Return Of Martin Guerre Quotes

1027 Words5 Pages
Natalie Zemon Davis highlights Bertrande’s role in The Return of Martin Guerre. In doing so, she explores the little regarded world of female peasantry. Bertrande is a woman with two seemingly contradictory desires in life: a desire for independence and a desire to uphold her reputation as a virtuous woman (28). In a medieval society where womanly virtue is based off of obedience to the males in one’s life, these desires appear contradictory; independence in a woman is dangerous because she will be prone to disobedience, and disobedience would stain her appearance of womanly virtue. However, Bertrande manages to execute both of these desires throughout her life. Bertrande shows that a woman will fashion herself as much is possible in the confines…show more content…
With Martin, she only ever stuck to the duties a woman normally sticks to, but Arnaud is a merchant. When a woman’s husband is a merchant, she is allowed to engage in merchant activities as well, thus with Arnaud Bertrande’s sphere of freedom expands. She gets more opportunities to experience the world around her aside from the normal confinement a woman has to her house. Bertrande seizes this chance for independence to the fullest, and “What Bertrande had with the new Martin was her dream come true,” (44). For not only does she get more freedom with him by being a merchant, but she also fulfils her previous more mature independent desire for a partner she genuinely likes. Unlike Martin, Arnaud actually takes interest in her wellbeing and treats her with respect; this inspires the emotional bond that Bertrande shows she has for Arnaud when she tries to protect him from having his identity questioned. The dream continues to come true for Bertrande because she also gets the benefit of a good public appearance with Arnaud as she did with Martin. Due to Arnaud posing as Martin, in the public eye she is still the virtuous wife who is loyal to her husband no matter what they have been through. However, Arnaud is
Open Document