The Tain

Several times the passage mentions birds, horses and cattle, however they are in odd situations. The flock of birds in ‘How Cuchulainn was begotten’ were seen to destroy the human character’s land and were hooked together by silver chains. The foals were supposed to raise young Cuchulainn and herds of cattle are referenced often through out all of the sections. Based upon these references, how are animals viewed through the eyes of the Tain characters? Do they treat them with respect or as a force to be dominated? Feel free to bring in your own textual references other than the ones mentioned above.

April 11: The Tain, Feminism and Nature

“Nature” could truly be construed in new ways due to this epic poem. With much of childbirth driving the story, would you consider birth to be a part of nature? Is it outside of a woman’s control or is it her “will” to enact something upon nature and the course of man’s story? If is it something thrust upon her by nature, how do you justify this opinion? Overall, what is the relationship between woman and nature in “The Tain”?

April 6 Chester Play

The three shepherds seem to spend a lot of time talking about and listing various herbs and foods? Why do you think this is? Do they play a more significant role in the meaning of the play or in connecting the characters to nature?

April 6 – Chester Play of the Shepherds

We tend to think of shepherds as very connected with nature (or at least animals), and shepherds seem to be thought of today in mainly religious contexts.

Why then do  three of the shepherds feel compelled to “quit their job” after receiving the message of the baby Jesus? Does this mean there is something wrong with shepherding?

Mar 30: Sir Gawain & The Green Knight: Fitt III-IV

Fitt III is viewed as a break from the action of the poem. Sir Gawain and the Lord of the castle have agreed to exchange what they receive during their days. Sir Gawain stays at the castle and the Lord goes hunting. What is the significance of the gifts that they exchange at the end of each day or don’t exchange? Also what is the overall significance of Fitt III?