The Return of Martin Guerre

Topics: Marriage, Martin Guerre, Impostor Pages: 4 (1610 words) Published: April 11, 2011
The return of Martin Guerre is a story of a peasant who left his wife, Bertrande and his son. After several years, a man called Arnaud du Tilh impersonated Martin Guerre, stole his identity and lived under Martin’s name for three years until he became accused of this act. He almost convinced the court that he was Martin Guerre until the real Martin walked into the curt. Davis, the author of the book illustrates why Martin Guerre left his family and inheritance, how the imposter came into Bertrande’s life , and how economic and religion were playing a role in the sixteenth century society. The fact that impostor was able to fool Bertrande could be due to the situation that she was facing at that time or could be simply due to his charm, ability to lie, and his similarity in physical appearance to Martin. However, Bertrande’s situation could be the most powerful reason as she lived in a world “where organizational structure and public identity were associated exclusively with males” (29). Since, the marriage laws of the time did not allow a woman to seek divorce and remarry, unless having two witnesses confirming the death of the husband with a proof, therefore, Bertrande who was left by her husband had no choice but wait for his return. In fact she was not deceived by Arnaud du Tilh but she actually chose to use her feminine intelligence and cooperated with this man in order to fulfill her role as a wife in society. Davis also reveals people's perceptions of marriage in sixteenth century. Marriages of the time were often arranged more for economic reasons rather than any idea of romantic love. Marriage of Martin and Bertrande was not far from this ideology. It was a well-established contract between a farmer family and the de Rols who were a member of local merchant. As much as this marriage looked good to both families from the economic point of view, it did not satisfy the couple. Nonetheless, there did not seem to be much of a connection between the two and...
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