This sample paper on Lanval offers a framework of relevant facts based on the recent research in the field. Read the introductory part, body and conclusion of the paper below.
Pure Love Displayed in “Lanval” The Lais of Marie De France’s “Lanval” is a piece that portrays the core ideals of Middle Age fiction while breaking away from the mold. Much like most Lais in Lais of Marie de France, “Lanval” displays an example of love and the obstacles over come to obtain such love.
The love shared between Lanval and his mistress, Queen Semiramis is the core aspect that sets “Lanval” piece apart from other fiction pieces of the Middle Age genre.
Lanval and Semiramis share pure love that causes them to see each others outside beauty and their beauty within, while staying pure at heart by not concentrating on the physical aspects of love. Of all the Lais of Marie De France, the story of Lanval displays a love that is not only taken seriously, but pure at heart.
Due to the constant mention of beauty, and its relation to the love shared between Lanval and his mistress, Queen Semiramis, this love may appear superficial.
Yet, beauty is mentioned in a manner that expresses how Lanval and his mistress view each other as beautiful because of their love, rather than loving someone because they are beautiful. Through this, the tie between love and beauty is seen in an entirely different light. Beauty, the cause of love in so many pieces from this genre, is now seen as the effect.
At the lovers first meet Lanval sits with his mistress surrounded not only by her beauty, but the beauty of the things that surround her.
Despite the elaborate description of the “beautiful bed,” with “bedclothes” far more expensive than a castle and Semiramis’s beauty that “surpass[es]” even the most beautiful of flowers, Lanval seems to be oblivious (85-100). It is not untill she explains how she “Loves [him] more than anything” that he looks at her and realizes “that she is beautiful” (116-117). The love between them is pure because Lanval thinks that she is beautiful because of their love rather than the material things surrounding her.
This true-love that Lanval and Semiramis share begins unveiling the Queen’s beauty, while granting Lanval beauty and wealth that he did not posses before. Lanval transforms from “a strange man” to with little friends and little to offer into a man full of “rich gifts” for strangers and friends alike as his mistress continues to shower him with good fortune (36, 209). Because the love between Lanval and Queen Semiramis grants the Queen recognition of her inner beauty while granting Lanval eauty through good fortune, their love symbolizes the idea that pure love betters us. The purity of the love shared between Lanval and Semiramis is also displayed through constant symbolism of white that coincides with the mention of the mistress. Even at their first meeting, although “her whole side is uncovered,” this image is portrayed as elegant rather than seductive due to the “white ermine” that she is draped with (102). Not only is Queen Semiramis draped in white, it also explains that she is “whiter than the hawthorn flower” herself (102-105).
Although she has many superficial objects, including all the riches in the world, as well as more beauty than anyone has seen, the confession of her love is humble. Semiramis addresses Lanval as “sweet love,” and continues on to explain how she loves him “more than anything” (116). In her purity, she is oblivious of her own worth as she so humbly offers herself to Lanval. The purity of Semiramis’ being remains constant throughout “Lanval” as she reappears ridding a “white palfrey” while wearing a “white linen shift” (150,160).
Although it is Lanval who betrays Semiramis, she humbly states before the King Arthur “I do not want him to suffer” (618). The constant symbolism of purity relating white to Semiramis’ being further supports the importance of the pure love shared between Lanval and Semiramis. In contradiction of purity it is mentioned that Semiramis “granted [Lanval] her love and her body” (133). Yet, the way Queen Semiramis offers herself to Lanval is not in a way that displays her body as an object as in most pieces in Lais of Marie de France.
This offering of Semiramis’ body is more of an expression of the love and devotion she has for him. Lanval is informed by his Queen Semiramis that not only must their affair be secrete, but she will not be there to “satisify all [his] desires” (168). Regardless he is “very happy” just to have her love (171). Rather than an in depth description of how Semiramis offers her body, there are brief moments that display vulnerability.
Just before leaving his new found love, “[Lanval] kissed his lady often and held her close”, displaying a form of innocent affection that is not often shown in fictional pieces of Marie de France’s time (187). Innocence is a form of purity, that is also portrayed as Lanval is before King Arthur, the sight of Semiramis causes “the blood to [rise] to his face” (595). The repetition of purity throughout the piece continually brings the theme back to the idea of pure love. The purity experienced between Lanval and Queen Semiramis strengthens their love while bettering each other.
As they obtain knowledge of each others’ beauty and nobility they become strong enough to face the outside world and all its impurities, such that King Arthur’s Queen. With the absence of love derived from solely physical desire, as well as the purity of Semiramis’ being; Lanval and his mistress are an epitome of pure love in a genre that seldom displayed such emotions between adults. ? Work cited Marie de France. Lanval. Trans. Robert Hanning and Joan Ferrante. The Lais of Marie de Frane, Grand Rapids, MI: Bake 2 Books, 1995.