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Lanval And Male Fantasy Essay

  • Submitted by: jhamilton
  • on December 6, 2011
  • Category: English
  • Length: 727 words

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Below is an essay on "Lanval And Male Fantasy" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Female empowerment through a male fantasy

Whether or not it is spoken of around campfires, or sung in ballads of brave deeds, at one time or another man’s fantasies turn to his desire to be controlled, even dominated, by the female. Marie de France exhibits this longing in her epic lay entitled Lanval. The author does not stop there; just as there are always dualities in the universe Marie de France provides a view of women’s desire to be in charge of her own sexuality and through manipulation, the man of her choosing. Through willful desire and cunning exploitation, both female characters in Lanval, Guinevere and the Fairy, attempt to satisfy this shared inner desire, as well as controlling their respective immediate worlds. Though not so different from one another- they are both beautiful, and powerful- only one will ultimately fulfill her every ambition, and have forever Lanval, the object of her aspiration, and one man’s fantasy is played out.
Are we to surmise that Marie de France made her way through the pitfalls of a woman writer trying to re-introduce Breton Lais told with narrative verse, and in like kind both Guinevere and the Fairly lady surmount the submissive gender stereotypes during these Arthurian times by deception and cunning? The Fairy lady manipulates Lanval through his need to be rid of poverty. We are made aware of his financial predicament with “As one of the King’s company / He spent all of his property/ For he got nothing from the King / And would not ask for anything” (30-33). However, Lanval’s Fairy lady’s control was exercised through conditional wealth and sex. “This gift she afterward bestowed / Whatsoever thing he wanted / She promised him that she would grant it / Money, as fast as he can spend it / No matter how much she will send it… ‘Ami ‘she said ‘please understand / I warn and pray you and command / You must never tell anyone’ (132-136, 141-143). Guinevere, on the other hand uses a more direct approach to get what she wants....

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