Upholding Moral Standards in the Society

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UpholdingMoral Standards in the Society

UpholdingMoral Standards in the Society

Outlineof the Paper

Thepaper discusses the analysis of “Marie De France” and “TheRomance of Tristan by Béroul” on the women’s marriage values androles that is in agreement with the courtly love as approved in thetwelfth century. The Béroul’s Tristan emphasizes on differentkinds of punishments (the rights husbands are entitled to in case ofunfaithfulness acts) husband would impose to their wives charged foradultery. The romance of Tristan as illustrated by Béroul is linkedwith barbarians’ and Romans’ laws. It states that despite theefforts made by the church on establishing strategies to controlmarriages, the old laws were firmly grounded in marriage customs. TheBéroul’s Tristan is full of entanglement of the secular valuesthat relates to the moral principles of laity. The women in Lais aspointed out in “Marie De France” are never condemned based ontheir general stereotype but rather be judged by the standards ofpersonal merit.

Itis evident that women with capricious nature such as vanity,selfishness as well as disloyalty that may end up with unfortunateresults are condemned in the society. However, for those individualswho express mercy, charity and sincere love in a love relationshipwith their husbands receive a reward by the poet. Every womanreceives flexible justice based on her character that is dependent onthe group one will fall in, that is pardoned, condemned or ideawomen. An examination of the contemporary societal rules andprinciples governing marital fidelity serves the best interest ofnarrowing the roles women play as well as the rights the husbandshave over women who practice adultery. The church also takes fullresponsibility in ensuring that law, as well as the court, gives theappropriate jurisdictions and guide people in the right paths.



Theanalysis of “The Romance of Tristan by Béroul”, and “Marie DeFrance” illustrate the thesis on the women’s marriage values aswell as their roles in agreement with the courtly love of the twelfthcentury. The Béroul’s Tristan put emphasis on certain punishmentswomen would face for adultery, and the rights their husbands areentitled to in cases of unfaithfulness in the family.


  1. The penalties and the rights a husband has on adulterous women in the society

Themarriage’s full description of the reaction over women’s adulteryis narrated, and after Mark had realized of the external loveaffairs, he sentence them to be burned at the stake. It is evidentthat Mark transgressed in his decision on administering legalpunishment. There is the relevance of medieval marriage concerning ascenario where Mark on his anger decides to burn the victims publiclyafter catching them in an act of adultery. The type of punishmentMark suggest is not justified and is horrific since the very act ofadultery has not been proven either been put on trial as members say“King, you would be committing a terrible injustice if they werenot tried first wait until afterwards to kill them. Sir, havemercy.”1Burning as an act of punishment certainly was approved in twelfth-century France for adulterous women but could be employed in cases ofheinous crimes medieval people could think of, which mostly wereheresy or witchcraft.

Thehusband’s right over adulterers is dismissed at court regardlessthe medieval law approval that a husband who kills his wife based oncommitting adultery has done a minor offense and should not bepunished. However, the court clarifies that death should not be theend punishment for adultery but rather be subjected to propertyconfiscation. The court states that people should not hand over womento their husbands and take the legal rights within their hands tokill but rather be punished by the court either by slitting the nose.

  1. The church’s role in marriages

Itis evident that the church’s stand, as well as views on marriage,were strict, purposely intended to promote sexual modesty in thesociety to save more souls. There is a direct link of the church’sinterest towards marriage control with that of the secular affairs inthe olden day’s reforms. The Gregorian Reformation act as thefoundation for understanding why marriage affected the church’sinterest. The reformation was centered on eliminating barratry ofmarried priests who could not deliver church services while onmarriage vows. It, therefore, let to the abolition of layinvestiture. Indeed, the church leaders viewed married state to be aweakness of the flesh. In fact, they upheld that individual’svirginity was a good nature of procreation and stating that uniting amale and female was naturally kind of marriage. However, the priestcould be exempted from such practices as they may act as a weaknesswhen serving God. Concerning the sexual morality, which was an issue,the married priest were at risk to be allured of marital sex. It isclear that marriage had not been stated in the church’s laws thatwould be the guideline to every priest in the society thus would beaccused of fornication.

  1. Love entanglements and women role in marriages

Thereare different love scenarios presented in Marie De France stories. Itis true that Marie approves of selfless love though experience ahappy love conclusion. For the individuals girls with selflessnesscharacter such as Le Fresne have the triumphant ending and livehappily in life. Nevertheless, the selfless lovers remain poor. Mariecharacterizes women to be an equal agency to men, and she states thatwhere men could have total control over marriage and othercircumstances, it is true that women can also control men throughdiversities and non-explicit means thus cause either tragedy orhappiness in the family. There is an irony attached to chivalry thatrecognizes women as the vigilant prize men should win.

Thesame scenario suggests a detachment from the court’s control. Layssuch as Guigemar, Yonec, Milun and Chevrefoil give details aboutwomen who stood firm for their love right regardless of their men’sharsh character of battering and keeping their wives locked away.Such order limits the women’s agency to play their roles. Thesympathy deepens on realizing that women begin to lose hope as theirbeauty fades. It is sad to experiences such circumstances in life,but a long-life desire is to build hope for every an individual.


Itis vital for the society to acknowledge and beware of the fate ofadulterers women (lovers). It is evident that both marriage and loveserve a great interest for both people in the middle age and thecurrent generation. It is true that the perception as to why adulterywas considered wrong was directly embedded in the concept of personalgain rather than religious morality. However, the marriage sanctityought to be grounded on the sacred duty as opposed to the socialresponsibility. The challenges women face in the society are sopainful that calls for interventions on how to merge the existing gapbetween women’s role in the society to that of men.


Béroul,C. (1989). TheRomance of Tristran,edited and translated by Norris J.Lacy, Garland Publishing, London.

1 Béroul, Tristran, lines 885-887, p 43.

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