A Woman's Husband In 'Lanval'

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In the vast majority of medieval literture that have been written during the time, the role of wives in the literary works seemed to be placed into an subordinate role when compared to their husbands. During the medieval era, most of the women that entered into marriages did know the spouse that they were going to marry. This tradition of placing women within subordinate roles within the household become an accepted institution. Most marriages at the time were arranged by families as a form of agreement which would be bring more property and money to the husband of the bride to be married. At that time, most medieval woman did not have any say or protest as to the choice of their future spouse. According to most historical as well as traditional…show more content…
As Lanval clearly catches a glimpse of the partly clothed woman, he is smitten with so much love for her that he loses all touch of his “rational” faculties because of her beauty. In contrast to the traditional story of a “damsel in distress” presented by most traditional literature, Lanval presents us with a much more reversed view in which “Marie chooses to write about a woman rescuing a man.”(Goers 34) I can say with certainty that Marie decided to do this as a way to counter the obvious powerless role that women were portrayed during that time. Pam Whitfield seems to clearly understand the reason why this traditional role needed to be reversed by the woman in Lanval to assume the role of hero rather than the “damsel in distress” as he recounts, “Lanval, a worthy knight, betrays his lover, visible only to him, by boasting of her. Ultimately she appears at Arthur's court to prove her superior beauty and rescue Lanval; he chooses to accompany this fantastic lover to the Otherworld rather than remain a duty-bound knight.”(Whitfield 243). In this example, I would agree that Lanval is willing to give up everything including his knighthood to win the love of his imaginary lover which already has him completely in love with

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