Yvain

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Yvain or The Knight with the Lion: The Introduction of Literary Strengths There are few novels today that possess the adventure which takes place throughout Yvain (aka The Knight with the Lion). Chrétien’s use of structure in this poem has surely influenced the modern day novel. Yvain was one of the first books to introduce the genre of Chivalric Romance, which many authors still mimic today. The genre capturing this tale clearly defined literature thereafter and was the beginning of a new era in story-telling. In Northrop Frye’s definition of modes, we can see that this poem is clearly in “Romance Mode”. In the concept of modes, Frye identifies literary works to be classified by the hero’s power of action. By distinction of any novels’ hero, the audience can discern whether the main character or hero has powers greater, less, or roughly the same as the audience’s. The romance mode is the second mode of Frye’s distinction. In this poem, the hero of the story is human, but is certainly superior to normal humans; it is a story in which the hero has marvelous strengths and powers of endurance. The setting of the story may also slightly suspend the laws of nature in a way that allows magical things to happen. As Frye says, this is the world of legends, folk tales, and fairy tales. In this novel, the main character Yvain portrays the essence of these qualities. Yvain has many instances throughout the poem, in which he miraculously overcomes obstacles. There was not one event in which he lost against another knight or creature. The fact that Yvain intruded on a fight between a lion and a snake, is in itself, marvelous. No human in real life, would risk their life for this situation. In this scene, as Yvain chose to slay the snake by chopping it into pieces, and the lion shows a sense of gratefulness. “The Lion rose on his hind feet and joined his forepaws in complete submissiveness and then he spread his forepaws out and bowed his head in great humility (pg 95).”...
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