The Last Duel by Eric Jager

Topics: The Last Duel, Froissart's Chronicles, Jacques Le Gris Pages: 5 (1720 words) Published: December 15, 2012
Story of the duel to end all duels

In the story The Last Duel by Eric Jager, fourteenth century in medieval France, a knight by the name of Jean de Carrouges challenges a squire, Jacques Le Gris, to a duel. The reason for this trial by combat, a court-ordered duel intended by fate of God to determine the truth, was to seek vengeance for the sake of his own honor. The wife of Jean Carrouges was the "young, beautiful, good, sensible, and modest" Marguerite. She was expected to maintain a ladylike mannerism and remain loyal to her husband. When the couple traveled to Capomensil to visit Carrouges mother-in-law Marguerite stayed under her watch while Carrouges set out on a journey in desperate need of cash. While away on his journey Marguerite claims to have been raped by the knights old friend and squire Jacques Le Gris, and given the information throughout the story I believe it was true. To demonstrate my theory why Le Gris did brutally rape Marguerite I will take evidence from the historical material and explain my perception on this true story of the "duel to end all duels".

The beginning of the story introduces the characters, discussing their backgrounds and family history. The two men that participate in mortal combat were once friends, and now enemies due to jealousy, envy, and success. Jean de Carrouges was born into a family line of blood and violence, but from this blood "sprang a line of fierce warriors". Jean's rank of nobility started as a squire, but after returning from a six month French military expedition to Scotland, the only real prize he had to show was his new rank as a knight. Before he left on this expedition he set a quest to find a wife, and thats when he met and married an heiress named Marguerite. The young bride was well-bred, beautiful and loyal, but her only flaw was growing up "a traitor's daughter". Her father, Robert de Thibouville, was a Norman knight who was known for betraying the kings of France. This could have been threatening for Carrouges and his relationship with Count Pierre of Alencon, a rich and powerful baron in France. Jean joined the barons court along with his old friend Jacques Le Gris, a squire and named one of Count Pierre's chamberlains and close with Pierre. Le Gris' relationship with the count gave him an advantage throughout the story starting with being given a gift of Aunou-le-Faucon, which is what sparked jealousy and envy from Carrouges.

In late 1384 Carrouges received an invitation from an old friend Jean Crespin who was celebrating the birth of his newborn son. Both Jean Carrouges and his wife Marguerite attended the celebration, and this is where Marguerite and Jacques Le Gris met for the first time, and only this one occasion. The jealousy that arose in Carrouges was well known amongst everyone in the crowd, aware of his resentful behavior towards Jacques they wondered what would happen between the two quarreling friends. Carrouges was known as a man who could hold a serious grudge, but the two set aside their differences and put the past behind them. At this moment, after greeting and embracing, Jean told his wife to kiss Le Gris as a sign of renewed peace and friendship. This gesture Jean would later regret in the future because the greeting between Marguerite and Jacques, and the kiss, could be what initially sparked the squires interest in the knights beautiful wife. I took this part of the story as a foreshadowing of Marguerites rape, and who had attacked her on that lonely night in Capomesnil.

When Jean Carrouges departed on his expedition to Scotland, where he earned his rank as a knight, he left his wife under strict watch. He also left Marguerite under strict watch with his mother, Nicole de Carrouges, while he embarked on a journey to Paris. It was clear Jean didn't want to risk leaving his wife alone in fear of her going behind his back. If she was under such strict watch, how is it possible that Jacques...
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