Pure Love Displayed in “Lanval”
The Lais of Marie De France’s “Lanval” is a piece that portrays the core ideals of Middle Age fiction while breaking away from the mold. Much like most Lais in Lais of Marie de France, “Lanval” displays an example of love and the obstacles over come to obtain such love. The love shared between Lanval and his mistress, Queen Semiramis is the core aspect that sets “Lanval” piece apart from other fiction pieces of the Middle Age genre. Lanval and Semiramis share pure love that causes them to see each others outside beauty and their beauty within, while staying pure at heart by not concentrating on the physical aspects of love. Of all the Lais of Marie De France, the story of Lanval displays a love that is not only taken seriously, but pure at heart. Due to the constant mention of beauty, and its relation to the love shared between Lanval and his mistress, Queen Semiramis, this love may appear superficial. Yet, beauty is mentioned in a manner that expresses how Lanval and his mistress view each other as beautiful because of their love, rather than loving someone because they are beautiful. Through this, the tie between love and beauty is seen in an entirely different light. Beauty, the cause of love in so many pieces from this genre, is now seen as the effect. At the lovers first meet Lanval sits with his mistress surrounded not only by her beauty, but the beauty of the things that surround her. Despite the elaborate description of the “beautiful bed,” with “bedclothes” far more expensive than a castle and Semiramis’s beauty that “surpass[es]” even the most beautiful of flowers, Lanval seems to be oblivious (85-100). It is not untill she explains how she “Loves [him] more than anything” that he looks at her and realizes “that she is beautiful” (116-117). The love between them is pure because Lanval thinks that she is beautiful because of their love rather than the material things surrounding her. This true-love that Lanval...
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