Tropes In The Middle Ages

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The usage of tropes and imagery by film and videogames to create alterative interpretations of the past is similar to how the medieval past has been appropriated over the years. Umberto Eco (1986) defined ten different Middle Ages, in other words, ten different images of the medieval period that existed in contemporary western culture. This might sound unusual for a person with a casual understanding of history, but the collective image of the Middle Ages (and other periods for that matter) have differed greatly over the years. Throughout the centuries, historians, politicians, poets and writers have sought to recast and redefine the period for their own ends. As such, there exist multiple images or conceptions of the medieval period. For example,…show more content…
It holds up a mirror to modern society and provides a reflection of the Middle Ages diametrically opposed to our ‘modern’ sensibilities. Medievalism acts as a kind of alternate dimension where societies can examine, offer opinions and raise questions that might be considered inappropriate or difficult in other settings. A good example of how the Middle Ages acts like a mirror is elucidated by Lesley Coote (2015) with the film Kingdom of Heaven (2004), which uses medievalism to raise questions about the War on Terror and Islamic and Christian relations. Medievalist images can be nostalgic and romantic, or savage and violent. According to Anu Lahtinen (2005), the impression of the past offered by medievalism can be anything that might have happened in the Middle Ages, regardless of historical facts. Medievalism can also be adopted by non-historical films, such as the popular science fiction series Star…show more content…
This is noted by Juan Alcázar and Gerardo Rodríguez (2013), who single out Fallout’s usage of 1950s music as a cultural reminder that the progress of western civilization has come to a standstill. The Middle Ages is typically perceived to be a cultural standstill between Roman and Renaissance civilization and this trope is used to similarly denote the post-apocalyptic world of the Fallout videogames. This idea is repeated by Diletta De Cristoforo (2013), who argues that post-apocalyptic stories, particularly the Jim Crace novel The Pesthouse invoke an image of the medieval to create a post-apocalyptic United States with a ‘neo-medieval atmosphere’, filled with superstition, pestilence and insecurity. However, the Fallout videogames also contain considerable nostalgia towards the 1950s period, similar to how both nostalgic and dark images of the Middle Ages can exist in a single product. In a sense, the post-apocalyptic world of the Fallout videogames can thus be seen as a good analogue to depictions of the medieval
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