Symbolic Objects In 'Le Fresne' By Marie De France

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Gunjan Mehta Medieval Women Writers October 5th 2015 In “Le Fresne”, by Marie de France, the use of certain symbolic objects form the plot of the story and even advance the character development. The robe made of silk which Le Fresne is wrapped in when she is found in the trees informs the porter in the abbey and his daughter that the baby they have found is born of “high degree.” This is an example of a symbolic object that causes a fluctuating shift of the identity of Fresne based on other characters noticing or not noticing her nobility. Furthermore, the names that the two girls have also helps to form a continuing shift in the opinion that other characters may have of them. The ironic usage of objects as the two girls’ names as well as other symbolic tokens propose that character’s relationships with each other are predetermined based on material goods. Thus, women must behave…show more content…
The first sign of a material good being used to determine inner characteristic traits is the silk robe that Le Fresne is found in. In the beginning of the lai, the reader learns that the mother and her maid “wrapped the noble child in a linen garment and then in an embroidered silk robe, which the lady’s husband and brought back from Constantinople where he had been.” (Page). The reader is informed earlier that the father was a rich knight and so the reader may suppose he was able to purchase this expensive silk robe from Constantinople. Thus, when the porter finds the baby in the abbey he and his daughter notice the silk robe and instantaneously assume that the child is noble. This association between the silk robe and nobility is what provides Le Fresne a livelihood. However, if Le Fresne had not been found in the silk, the people may not have thought so highly of her or even taken care of

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