Beowulf

Classified in English

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Margery Kempe: Medieval women
Women were part of a contract in a marriage, they were used as trade. The church saw them as seducers and someone you could not trust.
The active role of women in society was the femme sole:
a woman who has managed a business, for example: butcher´s chandelier´s, net makers, spinster... Another way to participate in the economy was Bye industries as brew ale, sewing, selling clothes...
The Guilds did not allow women to be part of the group but they allowed the widows and the daughter´s of guildsmen could run a business. For example, the wife of Bath (Chaucer). She is an independient woman who walks alone and she is sexually free. 
Margery Kempe was a mystic who travelled widely on pilgrimage: to Jerusalem, Rome, Compostella and Poland. She dictated, probably in the late 1420s, her book of Margery Kempe, which recounts her visions and experiences of a more general kind: her temptations to lechery, her travels and her trial for heresy.

Thomas Malory
The best known version of Arthur´s story is Morte d´Arthur written by Sir Thomas Malory and published in 1485. He translated and adapted the stories, painting a picture of a golden age of chivalry and a unified kingdom ruled by a noble aristocracy. The War of the Roses was a kind of Civil War fighting for the crown. It was a very destructive period and he reflected society as they wished to be. Morte D´Arthur was witten in prison (he was charged with crimes of violence, theft and rape). The author repeats in different parts that much of the work was translated from a "French book".

Malory´s version: 
Arthur becomes king by drawing a magic sword out of an anvil in London, which no other man could do. Guided by Merlin, he subdues all enemies. Excalibur replaces the original sword. He marries Guinevere and sets up court at Camelot. He establishes the order of the Round Table. 
Seeds of disaster: Arthur´s son, Modred, is fathered in an incestuous affair with his half-sister, Morgan le Fay. 

Who wrote King Arthur before Tomas Malory?
Arthur is mentioned in poems of the period 6th-9th centuries, but Geoffrey of Monmouth is the first one who gave literary from to the Saga surrounding Arthur in his History of the Kings in Britain. He wrote of real events, but he also drew heavily on his imagination Merlin the magician, the Magical sword Excalibur, the Isle of Avalon…
With the passing of time, new elements were added to the legend, like Arthur´s half-sister, the enchantress Morgan le Fay, who ruled over Avalon.
In 1155 the poet Robert Wace added the Round table to the story. In the 12th century, the French writer Chrétien de Troyes added Lancelot and the Holy Grail, beginning the genre of Arthurian romance.
His trusted friend Lancelot shares a secret passion with Arthur´s wife.


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