Plato Paper

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Paper #1 Question 3 Looking back at primary sources gives us a detailed account of the past from the perspective of those who were living during those times. The stories recounted of Raoul of Cambrai and Peter Abelard help explain the cultural shift that occurred from the times of Raoul (950-1050) and Abelard (1120). The importance of vengeance and envy describe not only the characters themselves in the sources, but also symbolizes the attitudes and beliefs of the society as well, which all lead to the social changes brought on by a more effective fief system and an intellectual revolution after the wake of the crusades. The main thematic focus of Raoul of Cambrai deals with vengeance. The idea of vengeance shapes Raoul's actions first by forcing him to burn the city of Origny which then lead to him experiencing a duel with one of his own, Bernier. Bernier's vengeance after the murder of his mother at the hands of Raoul, lead to him battling and killing Raoul. The vengeance of both characters lead to the suffering of both. Gautier and Guerrl can also be seen as central characters whose destiny was to avenge the death of Raoul by killing; instead they experienced an everlasting war. In "The Story of My Misfortunes," the main thematic focus revolved around envy. The envy begins with the abbots that resent Abelard and his piousness while they themselves live scandalous and worldly lives. Their envy forced Abelard to move away which then lead to his experiences with the creation of a new school in which he taught both theology and secular arts. Peter then created his own book, which in turn was thrown into the flames by his own hands, due to the envy of his adversaries in the church. Abelard's suffering in the development of his intellectual thought was stopped and stripped because of envy. The idea of vengeance being so prevalent in the first primary source is important for two reasons. One, the vengeance illustrates the violence that is openly displayed during the eleventh century by the entire society in every social class. Two, without vengeance, the vassals and knights would not have understood the root of their problems. Their problems were not one another, but instead with the King and his faulty system of fiefs. This vengeance helps illustrate the social changes that came about and changed the system of fiefs. The problems of feudalism and gift giving can be explained by Joshua Cole who says that, "In a violent world where no central authority existed, these personal relationships between lord and vassal were essential to creating and maintaining order. Nor were they neatly hierarchical. Feudalism therefore created no feudal pyramids in which knights held fiefs from counts, and counts held fiefs from kings, all in an orderly fashion." These problems were redressed in the 12th century by Henry the 1st who rationalized the role of feudal lord. As the professor stated, "He turned it into lucrative government. He took that contradiction the kings right to give away the fief, and the vassals desire to pass it on to his son, and turned that into good business for the king." Henry changed the laws and guidelines for fiefs which stated, " that when a man passes the fief on to his son, the king shall be owed an inheritance fee." Henry also added that if a "daughter was born, they too could inherit land but the King would have the right to choose who she married." (Lecture 1/13) Along with this change, conquest expanded because the priests decided to keep the violence away from the peasants and the church, and preached that the Christian people could not fight one