Answer to Question #174595 in History for Christopher

Question #174595

1.      Consider the fairytale aspect of the “Guigemar” storyline. Describe the magical aspects and what they mean for the relationship between Guigemar and the Lady.

2.      Guigemar’s unnamed lady represents a certain literary type: the ‘mal mariée’ or unhappily married wife who is mistreated by her husband. How is that theme explored in other stories?  

3.      In “Yonec,” how is the relationship with her lover described as though to appear sanctioned ‘by God?’ To what purpose?

Expert's answer

1.The first thing that catches my attention that would be magical for their relationship is that Guigemar was first found after being injured and laying on the ground by the woman, who originally thought he may be dead. She is married to tghe king and he is one of the most handsome men around, which drives all of the women to him. They instantly love one another, however they are not to do it in public. They have an affair, when one day she says to Guigemar her fair friend that her heart tells her that she about to loose him.

2.This is the same theme is explored in other stories throughout the book, mainly in one called Yonec. This is another story of an old king who takes in a young, beautiful woman to be his wife. He keeps her there for seven years, and though they have no children, persists in his overprotectiveness. During those years, she laments and cries so terribly and often that she loses her beauty and wishes for death. Similarly, as spring approaches, the lord one day leaves to hunt, and the old woman leaves the girl alone and locked in.

3.She gives a long lament, cursing the man's foolishness that prevents her both from happiness and from hearing mass, cursing her parents who gave her to him as wife, and cursing the fates which prevent her from having a knight to rescue her as she heard tell of in old stories. At that moment, she notices a stately hawk in her window. It flies in and watches her a while before it turns into a handsome knight, who confesses he has loved her for a long time but could not visit her until she wished for him. Her lament about being rescued by a knight has called him to her. She is quickly smitten but resists until he promises he believes in God. He gives a lengthy defense of his faith, and then proposes a plan to prove it to her: he will assume her shape and pretend he is ill so that the chaplain will come to speak a service over him and he can take communion. She agrees, and he lies next to her, but does not make any move.

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