Naivety as well as the longing to fit into society with a loving man and stable, well-to-do peasant family deceived an honorable woman. Bertrande de Rols’ young marriage had difficulties from the start. With the guidance from family, the Catholic Church and Basque customs, Bertrande attempted to follow the sixteenth-century expectations for women, but was misled by her own fear, loneliness and catastrophic past.
Bertrande de Rols was married young to Martin Guerre, an adolescent, active boy who hated his planned future in a town called Artigat. Their arranged marriage was short-lived with complications from Martin being impotent and pressures from the villagers. Shortly after the birth of their first son, Sanxi, Martin left his family and…show more content…
Sixteenth-century rules included marrying at a young age, daily female tasks, pleasing their husbands and being virtuous and honorable. Bertrande met all these of characteristics, but met them on her own time. While society viewed her as a reputable young woman she had personal beliefs. She withheld bearing a child with Martin until she felt she was ready and when pressed by family to separate from Martin she refused. These traits portrayed how Bertrande was concerned about her reputation as a woman, but also showed that when she was confronted with the loss or gain of happiness she knew how to maneuver around society’s beliefs about women in the sixteenth-century.
Even though Bertrande attempted to maneuver around sixteenth-century marriage expectations she was still bound by the expectations of society. When she was first arranged to marry Martin, she did not disagree because she never wanted to live outside or be rejected by her village society, but she wished to make it her own way (32). When Martin left, Bertrande was neither a widow nor a wife. As stated early, she had no definite position in village life and was forced to move back with her mother. Bertrande’s status was reduced in society after such events. After being abandoned for so many years, when the new Martin presented himself, she was eager to accept him into her life to finally grasp what it would be like to live as a peasant wife.