Marie's Honorable Adulterous Women and Worthy Illegitimate Children in "Yonec" and "Milun"
Preuitt, Kimberly L.
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Marie de France defends noblewomen in the Middle Ages who commit adultery in two of her lais, “Yonec” and “Milun,” when members of society would have executed the women for their infidelity. Marie also places value on the women’s illegitimate sons by giving them power, prestige, and land, which society denied to children born out of wedlock. Research methods include analysis of primary sources, Marie’s lais, “Yonec” and “Milun.” Research extends to secondary sources, including literary analyses and criticisms of the lais and social/historical background about the Middle Ages. Marie defends the adulterous noblewomen to illustrate that relationships based on love improve the women’s happiness, health, and beauty. Marie shows that God and nature support relationships based on love instead of marriages formed for the sake of securing property or wealth. Marie shows that the illegitimate sons are superior to their peers because they are born from love unions.