Empowering Women through Courtly Love Essay

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During the Medieval time period, a woman would generally be forced to depend upon a man for her livelihood. However, in the world of courtly love, some could say that this was the first idea of goddess worship. Where the man is unable to survive without his beloved. As a result of this, her love causes him to achieve noble deeds, and become obedient to her in hopes of winning her affection. In The Lais of Marie de France, specifically Chevrefoil and Yonec, the author does not follow all of the rules of courtly love, yet she does illustrate to the reader the relationship between the man and his woman. She describes the beauty, intelligence, and wisdom of her female characters, giving them power over the men who love them. While Marie de…show more content…
She is the one with the upper hand in the relationship, and the one with more power. The queen not only fails to express her sadness during times of separation, but she also fails to verbally express her love and need for him. This also gives her more power, leaving the man vulnerable and feeling as though he must fulfill her every desire in order to win her love. Throughout Chevrefoil, the queen never proclaims her love for Tristram. Instead, the only time her love for him is declared is when Tristram himself declares it: "Sweet love, so it is with us: without me you cannot survive, nor I without you" (“Chevrefoil” 110). At this point, it is unclear to the reader if the queen actually loves him, or if she is just using the power she holds over him to get what she wants. Through Tristram's declaration of love, it is very evident that he is unable to survive without her. He would certainly stop at nothing to keep the queen at his side, as his nobility depends on it. In Yonec, the woman continues to use the man as she sees fit. After being locked in a tower for years, "the lady is in great distress" (“Yonec” 86). Burgess describes the man she was married to as intensely jealous. At this point, the lady is yearning for a man, and when one just happens to conveniently appear in her chamber and professes his undying love for her, she is overwhelmingly quick to take advantage
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