Views Of Courtly Love And Marriage In The Lay Of The Werewolf By Marie De France

Good Essays
Courtly love and marriage in the medieval time period were often two contradicting forces. Whether courtly love or marriage was viewed as right or wrong always depended on the situation the lovers were in, or the person telling the lover’s tale. Marie de France paints these two opposite views in two of her lays— the “Lay of Yonec”, and the “Lay of the Werewolf.” She also shows readers how the two opposite views on courtly love are sparked due to varying situations. Courtly love is seen in some cases to be just and beautiful while marriage is selfish and cold, but Marie flips these ideals showing also the “bad” side to courtly love and the good of marriage—all while giving her own personal opinions on the appropriate time for courtly love. Marriage …show more content…
Marriage is outlined as two faithful people who love each other and are both good citizens in the kingdom. The husband of the lay goes missing for weeks sometimes and leads the reader, and his wife to believe he may be unfaithful. He then reveals to his wife the truth— he is a werewolf. She cannot bear to even sleep by him and suddenly is not so faithful a wife anymore. What causes her to turn against her husband is not said particularly, but perhaps she had assumed her husband was cheating on her with a courtly love type affair, so she decided to cheat as well and now this reveal by him presented her an opportunity to leave her husband for her lover. In this lay, a conniving wife with her courtly love comes crashing down on marriage and dashes it to pieces instead of a stone hearted husband crushing courtly love. The courtly love is viewed as twisted and cruel, and the husband’s anger toward the lover is no longer malicious as it was in the “Lay of Yonec”, but righteous anger ready to tear apart the unfaithful couple. The unfaithful couple here were not rewarded with riches, but chased out of the kingdom for their wrongs. It is instead the faithful husband and servant to the king who is given riches to replace those his wife stole from him …show more content…
If husbands are old and jealous and unloving then courtly love is acceptable. However, if it is the wife who is sneaky and unfaithful then courtly love is unjust and must be done away with. Marriage is deemed suitable if the husband and wife love each other truly and if they are both faithful (and presumably close in age). It is deemed unfitting if the husband is abusive, crass, or does not allow the girl to live how she wishes to in her youth. Marie shows in both types of love the good and bad that can come from each and the emotional affect it can have on those involved. Depression, love, joy, and righteous anger can all be seen in the struggles of courtly love and its fight for a definite place in medieval literature. Courtly love is at time a joyous thing and at other times a devious one, marriage is forbidding and yet can be trusting and faithful. Marie de France illustrates both sides of each love, providing her own framework and guidelines for the acceptance of courtly love in

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    Meanwhile, naïve Polly mistakes his lust for love and causes herself pain and trouble. If both had been in love then the question of Polly’s dowry may have come up but it would not have distressed her family as much as it did. Yet, as marriage ends up being a contract that puts the husband in complete control of the wife the family is rightly concerned that the thieving MacHeath will ruin their daughter. Mrs. Peachum’s…

    • 1589 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Elizabeth has been portrayed in the play as a woman who is only a victim of her husband’s adultery. Although this is correct, Elizabeth feels that she may not have relations with her husband now that he has cheated on her. Throughout Elizabeth’s life, she has tried to be a good, Puritan woman. By John cheating on her, she has not been a valuable enough wife. Previously shown, sexual repression has caused characters to seek satisfaction in others’ sexual attention, but in Elizabeth’s case we see her sexual repression has caused her to draw away from her husband, thinking that she is not good enough for him.…

    • 986 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Not once does she feel the regret of doing what her brothers warned her against. Hence, she only substantiates her brothers' view towards her of being driven by lust. Further on in the play, her pregnancies further strengthen their view of her being an oversexed widow who has no respect for her family's reputation and customs. brothers Ferdinand and cardinal's motives, as suggested by Christy Desmet in “ In Another Country: Feminist Perspectives on Renaissance Drama”,suggest that the brothers “ build their argument on a litany of common female faults, because women are all driven by lust, widows who remarry are not far removed from whores. Naturally shameless, women also neglect their reputation and weak in both mind and will, they succumb easily to amorous advances and smooth tales of courtship”.…

    • 1811 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Being willing to die for love is distinctly out of fashion (which I believe it shouldn’t be). Feminists have criticized the romantic ideal as damaging women, idealizing thrilling but unstable, unsupportive men and counseling them to damaging self-sacrifice. The instability of modern marriage combined with the enormous lengthening of the modern life span has also made people more distrustful of love at first sight. People are much more pragmatic about their demands for a suitable partner. Hence our ancestors would probably judge us as hopelessly incapable of true love, just was we may judge them as emotionally disturbed.…

    • 834 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    It is made apparent that Calixta has no personal love life with her husband, which the reader may assume that her husband has no interest in “loving” her. This cruel temptation of love commits her to adultery, “‘Do you remember - in Assumption, Calixta?’ he asked in a low voice broken by passion. Oh! She remembered; for in Assumption he had kissed her…” (Kate Chopin,…

    • 862 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The cruel desires affect the Capulets and the Montagues because they do not believe a Capulet should be intimate with a Montague. The tragedy between the two families causes the tone to be violent, romantic, and intense. The deeper they get into the relationship, the more arouse the lover can become. In addition, the theme the forcefulness of love is effectively used in the tale. The theme focuses on the love between Juliet and Romeo and how their families pressure them to be with other individuals and not…

    • 1010 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The Crucible Love Analysis

    • 1122 Words
    • 5 Pages

    It would take much more than a desire for justice to spark such an emotional response from such a rigid woman as Elizabeth. The nature of her request to John reveals that she is jealous for him and needs him to be the strong man that he has been telling her that he is trying to be. Upon his original refusal to reveal Abigail, Elizabeth pleads, “Then go and tell her she’s [Abigail] a whore. Whatever promise she may sense-- break it, John, break it” (170). Elizabeth uses many tactics, chiefly moral and social correctness, to try to earn love.…

    • 1122 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Some may say these lovers have a wonderful relationship, but the way Oberon treats Titania shows that it is anything but perfect. Helena was trapped in a violent cycle of loving someone who does not love her back. Hermia and Lysander are the best example of love at first sight, but with a father that doesn’t agree it can make things difficult. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare’s play is considered it to be a erotic and violent piece of literature because of the relationships shown throughout, including Titania and Oberon, Helena and Demetrius, and Hermia and Lysander. Relationships are something that existed in Shakespeare's time that still play a huge role in today's age.…

    • 1025 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Candide, in the beginning, glorifies the beauty of the royal heiress and devotes his life to making her his wife. The aristocratic family also opposes the marriage of the two young kids, and Miss Cunogonde does not seem to be enthusiastic about the idea of being married to the young boy. However, after being reunited with the love of his life, Candide describes her as being unaware of her grotesque appearance; “she reminded Candide of his promises in so firm a tone that the good Candide did not dare refuse her”(Voltaire 410). Candide is shocked by her appearance and describes her as growing more hideous day by day through the lines “ her eyes bloodshot, her breasts fallen, her cheeks and her arms red and scaly (Voltaire 410). Even though she is considered as less than attractive to Candide, Voltaire’s use of irony in the situation is drastic because, in the beginning, Miss Cunogonde is not eager to be married to Candide.…

    • 811 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives”(English Standard Version, Peter. 3:1). This excerpt illustrates wives being subjected to a patriarchal society in which they must be obedient towards their husbands. In contrast, Gaustauv Flaubert’s novel Madame Bovary challenges this very notion through his brilliant description of Emma Bovary’s desire to explore life through lust. Her dull marriage with Charles Bovary had driven her to pursue other men in search of “fictional” love, which she considers to be true due to her passion of novels.…

    • 1258 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays