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Are The Chronicles of Good And Evil Still Being Written?
Thinking about what compels writers to create, in terms of subject matter Good and Evil are will be discovered in virtually all genres. When you think about it, the reason is a logical one. Opposing qualities, such as Good and Evil, Right and Wrong, etc. Create tension in a story. And this tension, in turn, produces doubt and confusion. Two qualities which serve to pull the reader further into the tale. This ”plot device” can be found in virtually every genre you’d care to think of.
But perhaps the genre that benefits most from the contrasts and tension between Good and Evil, is that of Epic Fantasy. In this type of make believe tale, frequently the fate of the World is hanging in the balance With seemingly unsurmountable odds to be battled. Usually a no win situation. If this sounds familiar, it should. The Biblical tale of David and Goliath is one of the best, and first examples of this literary device. One man – the ”hero”, with or without superpowers, must do battle with an enemy infinitely more powerful. And, of course, their struggle is complicated by other elements that present challenges for the Hero. The hero must find solutions to the minor , but forminable challenges that will pave the road to the final showdown with evil. Over the centuries this elemental theme has advanced and evolved to become know as ”The Hero’s Journey” or ”The Hero’s Quest.”
It is exhibited most tellingly in the classic ”Beowulf.” This long heroic epic poem, recounts the struggle of the Scandinavian warrior Beowulf who must battle the monster Grendel in order to aid his freind Hroogar, the King of the Danes. After successfully slaying Grendel, his Mother then attacks the hall of Hroogar, and is also defeated. But the story, finally ends tragically for Beowulf. 5O years later Beowulf is fatally wounded while battling a Dragon.
One of English Literature’s most celebrated Epic Poems – ”Paradise Lost” by John Milton is also a high point of the ”epic quest” genre.
Once upon a time, there was an English professor who loved languages. As you would expect! And so he created his own language, based on Anglo-saxon legends, and a fantasy World to go with it. The Stories he wove around this theme amounted to three volumes. They were intended only as amusement for his son. Stationed overseas during the Second World War. The professor had no plans to release his creations to a greater audience; A little strange considering all the work he’d done. But, then again, aren’t most professors a little strange? Finally, though, perhaps because of the Professors son? – his three volumes of tall invented tales were published. The result – International fame, not to mention acclaim, for ”The Lord Of The Rings” Trilogy and it’s author, Oxford University Professor, J.R.R. Tolkien.
Another particular aspect of this genre, following the example of Tolkien, are elaborate Fantasy Worlds. Created to increase tension and mystery, thereby further attracting the reader to concentrate on the story. The frightening creatures of our folklore and legends – werewolves, vampires and assorted demons often represent, or give aid to, a superior ”evil force” in these tales. heightening the tension and suspense even more, is that these vampires, werewolves and demons often metamorphos from their earthly form, into more gruesome and savage creatures. The result, of course, is increased interest from the reader. Actually what the novelist had in mind!
It took me a while to develop an interest in this type of fiction. ”Too juvenile for me” was my earlier reaction. But I was fortunate enough to find an incredible source of information that opened my eyes and, most to the point – my mind.
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