Women In Marie De France's Lais

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In the courts of medieval France, women infiltrated the systems of constraints that tied them down. Throughout the town, the scandalous poems sung by French troubadours delighted the ears of many. One such troubadour, Marie de France, composed a book revealing the plights behind the screens of the court. Before she begins, she proclaims in her prologue, “If a great truth is proclaimed in the ears of men, it brings forth fruit a hundred-fold; but when the sweetness of the telling is praised of many, flowers mingle with the fruit upon the branch.”
Between 1050 CE to 1300 CE, the lives of women were defined by their status derived from marriage. However, because of a decline in the number of aristocratic women, the unbalanced ratio between men
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The father in the lay of the two lovers prevents his daughter from marriage. However, she’s fallen in love with a nobleman: “She found him engaging and thinking of her poor chances of married love because of her father’s arbitrary rules, she chose to do the very thing most fathers fear and gave her love to the young man…” Refusing to accept her fate, the daughter goes against her father’s will and chooses to devise a scheme with her lover to get married. Her rebellion against her father because of her infatuation represents women making her own choices. Furthermore, after marriage, wives were known for holding power over their husbands and persuading their opinions: “In France and in England, women often ruled territories and even kingdoms upon the absence of death of husbands. Women usually possessed their own households and circles of patronage, and it was widely recognized that women had considerable influence over their husbands.” Mature wives were offered “...freedom from supervision, control over the household, and participation in government.” Therefore, in the lay, when the daughter fights for her love, she is also inadvertently fighting for the power she could obtain through marriage. While the lay ended in her death, her refusal to follow her father’s rules that would keep her bound under his control forever shows her attempt to expand her power and
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