Date of Award
Since the appearance of King Arthur in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae, the legend of Arthur and his knights has continually expanded and evolved. The story of the affair between Lancelot and Guinevere began with Chrétien de Troyes and has since been embellished by countless authors, such as Malory, who view it as causing the tragic downfall of Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table.
Le Chevalier de la Charette 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 twelfth century, and drastically deviates from Chrétien ’s authorial pattern to restore the comedic balance of society within his narratives.
This thesis examines the possibility that Chrétien, and subsequently Godefroy, the man tasked with completing the Charette, did not intend for the affair between Lancelot and Guinevere to continue at all. Through a close examination of the text, we see that Chrétien establishes a distinct pattern of language use. I argue that Chrétien attempts to reestablish Lancelot’s honor by creating a new and more appropriate object for his affections, Meleagant’s Sister. Indeed the text contains several profound inconsistencies in Lancelot’s behavior at the conclusion of the story, which direct Lancelot’s affections away from the Queen to a more suitable match. This type of reading restores the comedic structure of Le Chevalier de la Charette and also upholds the ideological pattern of promoting relationships that end in marriage that Chrétien establishes in his other works.
Pafford, Elizabeth F., "The Romance That Didn’t Last: An Analysis of Language in Chrétien de Troyes Le Chevalier de la Charette" (2017). Masters Theses. 834.
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