Romance Of Tristan And Iseult By Joseph Bedier And The Odyssey

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Romance stories are often thought of as tales of physical affection and love. However, from the twelfth to the sixteenth century, romance stories fell under the genre of chivalric romance (Norton A23). Stories of chivalric romance have a distinct “tripartite structure of social integration, followed by disintegration… [and] reintegration in a happy ending” and consist of “aristocratic social milieux” (A23). However, romances occurred long before the 12th century. For example, The Odyssey by Homer is an example romance involving “separation, testing and travel...and the premise of, a final homecoming and recognition” from centuries before the rise of chivalric romance (119). Stories such as The Romance of Tristan and Iseult by Joseph…show more content…
For medieval readers, romance was the genre of choice and the subtlety this genre prompted a subcategory of romance necessitating questions related to love (Norton 11). Tristan and Isolde are lovers bound together by the effects of the love potion, initially believed to be wine by Iseult, however what “she had found [was] not wine - but Passion and Joy most sharp, and Anguish without end, and Death” (Bédier 38). Therefore, this book leads the reader to question if love is a product of a strong relationship or the result of actions and situations. For example, the love of Tristan and Iseult was a product of the love potion which caused Tristan and Iseult to “love each other with their every single sense and with their every thought, forever…” (37). Because the love of Tristan and Iseult does not have a traditional foundation, the love potion also causes the lovers to challenge traditions about love. For example, Tristan and Iseult consummate their love after drinking the love potion, which goes against traditions of chivalric love and more specifically courtly love (TVtropes courtly love). Additionally, both Tristan and Iseult are willing to give up privileges in order to live together and love each other. While speaking to Ogrin, a hermit that often represents traditional catholic values, Tristan says that he “would rather beg my life long and live of roots and herbs with Iseult than, lacking her, be king of a wide

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