The Characters Of Abelard And Heloise British Literature Essay

The continuous work of humankind to desire progress and liberty have designed the growth of the individual civilization, and mankind have more or less benefitted from the intensifying nature of human beings. Yet, additionally it is often seen in the history of mankind that individual thoughts will not deviate much from the values created by the worldview prevalent in the society. This is especially noticeable in medieval Western society characterized by Christian ideas deeply rooted in nearly every aspect of the culture. In this regard, the words of Abelard and Heloise may serve as a great main source to understand the prevalent thoughts of the culture. However the philosophies and manners of Abelard and Heloise may seem radical from the norms of the medieval world, their point of views toward the role of men and female generally conform to the social construct created by the original ideals of medieval women and men.

Preliminaries

The gender views of Western medieval modern culture was mainly built upon the Aristotle and Tertullian views that degraded the position of women into less form of life and characterized them as the devil's gateway (Lecture, October 09). Many succeeding Religious intellects such as St. Jerome and St. Augustine have also added to ingraining the idea of misogyny -hatred of women - in the medieval views toward the female sexuality, which created the gender stereotype that profoundly segregated the role of women and men (Lecture, October 09). One possible justification that created gender inequality in the world may be related to the medieval education that considered the Bible and Aristotle as unquestionable expert, and the limited amount of educational resources available during the time throughout the continent may have greatly constrained the breadth with their intellectual variety (Lecture, October 24).

Counterargument

Both Abelard and Heloise as well must have been inspired by these medieval Christian perspectives on the gender roles. Yet, you can argue that a few cases in the characters reveal that their gender views were considered extreme compared to the norms of the contemporaries. Abelard indeed located Heloise's name in the start of greeting which astounded Heloise for this was uncustomary deeds for men in letter-writing (Radice, pp. 56 & 63). And, Heloise denounced the concept of marriage in that it merely creates needless bondage between men and women (Radice, pp. 13 & 51). However, despite their relatively radical perspectives, their logical thoughts were eventually limited in medieval thinking. Abelard, even after his castration, could not free himself from the normal androcentric idea of medieval European countries that men will be the sole goal for the life of women. Abelard in the third notice constantly asked Heloise to live a pious life, not with regard to her spirituality but for his own salvation (Radice, pp. 59-62). Furthermore, Heloise's thinking did not go beyond that of subordinate medieval girl in that she attributed her decision to be a nun entirely to the command line of Abelard (Radice, pp. 69). Hence, they were, in a broad sense, not really much different from standard medieval women and men.

Proof#1

Throughout the words, Abelard and Heloise's perspectives on gender roles were strictly centered upon the original dichotomous views on sexuality. For instance, in the androcentric head of Abelard, women in the medieval society were seen as a weaker love-making who needs help of the stronger since there have been certainly things that "cannot be completed by women" (Radice, p. 39). Additionally, Heloise, despite her being truly a woman, did not appear to be appalled at the idea that men are more advanced than women. Instead, she instinctively acknowledged the weaker mother nature of women indicated by her conversation of her abbey which she called it "feminine"; she also described it as weakened, frail, and requiring a more attention (Radice, p. 49). Through the entire first four words from Abelard and Heloise, they both retained congruent views alternatively than discordant viewpoints about the masculinity and femininity, and this dichotomous way of taking a look at gender indeed didn't deviate much from the traditional thinking of the medieval society.

Proof#2

Abelard and Heloise's perspectives in the gender role in the society were also within their conversations on the men-women romance. As recommended by their arrangement on the gender views, their reasoning over the relationship of lovers appeared to go no further from the notion that girls are predestined to be an obstacle to men. Abelard boldly defended himself even in front of Fulbert, an uncle of the girl he mistreated, that it was Heloise, the girl, who helped bring the "noblest men to wreck" (Radice, p. 13). Also, Heloise fell into utter depression as she wept over the way the fate of women is only to "bring total damage" on men (Radice, p. 66). These cases claim that women were regarded as only harmful being in the culture. However, Abelard shown distinctive views toward women having a job of partner. He thought that men's transgression can be pardoned by the prayers of his partner, suggesting a woman, when hitched, may reconcile the relationship between God and her hubby (Radice, p. 58). Although this might seemingly suggest that the status of women is marketed momentarily, the fact that women exist and then be a facilitator of men's salvation is not different from the prevalent idea of the medieval culture that girls are supplementary to men.

Proof#3

The second-rate and subordinate character of women hitherto discussed were two unique characteristics of medieval conception of ladies in which Abelard and Heloise had both agreed. Yet, these negative views of women were actually altered into an admiration when it emerged to a matter of spiritual condition. Abelard recognized the superiority of women's spirituality having closer ties with God as he supported it with numerous biblical testimonies illustrating the best miracles found in the gospel were only proven to women (Radice, p. 59). Alternatively, Heloise did not seem to trust Abelard's speculation of women being more spiritual than men. Although Heloise didn't specifically communicate her contrary views on paper, she often highlighted the value of the objective over actions, ranking firm on her belief that all things are "vain if not done for love of god" (Radice, p. 69). In such a light, Heloise's severe criticisms on the hypocrisy of religion at her time suggest her implicit thoughts that not only herself but nearly all women had hypocritical aspect in them (Radice, p. 69); hence, she believed that women shouldn't be considered so respectful no subject how they might look religious in the eyes of the contemporary society.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there have been a handful of circumstances that Abelard and Heloise got opposing viewpoints on medieval men and women especially in the awareness of women's spiritual position; yet in many occasions found in letters, they both demonstrated steady gender views that men are more advanced than women. This well conforms to the traditional medieval thinking built upon the Aristotle and Tertullian views, which sufficiently support the discussion that Abelard and Heloise, despite their seemingly radical thoughts, could not entirely get away from the medieval worldview. Nonetheless, their continual initiatives to question and reason with the authorities have certainly made the society go forward. And even, the central medieval modern culture began to experience the cultural awakening with the influx of new text messages and ideas (MESH, 296). We surviving in 21st century have significantly more resources than every other civilizations ever endured.

O country, america, was also built on the humankind's constant need to find progress and liberty. Hence, as another major global change imminent, we should never forget our forefather's struggle for liberty and get this to civilization continue steadily to prevail.

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