The Writings Of Marie De France Essay

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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 role of women begin to obviously differ from other works during this period. First, the woman chose Lanval. In other works the women are merely property or prizes with no freedom to make choices of their own (298). Next, this mystery woman “grants him her love and her body.” Here again the woman makes the choice to love and make love with Lanval. This shows that she is in control of her mind and body. This is a shocking difference to the gender norms in literary works of this era. She also “gives him a gift.” She gives him everything literally states that “he would never again want for anything” (299). However, this comes with a stipulation. She tells Lanval that he “would lose her for good if this love were known.” So once again, she is…

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