Postural Representations of Holofernes in the Old English Judith: The Lord who was Laid Low

Ciaran Arthur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

In the Old English biblical poem Judith, the Assyrian leader Holofernes is depicted as an adversary in particular ways. He is represented as an anti-heroic leader, an enemy of God and an immoral, beastly villain epitomising vice. The Assyrian army closely echoes its leader as extensions of his body. This representation is carried out in Holofernes' feasting, his decapitation and the defeat of the Assyrians by the Bethulian Jews. Judith is represented as God's handmaiden, who carries out heroic acts by her faith in God. Holofernes is completely subjected to Judith in the poem, which is made explicit in his decapitation. However, one way in which these representations are constructed is through postural descriptions of Holofernes and Judith; Holofernes is never shown to be standing up and Judith is always physically placed above the enemy. Every scene in the poem is framed by these descriptions of posture, which serve to emphasise the characteristics of God's servant and God's enemy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)872-882
JournalEnglish Studies
Volume94
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2013

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Postural Representations of Holofernes in the Old English Judith: The Lord who was Laid Low'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this