The Lais of Marie de France Themes

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Love and Suffering

The ideal of love is often equated with suffering in Marie's lais. In each instance where characters love one another, some kind of ordeal must be completed before they can truly share their love. If this ordeal can be overcome, the characters can live happily forever after. If they cannot overcome it, their love becomes tragic, but is heightened because of their suffering.

This connection between love and suffering is made explicit in Guigemar when the magical deer prophesies that Guigemar will suffer for the love of a woman, and she for him. Guigemar and his lover's suffering comes in the form of being separated from one another, as well as Guigemar's ridiculing from his society for not showing any interest in women. In the tale of Les Deus Amanz, the suffering is also quite evident, as the young knight labors to carry his love up...

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This section contains 1,098 words
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Buy The Lais of Marie de France Study Guide
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