Courtly Love in Medieval Literature

Topics: Love, Courtly love, Troubadour Pages: 3 (1064 words) Published: February 22, 2013
The recurring theme of literature and song during medieval times was courtly love. A term coined in later years, courtly love refers to what was then known as fin amour (refined love) or amour honestus (honest love). It was modeled on the feudal relationship between a knight and his liege lord. The knight serves his lady with the same devotion that he would his lord. The parties were members of the court, usually knights, and the subject ladies, usually already married. Since marriage in medieval times was more of a business relationship than of a romantic one, the idea of love within marriage was not a consideration. “Courtly love” was then a sort of idealized love relationship that occurred outside of marriage. Within a courtly love, the knight's love for the lady inspires him to do great deeds in order to be worthy of her love or to win her favor. He extols her virtues to the point of suffrage. He laments with deep sorrow his unfulfilled desires. The courtly lover’s desire places the beloved in an elevated position, allowing her the opportunity to govern his behavior through both chastisement and encouragement. Thus "courtly love" was originally construed as an inspiring force whether or not it was consummated. The literature of the time reflected this “courtly love.” It was introduced by troubadours through lyric poetry and literature. Elements of the genre included emotions such as devotion, passion, joy, anguish, suffering, and betrayal. Popular literature included Roman de la Rose (Romance of the Rose), a story about idealized love, begun by Guillaume de Lorris around 1240 and completed by Jean de Meun, around 1270. Together they create a complex allegory of the romance between the Lover and the Rose. In addition, were the epic tales of the legendary romance between Sir Lancelot and Lady Guinevere of King Arthur’s court. The many stories about the trials and tribulations of their tragic romance ultimately bring about the destruction of King...
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