Final Paper

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During the Medieval Period, women were typically seen as inferior individuals that were put on the side and portrayed as damsels in distress always looking for a knight to save her life. Ladies possessed only characteristics like beauty, attractiveness, and grace and were expected to have no voice appearing only as a possession or prize of the brave Knight (Paris). The Medieval Ages was a time when women were totally dominated by the male members of their family. Men were seen as superior figures that had complete control over every aspect of a women’s life. Women were the property of their father and brothers until they were sold off or arranged to marry (Goldie 126). Even though women were assumed to have minimal roles in society, the role that women still had an effect on men (Root). In the poems Lanval and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, going against the typical roles of women, the women were given an important role in society. The women in the poems were able to use their position to ultimately control the fate of the male protagonist. The women in the poems have a major effect on the chivalric values, honor, and status of the knights.
Marie de France, who was believed to be associated with Henry II and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine of England, portrays the hero in her poem, Lanval, in a completely different manner than other medieval poets (de France 200). Possibly influenced by Eleanor of Aquitaine, who brought to England “her love of the arts and also her taste for literature dealing with love in which woman play important roles” (Root), Marie de France puts the power in the hands of the women in her poem Lanval. The assumption of the strong, honorable man saving the woman is not seen in Lanval. In this case, Lanv...

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...tence centering around one or more marriages and subordinating their lives in many ways to their husbands” (Goldie 126), the women in these pieces maintained control and influence on the lives of the men in the piece. The women tested the men’s bravery and chivalrous ways with their influence. The mysterious lady in Lanval as well as the Virgin Mary in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight demonstrate the good that comes from the women who possess power. These women use their power to help the Knights while Morgan le Faye and the host’s lady in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and the Queen in Lanval represents the cunning manipulative actions of women with power. The women in the poems were able to use their position to ultimately control the fate of the male protagonist. The women in the poems have a major effect on the chivalric values, honor, and status of the knights.
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