Power In Chevrefoil By Marie De France

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Many of Marie De France’s pieces show great romances and hardships, and a battle of power mixed with stereotypical male and female relations of this time. Power has a vital part in how it affects the characters within the text and the audience that reads it. Specifically, Marie De France’s “Chevrefoil (The Honeysuckle)” where power is one of the main social constructions, working along with gender to follow the story of Tristan and the king’s wife being powerless against the king. Gender roles of this time period were important in how power was addressed as men typically had power over women, but also of those younger than themselves. “Chevrefoil” has a lot of power struggles where the wife wishes to be with a younger man whom she loves, however,…show more content…
Within the twelfth century power was for men to pursue, command and manipulate, those who opposed the man would be punished. The women had no say, except if they were in a position of power, in that sense they would only be allowed to command the servants. This is vastly different to the world we live in now as women are now able to pursue a powerful position, for example, England has a blood queen instead of king, or women running for presidency in America. Marie De France appears to be much more advanced for her years as she believed that, “…true love can only exist between…persons of the same age, social status, and education…and they must be completely loyal to each other,” (Barban), so “Chevrefoil” appears to be making a mockery of this truth that she wishes to depict but has not yet come to pass. She wants a future where women can marry who they want and not be ruled over by men. Marie De France is scornful at the fact that the queen must be disloyal to her husband as she is not truly in love with him. I believe that Marie De France wrote her lais in a hope that one day her audience will understand and start to accept women into being in more influential roles; she wishes that she can influence women to want to become powerful and have more of a say in their future and who they will marry. Her lais seem to want a change to come by mocking how social order is in her time, pushing forward the idea of finding true love, and forcing the idea of giving women their own mind and love whoever they
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