Gender Roles In Marie De France

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The writings of Marie de France go against the gender roles of women from the majority of works written during the same time period. Her story Lanval shows this quite clearly.
Lanval is a young knight who has been forgotten by his peers. He feels “depressed and worried” because he is “without friends” and “doesn’t know where to look for help” (297). He goes out for a ride and is approached by 2 lovely girls who bring him to their “lady” (298). One thing to note here is that women during this time period were not allowed to own property. This mystery woman has a lavish tent that no king could afford. Upon meeting this gorgeous and scantily clad woman, he is struck with a love that “burned and set fire to his heart.” This is where the gender
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During a heated response to the queen Lanval tells her of his lover that is better than the queen in every way. Lanval immediately regrets this admission of love because he knows that “he has betrayed their affair.” This also goes against the gender norms of this era as the man has put a woman upon a pedestal and before his own possible wants. The use of the word “betrayed” also shows that Lanval feels as though his lover is his equal or superior. If the women were treated like property they couldn’t feel betrayed by the men. The queen goes to the king and lies, telling him that Lanval “asked for her love and because she refused him he insulted and offended her.” The king decides that if Lanval cannot prove his words about his mystery lover being fairer than the queen then he will be put to death (303).The fact that the king believed the word of the queen and that he is willing to put Lanval to death over the queen’s feelings shows that she is either loved, feared, or respected. Either one is a drastic change from the normal response to women during this era. The control that the mystery woman has over Lanval is very obvious when he repeatedly calls to her “but it did him no good.” It is

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