Event Title

The Romance That Didn’t Last: Language Analysis in Chrétien de Troyes’ “Le Chevalier de la Charrette”

Location

Hager-Lubbers Exhibition Hall

Start Date

19-4-2016 3:30 PM

Description

Since the appearance of King Arthur in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia, the legend of Arthur and his knights have been expanded and evolved. The story of the affair between Lancelot and Guinevere began with Chrétien de Troyes and has since been elaborated on by countless authors, such as Malory, to function as the primary cause of the tragic downfall of Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table.

“The Knight of the Cart (Lancelot)” shows a seemingly satirical depiction of courtly love. Lancelot is humiliated and shamed in the name of Love and willingly accepts it. However, this reading goes against contemporary thought of the 12th century, as well as drastically deviates from Chrétien’s authorial tendency to restore the comedic balance of society within his narratives.

This thesis examines the probability that Chrétien, and subsequently Godefroy (who was charged with completing the tale), did not intend for the affair between Lancelot and Guinevere to continue at all. Close examination of the text reveals several profound inconsistencies in Lancelot’s behavior at the conclusion of the story, all of which imply a shift in Lancelot’s affections away from the Queen. Chrétien’s idiosyncratic use of the word “amie” further moves the focus from illicit to respectable love. I argue that Chrétien reestablishes Lancelot’s honor by creating a new and more appropriate object for his affections, Meleagant’s Sister. This type of reading restores the comedic structure of “Le Chevalier de la Charrette” and also upholds the ideological tone that permeates Chrétien’s other works.

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Apr 19th, 3:30 PM

The Romance That Didn’t Last: Language Analysis in Chrétien de Troyes’ “Le Chevalier de la Charrette”

Hager-Lubbers Exhibition Hall

Since the appearance of King Arthur in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia, the legend of Arthur and his knights have been expanded and evolved. The story of the affair between Lancelot and Guinevere began with Chrétien de Troyes and has since been elaborated on by countless authors, such as Malory, to function as the primary cause of the tragic downfall of Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table.

“The Knight of the Cart (Lancelot)” shows a seemingly satirical depiction of courtly love. Lancelot is humiliated and shamed in the name of Love and willingly accepts it. However, this reading goes against contemporary thought of the 12th century, as well as drastically deviates from Chrétien’s authorial tendency to restore the comedic balance of society within his narratives.

This thesis examines the probability that Chrétien, and subsequently Godefroy (who was charged with completing the tale), did not intend for the affair between Lancelot and Guinevere to continue at all. Close examination of the text reveals several profound inconsistencies in Lancelot’s behavior at the conclusion of the story, all of which imply a shift in Lancelot’s affections away from the Queen. Chrétien’s idiosyncratic use of the word “amie” further moves the focus from illicit to respectable love. I argue that Chrétien reestablishes Lancelot’s honor by creating a new and more appropriate object for his affections, Meleagant’s Sister. This type of reading restores the comedic structure of “Le Chevalier de la Charrette” and also upholds the ideological tone that permeates Chrétien’s other works.