. Thy should always stand by King, and a king should always stand by thy people. It is a give and take relationship. Always stand by thy king. Always help thy king when he’s in trouble. As a king should always help thy noblemen when they are in trouble. Never take your noblemen for grant it, dear king as your noblemen should never take you for grant it. Appreciate each other and never let each other down.