Love In Lanval Essay, Research Paper
Love is the central theme of the two stories Lanval , by Marie De France, and The Prologue and Tale of the Wife of Bath in The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffery Chaucer. The authors have very similar opinions about the nature of love and how people react to being in love. One of the messages conveyed in both stories is the irresistible power that a woman has over a man who is in love with her. The authors use their characters to illustrate the idea that love and sexual desire can easily be used for personal gain. Chaucer and Marie make a strong effort to relate love to death in their stories. The authors use their character s actions and interactions to explore both the light and dark side of how love affects people.
Strong women are the driving forces behind both of these stories. In the prologue to the Wife of Bath s story, she tells the group of pilgrims about her five husbands, and she expounds on her feelings about love and sex. The Wife s beliefs go against the popular feelings of the time, especially among a group of devout religious believers. The Wife makes no attempt to hide the fact that she likes men, and one of her criteria for a husband is sexual prowess. (Line 610-615) The Wife is also forthright to the group about her desire to marry for money. (Line 315-322) The Wife must fight an uphill battle against the group because she is uneducated and comes from the country. Her knowledge comes from life experience, not from studying church doctrines like the others. She gains credibility from the others by sharing these experiences and by the views that they have helped to shape. Chaucer sets the strong-willed Wife apart from the other, weaker and obedient female characters in the group.
Marie De France uses the Queen to get her message about love across to the reader. The Queen is a sly, cunning person who sees no problem with using love to manipulate the men in her life. She used her power over Lanval to drive a wedge between he and Arthur, and her actions almost lead to Laval s demise. The Queen is an extremely beautiful woman who tries every way she knows how to seduce the knight Lanval. She is relentless when he tries to resist her feminine wiles. (Line 260 280) When Lanval succeeded in fending off her advances, she turned the tables and lied to Arthur, causing him to want to kill Lanval for treason. (Line 305 315) The Queen seems to take pleasure in the problems that her devious ways create. The Queen is a perfect example of how dangerous love can be.
Both of the authors make an effort to compare love to death in the two stories. The Wife of Bath survived all of her husbands even though some were significantly younger then her. Her husbands were all deeply in love with her, as opposed to her loving them mainly for their money. This is Chaucer s way of illustrating that real romantic love can actually be a detriment. In Lanval , the love that the Queen and Lanval shared for one another came very close to killing Lanval at the hands of the Queen s other love, Arthur. This is significant because Lanval had been one of Arthur s closest companions, but it only took the love of one woman to make them deadly enemies.
Marie De France and Geoffery Chaucer have a rather cynical view about the nature of love; neither author seems to believe that love can be a mutual, innocent feeling. The stories that they penned show love as a cold, calculated commodity that only leads to death and unhappiness. They show that love is used to manipulate and confuse the unsuspecting partner, not lead to peoples contentment. The main purpose for love, according to the authors, is for social and monetary gain. The most skillful and manipulative partner reaps the reward.