Is one text more affirmative of fin amor than the other, or are both meant to be read as thoroughly ironic?

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PART B: ESSAY Directions: Choose ONE of the following questions, and respond to it in the form of a short answer essay. Your response should be 2-3 paragraphs, though you may write at greater length if you wish. All of the rules of good writing apply. First, make sure that your essay actually addresses the question and is not off topic. Second, make sure that you are not simply giving a plot summary but that you are performing the analysis that the question asks you to do. Third, have a clear thesis statement. Your thesis statement should be the first sentence of your essay, and it should present a clear argument (the point that you are going to prove in your essay). Fourth, have clear and appropriate topic sentences. A topic sentence is the first sentence of each paragraph. Each one should have an argument; each one should relate back to and develop the thesis statement in some important way while also telling us what point is going to be proven in that paragraph. Each paragraph should develop one and only one point. Fifth, use textual evidence to support your claims. Make sure that by the end of your paragraph, you have proven the point that you set out to prove in your topic sentence. 1.) Chivalry is almost synonymous with romance, but many of our texts treat chivalric ideals quite skeptically. Do some texts seem more skeptical than others when it comes to their representations of chivalry, and, if so, how do you account for this difference? Develop. 2.) How does Thomas Chestre’s Sir Launfal (c. 1380) revise Marie de France’s “Lanval” (c. 1170)? How can the differences between these texts be accounted for in historical terms? Develop. 3.) Refined or “courtly” love (fin amor) is central to both Chretien de Troyes’ Lancelot (c. 1177) and Gottfried von Strassburg’s Tristan (c. 1215). Is one text more affirmative of fin amor than the other, or are both meant to be read as thoroughly ironic? Develop. 4.) According to Derek Brewer, Malory’s vast reworking of Arthurian material constitutes a “tragedy of the honourable society.” Discuss the problem of honor (“worship”) in Malory. What kinds of contradictions inhere in the chivalric emphasis on honor, and how does the Morte Darthur attempt to resolve them? Develop. 5.) In Fitt Two of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the poet describes Gawain’s pentangle, a star with five virtues at each of its points. The fifth of these five points contains the following five virtues: “fraunchyse” (generosity), “felawschyp” (friendship, brotherhood, or love of fellows),”clannes” (purity), “cortaysye” (courtesy) and “pite” (compassion or piety). Write an essay in which you analyze the enactment, testing, or problematizing of these virtues. You do not have to write about all five, but you must write about more than one. So, for example, are these virtues compatible with each other? Why or why not? Why are they represented as being entwined? Why is it important that they are on Gawain’s shield, his knightly armor? How do these virtues get proven or tested? To what effect? Do they end up being more or less stable as a result of their having been tested? Try to problematize your argument—what questions are raised about the enactment or testing of these virtues? Develop. 6. Discuss the relationship between the deep philosophical reach in Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale and the principles of order and disorder. Why might it be appropriate for romance to interrogate philosophical questions by invoking ideas of ordered and disordered worlds and showing the effects thereof? What is the relationship of order and disorder in the tale, and why is philosophy continually inserted into the world of chivalry and erotic love to open up these questions? 7. In both the Wife of Bath’s Tale and The Franklin’s Tale, two Chaucerian romances, we find various characters who face ethical dilemmas. Compare and/or contrast the ways in which these dilemmas get resolved, and what particularly makes them suitable to be solved within the world of romance? What about romance makes it especially fertile ground to present and solve these problems? Or do these problems really get solved?

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