Selfishness in Ywain the Knight of the Lion Essay

Selfishness in Ywain the Knight of the Lion Essay

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Selfishness in Ywain the Knight of the Lion


In Chretien de Troyes' Ywain the Knight of the Lion, there appears a substantial amount of writing about noble men and women, and noble deeds. These noble acts consist of knights coming to a maiden's aid, regardless of the circumstances, and pravailing in battles in which they are either hopelessly outnumbered, or seemingly outstrengthed. Chretien's romance about Ywain also stresses a love that takes a man prisoner, a love for which man or woman would surely die for, and in which one loves another more than himself. The ep itomes of these characteristics seem to be Ywain and Laudine. However, Ywain and Laudine are both driven by selfishness. Selfishness in love is evident in both Laudine, and Ywain. However it is more prominent with L audine, simply because much of what is written about her in the story has to do with love, and although love is emphasized a great deal with regard to Ywain, more is written about his fighting evil, and assisting those in need of his strength an d courage. Saying that Laudine is selfish in love means, at its root, that she uses it to enhance her own welfare. This is first evident, when she finally realizes that she must find someone to protect her people, her spring, and herself. Lu nette convinces her to take the knight who killed her husband as her new groom, and right away Laudine wants to know about the "name, the rank, and the family of the knight"(30). Then when she finds out that he is actually the distinguished Ywain, she becomes incredibly excited, and wishes him there as fast as humanly possible, or faster. Laudine has no idea of what he is like, but because he is so well-known and strong she will love him. This "love" f...


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...ined in "love." Chretien writes about them that, "he was loved and held dear by his lady, and she was loved by him" (113). It is impossible to believe this statement, but that is what Chretien wants. It is also written in the conclusion that Ywain will never "visit any wrong" on his wife again (113). This is just one more statement that insults the intelligence of the reader, because as we have already learned, a man is of no use if he is not repeatedly proven in battle. Chances are Ywain will run off again as soon as Gawain puts pressure on him to do so. This ends the story with two fallacies that Chretien expects to be believed in spite of all the evidence he gives otherwise.

Works Cited:

Troyes, Chretien de. Ywain: The Knight of the Lion. Trans. Robert W. Ackerman, Frederick W. Locke and Carleton W. Carrol. [City,] Illinois: Waveland Press, 1992.

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