Medieval literature is a challenging topic, for any student striving to read and understand a topic that is so far in the past. Today's technological world makes it quite difficult to understand a pre-internet time, not to mention a pre-Shakespearean world of literature.
The medieval period is a long-spanning period in literature that is marked as lasting from the year 500 A.D. to the 15th century AD. The medieval period is dated from the beginning of the fifth century and the fall of the Roman Empire to the Renaissance and the age called the Birth of Discovery.
The category of medieval literature is a very broad one, including all works from Europe and beyond for many centuries. Therefore, one must choose a topic that is very, very narrow in order to have a manageable paper topic-- unless one wants to write a very long book. In general, the narrower the topic, the better the essay.
There are several distinct themes that occur time and time again in medieval writings. They are the dangers of the seven deadly sins, the dictates of courtly love, the humors, the heavenly virtues (what one should live like), and the code of chivalry-- all medieval texts pay homage to these themes in one form or another and these would make good essay topics in and of themselves.