The Return Of Martin Guerre

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Natalie Zemon Davis’ famous work The Return of Martin Guerre is a story of a man who runs away from his family and home, an imposter comes and takes over his life, and returns only when the imposter is about to be found innocent in trial. Davis’ story has the new Martin Guerre and his new wife Bertrande, work together to invent a marriage between them. The story is about identity, culture and love in 16th century peasant society. Martin Guerre takes place in 16th century southern France, in a village called Artigat where the Guerre family is highly respected and is one of the leading families. Davis takes the story first of when the Basque Guerre’s arrive in Artigat and their quick assent in the village society. Davis explains that Martin’s father, Sanxi, arranged a political marriage with another high end family, the De Rols. The marriage occurred when Martin was just fourteen and Bertrande was ten. Davis does point out that even in the 16th century that was young. Davis shows the reader what life was probably like. She moves through their lives of Martin running away, his return twelve years later, and finally the imposer 's trial and execution. Davis ' main question with all the story is to answer what happened, and possibly explain why the people did what they did. People do not run away without reason and motivation. People do not take another person 's life without a reason and motivation. Davis says at the end of her introduction “What I offer you here is in
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