Essay Example on Medieval Europe was essentially a man's world









Like most pre-modern eras of history medieval Europe was essentially a man's world It was no secret that the roles of women in medieval Europe were distinctly defined as subservient and oppressed beings Most women were limited to house chores and the bearing and rearing of children How much autonomy they had was dependent on their status or whom they married Noblewomen had no more rights than their peasant sisters who tended to livestock and planted vegetables on the farm However the quality of life for a noble mans wife was certainly better and also less dangerous and she was often thought skills in cooking or medicine The code of chivalry in medieval texts raised women up as objects to be admired cherished and protected a venerated position similar to Mary the mother of Jesus Christ and the romantic love between knights and their ladies was glorified However the reality was very different their lives were difficult and far from the ideal or romantic These socialised beliefs also translated into literary texts 

There are also very few examples of gender equality in medieval literature or history In traditional medieval literature the hero was a masculine aggressive and violent male who exudes knightley personalities while the female was portrayed as pure and good as a reflection of the highly idealised views of norms and values society and morality In this essay I seek to discuss how masculinity and femininity were viewed in medieval society what role men and women played and how this affected the status of women in society in order to generate arguments for the extent to which the statement medieval Europe was a mans world is true In order to discuss the statement medieval Europe was a man s world we must first examine the position women held in medieval society in comparison to the position held by their male counterparts This is very difficult to examine due to the difficulty of determining what constitutes the position of women within a society of a particular era as it differentiates from theory to the legal position of women and the one they hold in everyday life During the medieval society their position was made up of a combination of all three aspects Thus we have to consider the distinct medieval ideas about women and their source

During the medieval era men were thought of collectively as knights merchants or crusaders they were considered the head of the family the sole male breadwinner and the most important person in the family The role of a woman was to please the men around them and act subservient to their needs as men were not expected to tend to their homes or children Furthermore the social status of the male figure in society was determined by his wealth and the amount of land he owned The life of the peasant male was difficult and they often served as servants of the rich and aristocratic men Men of the upper classes had more rights than those of the lower classes and played an important part in regulating society The views and opinions of aristocratic men shaped medieval society To conclude men were seen as powerful beings that were to be respected and admired Moreover in medieval society masculinity was not an innate character that every man owned but one that men had to work hard for in order to attain The importance of men in medieval society generated certain expectations for example a capable and strong male was able to go on quests and defeat the enemy in a righteous and knightly manner 

The tests men faced in order to attain and maintain their masculinity set a benchmark amongst their communities and those men who were able to live up to these socialised expectations were highly regarded This emphasises the view that men were typically the more respected and important gender However respect and reputation were earned through hard work and determination in which indeed men had an advantage They had an advantage because they were not regarded as the inferior gender This suggests that medieval Europe was in fact a man's world because men dominated society and determined values and norms for everyone to follow They dictated what was seen as wrong and what was seen as right and determined the course of society The medieval society was controlled by the aristocrats and the church and so what passed on as contemporary ideas values and norms came from the opinion of clerkly order in most cases celibate men who regarded women as ornate assets This alone suggests that medieval Europe was a man s world as women were at the mercy of what men always wanted as their male views and perspectives dominated the society They believed that due to the original sin committed by Eve who fell into temptation by eating from the forbidden fruit Eve was responsible for man s expulsion from paradise This story gave rise to the belief that women judged by their sex were inferior to men the morally weaker gender that lead men astray The control that the church exerted over society thus carried into literary texts as the role of women was dictated by biblical philosophy and the role and position of women were also further emphasised by St Paul who wrote about man's authority over women in the church to move as silent vessels

Write and Proofread Your Essay
With Noplag Writing Assistance App

Plagiarism Checker

Spell Checker

Virtual Writing Assistant

Grammar Checker

Citation Assistance

Smart Online Editor

Start Writing Now

Start Writing like a PRO