Characteristics Of Medieval Romances

When someone thinks of a medieval romance, that person will more than likely think of these common characteristics: knights, quests, a lady, magic, romance, Christianity, and of course King Arthur. There is actually much more to these stories than just “A knight goes on a quest. He meets a lady. And they all live happily ever after.” A reader needs to know what features to look out for in order to know for sure what kind of story he is reading.  
A Handbook to Literature by William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman says that a medieval romance is a tale of adventure that contains knights, kings, or distraught women. That person is usually motivated by either love, religion, or s/he is just wanting an adventure. Medieval romance was first seen in…show more content…
Medieval romances succeeded the epic of the 12th century, which was the main kind of story anyone ever wrote or read. There are many differences between an epic and medieval romance story. Epics tend to tell a story about a hero and how he must fight evil monsters, while romances tell how a knight expresses his chivalry through one or more quests. While an epic is more serious and usually consists of “everyday” life, a romance is more mysterious and usually about fantasies. Romances will more than likely be comical and end happy, while epics are very solemn and have a sad ending. Epics follow a straight path to the ending. The reader knows that the hero will fight some evil villain and win. Medieval romances are not like that. While the story does follow a slightly straight path to the end, the reader never knows what the protagonist will face on the way. The structure is very relaxed in a romance, while in an epic it is strict. The reader will know whether he is reading an epic or not by the amount of romance or love that is displayed. Epics do not contain love, and if they do, it is not much. There may be women in the story, but they are not usually part of the actual story. That is not true of medieval romances. It would no longer be a medieval romance if it did not contain romance throughout the story. In epics, the characters

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