December 6, 2018
The gender role and lessons played in Lanval.
In stories and literatures, we tend to always see the male characters as the heroes. They are always in charge, they always come to the rescue whenever something is wrong, no matter what the situation is, they are always the hero of the day. In Lanval by Marie De France, the role completely switched, and a woman is the hero. Aside from dismantling gender stereotypes, Marie De France also introduced temptation motif, love/loyalty, abuse of power and manipulation in her story.
Lanval known for his “valour, generosity, beauty, and prowess” (De France 73) was one of King Arthur’s knights and was always overlooked. It all started when the king was giving out gifts to his knights, he “apportioned wives and lands to all, save to one who had served him: this was Lanval, whom he did not remember, and for whom no one put in a good word” (De France 73). Lanval was described in the story has a someone who has nothing. Even though he was hated and overlooked by many, Lanval was humble and served the king well. He decided to leave town and be by himself. There he saw two damsels coming his way. They greeted him and gave him the message which they were sent to deliver, “Sir, Lanval, my damsel, who is very worthy, wise, and fair, has sent us for you. Come with us, for we will conduct you safely…” (De France 74). And that is where our temptation motif comes in; Lanval did not think twice about who, and what their intentions were. The story continued saying, “the knight went with them, disregarding his horse which gazing before him in the meadow” (De France 74). As this quote stated, Lanval simply went along with them with no questions ask. It shows how easily human can fall into temptation. He did not bother questioning why they were addressing him, nor why someone sent for him, he blindly followed. He mentioned how the girls were beautiful and seem rich, which could be why he went with them, which was the temptation motif.
Over the course of the narrative, love and loyalty played a big role. It is most men’s dream to have women wanting them or simply throw themselves at them but for Lanval it was not the case, one woman was enough for him. After Lanval’s encounter with the maiden, they both fell in love. However, with her love came one condition, and that condition was that their love must stay a secret, if not he will lose her and never see her again. That same year, the queen tried to seduce him, but he rejected her, and because of that she accused him of attempting to seducing her and got him put on trial by the king. Despite the fact that the queen threw herself at him, he remained loyal to the king and the maiden (fairy queen). The queen's unsee...