The Return of Martin Guerre
The Dawn of Renaissance
During the medieval era, France had a feudal system of governance where the upper nobility siding with the kings controlled the lower classes. The social structure was fragmented into three unequal hierarchical groups consisting Kings, lords and peasants. The kings ruled the land and were believed to have been granted this right by God that they passed on through heredity. They incarnated the law and were the absolute monarchs. The Lords on the other hand hold fiefs that they rented to peasants in exchange of labor, fees and protection. The Lords consider themselves far more superior than the peasants or serfs and treated them unfairly as a result. Lastly the serfs, representing the vast majority of France population, approximately ninety percent, were the most neglected and most abused of all three classes. This last class was divided into two groups consisting of free peasants and indentured servants. The free peasants held their own businesses and paid rent to the lords in order to use their lands. The indentures peasants, however, where bound to the land in which they labored to earn their stay. When the lands changed ownerships, the peasants living in those lands immediately came under the jurisdiction of the new lord. That class was under the control of these nobles who squeezed the peasantry hard in effort to maintain their luxurious lifestyle (Tignor p 428). The peasants had no political say in the society and did not receive any from scholarly education. In the count of The Return of Martin Guerre, it is reported that the Guerres just like most inhabitants of Artigat, did not know how to read especially since they were no schoolmaster to teach them (Davis p 15). The Church of the middle Ages played a capital role in the socio-economical shaping of France. Because it was considered to be derived from God, it established laws that govern people’s lives....
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