Essay on Attitudes Toward Love in French literature

838 Words 4 Pages
Throughout the centuries, literature has provided a way to express oneself, while at the same time, allowing the reader to experience a different kind of life through the stories. As a creation of humans, literature tends to reflect the ideals and thoughts of its writer, while also providing a glimpse into the society, in which the writer penned the story. Perhaps one of the greatest and most intriguing human emotions is love and this theme is present in literature from its beginning to the present day. However, as people and societies changed and evolved, so did the attitudes toward love change with the times. In Medieval French Literature, love is often portrayed as an unreachable emotion and is associated with challenges and suffering, reflecting a society, in which arranged marriages were common and based on title and wealth instead of love. This view of love changes in the French Renaissance, where the focus shifts to material and physical pleasures, reflecting a society, that is ready to change the old values and create something new and rendered to the individual.
The Medieval Period in France lasted seven centuries and encompassed a society with very strict rules. Marriage oftentimes was based on wealth, while love was considered a fleeting emotion that could not be a basis of life. In stories, such as The Lay of the Nightingale, Marie de France, the writer, gives a glimpse into an unhappy marriage, in which the lady had to marry an older lord, even though she was…