The Adulterous Medieval Times
Since the beginning of written history, marriage is portrayed as a sacred vow by almost all religions and peoples throughout the Earth while adultery is almost always looked upon as wrong. Marie de France was one of the few female writers in medieval times which made her very influential and well respected. In her book titled “The Lais of Marie de France,” she gives the reader a look into the affairs and adultery that was going on in the medieval courts. It seems Marie de France does not particularly agree with adultery, but her style of writing leads the reader to see that it is not so bad, depending on the situation. It is almost as if she separates the lais into two distinct groups. The first of which are the stories where Marie tries to make the reader feel compassion and sorry for the lovers like in “Lanval” and “Yonec.” The other group is where the reader is made to feel anger and displeasure toward the couples like in “Equitan” and “Bisclavret.”
IN the lai “Yonec,” there is a young woman who has been locked away by her much older husband. By the end of just the first page, the reader is meant to feel this woman’s pain and how hard her life must be to be marries to this horrible man. She really cannot do anything about her terrible situation though since she is married to him which means that she is basically his property. The thing that makes this lai different from the others is that this woman prays to God to have someone come and save her. God answers her prayers by sending a hawk that turns into a courtly knight that lovers her. These two become adulterous lovers but it seems respectable since it was God, Himself, that sent this woman a new lover. The affair is not just about sex, rather that these two share a spiritual connection and relationship which makes the union even more respectable with the standards of the time. When her husband realizes what is going on he sets a trap and mortally wounds the knight. The lady...
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