Description of the evolution of Romance literature and the use of heroism as a common theme

Essay by JellyBelly024High School, 10th gradeA+, March 2003

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As the Romance evolved, the themes and ideas it dealt with changed. However, throughout its history, courage and bravery have remained constant themes. When it originated, romances were written, as the are today, in either verse or prose, and typically involved legendary, supernatural, or amorous characters. As romances developed, the themes changed to regard knights, chivalry, and courtly love. The Arthurian Legend is the basis for what many people today know as Romance literature. It is a collection of stories written in many languages with various cultures incorporated into its stories, which dealt with knights. These knights usually got what they were searching for. Such an example can be found in a poem about Perceval, a knight, who did find what he was looking for, the Holy Grail, even though he did not get it he was taught a lesson in the process of searching for it. Legends such as these originated in the Middle Ages and set the standard for later Romance literature.

Most medieval romances which can be read have an infusion of many different cultures, which is very apparent through reading. This is because Arthurian Legend, which would eventually be established as the standard for romances, originally dealt with Celtic mythology and traditions. In the 5th and 6th centuries, the Celts immigrated to Brittany, exposing their stories and culture to others. Once it reached this point, and troubadours and scribes heard the stories, they could be told to the common people, through both story-telling and written literature. As many troubadours traveled to other towns and possibly even other countries, thousands of people were exposed to this literature. Eventually small details were changed, and people began to add in stories based on what was taking place in Europe, whether it be war or peace. These...