Courage in Literature
Courage is the desire or option to face agony, intimidation, discomfort, the threat of confusion. Its synonyms are courage and bravery. It may be either actual or spiritual. Physical courage is defined as bravery in the face of suffering, death, or adversity. On the other hand, moral bravery is the desire to behave legitimately in the face of resistance, discouragement, embarrassment, or scandal. The topic of bravery is widely used by writers in their literature, as mentioned in the books below.
1. Morte d'Artur
In his novel Morte d'Artur, Thomas Malory reveals the story of the mythical ones; King Arthur, Merlin, the Knight of the Round Table, Lancelot, and Guinevere. The theme of courage is very evident throughout the book. According to Rich, King Arthur’s courage is physically illustrated in the start of the book as he was able to rise and lead the leaderless England (Rich 112). Through his military power and the Merlin counsel, he was able to confront and win very many battles. He was as well able to demonstrate his courage morally by going against Herod’s authority of killing all male children to the sea on a boat. Though the ship crashed, he had taken a very significant role in saving the young boys from Herod’s killings. Also, he was able to confront all evils in the land. The book indicates his actions in confronting evils in his leadership which led to his death. After realizing the immorality in two senior individuals in the kingdom Lancelot and Guinevere, he faced the issue courageously and gave their verdict. Most of the individuals had tried to cover their acts and refused to escort them to their verdict. But King Arthur went against all fear and went even as far as getting into a fight with Lancelot with courage. Hence; courage is illustrated physically and morally by King Arthur in the book.
2. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a book which shows the Christian culture. “It is Christmas day, and King Arthur, all the wives, and Knights have gathered to celebrate the feast” (Tolkien et al. 45). He refuses to eat until he hears a very entertaining story, suddenly a huge man bursts to the hall carrying an ax and says that he has come to test the honor of the legendary Knights, he asks them to volunteer for a very dangerous game. After everyone refuses to step up, King Arthur volunteers to take part. The act demonstrates the courage of the king despite knowing the consequences and the mock; he chooses to stand for his family against all shame. Gawain, on the other hand, stands up to cover up for the shame the king could have undergone and kills the huge man. Gawain has in several occasions’ demonstrated courage despite his compromising in the characters book. Due to his courage, he is sent to search the green chapel, he perseveres the cold nights, fought the monsters and eventually got to an enormous and well-protected castle where is well welcomed and receipted by the king and his wives. After the stay, he is shown the green chapel and cautioned ongoing there since it might be so dangerous due to the guarding by a very dangerous individual. But with a lot of courage, he faces it and makes his mission complete with victory. Hence, the theme of courage is well demonstrated by the King Arthur and Gawain the legend knight through their actions.
3. The Lord of the Rings
The theme of courage is as well illustrated in the Lord of the Rings. The bearer of the ring Frodo is the principal character in the book which has been able to show the theme evidently. Frodo was able to take the ring safely to Elrod. Despite passing through a lot of troubles in his journey, he accomplishes his mission. The ring is to be destroyed, and he has to take it to a particular place for the same. His courage leads him to take courage and form the fellowship of the rings (Rüegg 46). He courageously parts from some of the individuals in the ring fellowship who are the destiny distracters; finally, they got to their destination. He passes through a lot of struggles to get to his destination and become a king. He writes the book encountering his experiences, the fights he faced, and the wrath he went through which he later handed to Sam. They might have been weak in comparison to other characters, but their courage gave them victory. Hence, the book is very comprehensive, but the theme of courage in the fellowship and the ring destruction is very evident.
Living Tradition of Old English Poetry in the Lord of the Rings
The Old English poetry is characterized by several factors, which have been well illustrated in the Lord of the Rings poem. The work is used as a bible by many authors working in the genre. The work forms the basis for the literary genre such a fantasy. It has been used as the analogies by various individuals due to its ability to demonstrate the historical and mythological tradition with some magic grain, especially in grammar. According to Ruegg, the work is gray as well as empty without the peculiars that include the legend, history, and language (Rüegg 32). The poems are what links up the Lord of the Rings with the Middle-age earth and the events in the Silmarillion. One of the key traditions that the Old English poetry created is the anxiety which is very evident in work created at every start of the context. The fate of the Middle earth is created at the beginning of every sentence which pushes one to keep reading to know more. The plenty dialogues in the book, as well as the magnificent description of nature, is what helps in the understanding of the characters in a more efficient manner. Just like poems in the past, it has a lot of hidden tales which make sense when understood in a deeper way. The book talks about the philosophy, uniting for a cause, love, and the choice of evil and good despite lacking a universal religion which guides them. There are very minimal predictions that can be made at the start of the tale as at the end of the story it turns out that people who are less in power are the ones who culminate the mission in the ring destruction. The styles and themes used in writing the Lord of the Rings are so familiar with those utilized in the Old English poetry, for example, the use of repetition, suspense, and foreshadowing others in both. Hence, there is a close relationship between the two as indicated in the above context. There is also a significant value of the book to literature and can be used as a reference in the living tradition of the Old English poetry.
Rüegg, Christian. "Lord of the Rings". 2012.
Tolkien, John R.R., Gordon, Eric V., & Davis, Norman. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Oxford University Press, 2nd edition (31 Dec. 1968), 2007.
Rich, Evangeline E. Adapting Guinevere: A Comparative Study of Malory’s Morte D’Artur, Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, and Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon. Diss. Wellesley College, 2006.