Literary Analysis : ' A Werewolf ' By Marie De France

1489 WordsOct 4, 20176 Pages
A werewolf is someone who changes form into a wolf for a period of time, typically around the full moon. It is unknown when and where the first werewolf myths came to be, but one of the earliest recordings is of Bisclavret by Marie de France. In her story, the protagonist is a baron from Brittany, who has to leave his otherwise normal life for three days each week and roam the woods as a werewolf. As a nobleman in human form, he has conformed to and personified masculine gender norms of the middle ages, yet once he has transformed into Bisclavret, they are abandoned. To be masculine during any age, is to be in possession of the traits or qualities associated with men. The gender norms represented in Bisclavret by Marie de France are so…show more content…
Once the stolen clothes were returned, however, Bisclavret would not transform while others were present. He was ashamed, and refused to be vulnerable and naked in front of others. Only when he has been left alone for a time does he transform from Bisclavret back into the baron, regaining his identity, his masculinity, and his self-worth as he placed the clothing back upon his body. Even though the clothing was the physical object that was used to signify the emasculation of the baron, the loss of his masculinity, self-worth, and identity, occurred on multiple levels. At the point when the clothes are returned to Bisclavret, and he consciously chose to delay the process of morphing back into human form, we can no longer infer that the baron 's declaration of his need for clothing to become a man again, was strictly physical. His fear of losing his station within society, by appearing naked in front of others, was greater than that of remaining a beast. How masculine a man was perceived to be by society was based upon how he acted, the things he owned, and the power he possessed. Masculinity in the middle ages was fundamentally intertwined with the chivalric code – the informal and varying codes of conduct for the medieval institution of knighthood – which included courtly love, the honor code, and military etiquette.

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