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Kit A. Nadado English 371: Literature of the Middle Ages Righteous and Unrighteous Love in Marie de Frances Lanval What makes a love righteous and pure? What makes love unrighteous and impure? Marie de Frances Lanval portrays the characteristics of both righteous and unrighteous love. The story focuses on two queens: the Fairy Queen and Queen Guinevere. Both professes love to Lanval but portrays two different reasons.Offering Lanval her love, the Fairy Queen states, Sweet love / If you are brave and courtly I love you more than anything (110-115). At this stage in the story, the Fairy Queens expression of love seems to be superficial and almost suspicious since the only reason she gives for her love of Lanval is chivalry, referring to the knight as brave and courtly (115). Queen Guinevere has the same reasons for loving Lanval. Queen Guinivere has likely been swept by Lanvals chivalry like everybody else in King Arthurs court upon Lanvals majestic return from his meeting with the Fairy Queen. Between these two queens vying for the knights love, we ask the questions: Whose love is pure and true? Whose love is righteous and uplifting? Since both are beautiful, in what ways do each of these queens use their beauty to win their prize? Between these two kinds of loves, the Fairy Queens love is righteous: her love is nourishing, generous and forgiving, her beauty is liberating, while Queen Guineveres love is the exact opposite: malicious, selfish and vengeful, her beauty, manipulative. The Fairy Queens love is righteous because it is nourishing and generous . Upon taking Lanval to her kingdom, the Fairy queen generously provided what he needed (157). Lanval is

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nourished and dressed that there wasnt a more handsome youth in all the world (176) . The Fairy Queens righteous love brings out the best in Lanval as righteous and true love should. Lanval at this time felt great joy (184), an emotion righteous love brings because righteous love is uplifting. Ultimately, not only did the Fairy Queen give Lanval treasures but, She granted him her love and her body (133), which are expressions of true and righteous love. The Fairy Queens generosity also inspired Lanval to also be generous to other people. Upon returning to the city, Lanval gave rich gifts/ Lanval released prisoners, / Lanval dressed jongleurs/ Lanval offered great honors/ There was no stranger or friend/ to whom Lanval didnt give (209-214). Lanval repaid the Fairy Queens generosity by serving his fellowmen. Lanval was celebrated by his fellowmen because of hi generosity. Such generosity only comes from a generous and righteous kid of love. On the other hand, Queen Guineveres love is malicious, degrading and selfish. Queen Guineveres love proved to be the exact opposite of the Fairy Queens. Upon Lanvals decline of the queens love, Queen Guinevere resorts in throwing a barrage of degrading insults to Lanval, damaging Lanvals manliness and calling him a base coward and a lousy cripple (283). These insults are meant to destroy Lanvals honor and chivalry. The queen lets her wrath and malice take control of her feelings. The same wrath and malice is reflected by Lanval when he stated, the poorest girl of all/ is better than you, my lady queen. (299-300). Queen Guineveres love in this case is damaging and never uplifting. Her love is unrighteous and impure, breeding spite and sorrow. This kind of love comes from pure selfishness in Queen Guineveres part. Love, once selfish will never be true.

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Another distinct differences between the Fairy Queens love and Queen Guineveres love, is that the Fairy Queens love is forgiving and Queen Guineveres love is vengeful. Lanval both wronged the Fairy Queen and Queen Guinevere: Lanval broke his promise to the Fairy Queen by revealing their secret while Lanval insulted Queen Guinivere. Although Lanvals faults are unintentional, the two queens have different reactions to these faults. The Fairy Queen forgives despite Lanval breaking the secret. She comes to Lanvals rescue in a majestic entourage, professing her love for Lanval to the king saying, I have loved one of your vassals/ you see him before youLanval/ He has been accused in your court (615). This speech broke every lie and deceit surrounding Lanval. Lanval is free. The Fairy Queens love is not only forgiving but also liberating. This kind of love is righteous and true. On the other hand, Queen Guineveres love is bound for vengeance. Upon Lanvals spiteful response to her insults, Queen Guinevere immediately plotted revenge. Trying to get King Arthurs pity, Queen Guinevere stated, that Never, she said, would she get up/ unless the king gave her satisfaction/for the offense against her. (303-310). Queen Guineveres thirst for vengeance results to her lying to the King. Changing the story, she claims that Lanval has dishonored and offended her. Queen Guineveres lies and deceit bring sorrow and shame to Lanval. In this case, Queen Guineveres love is both unrighteous and impure. Her love puts her object of love into captivity and sorrow, a direct contradiction to the Fairy Queens liberating and unselfish love. Another notable comparison between these two queens is the way both use their beauty. The Fairy Queen uses beauty to guide and liberate while Queen Guinevere uses beauty

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to manipulate. Back to the Fairy Queens rescue, King Arthurs court was literally attacked by beauty. Procession upon procession of maidens, adorned and very beautiful (52 3) left the court speechless and in awe. The Fairy Queens entrance is the strongest blow of all. When through the city came riding/ a girl on horseback;/ there was none more beautiful in the world (548-550). The Fairy Queens aim at this time is to liberate her one true love. She uses her beauty to accomplish her righteous act. Queen Guinevere does the exact opposite. Queen Guinevere uses here beauty to ensnare King Arthur into believing that Lanval dishonored her. Queen Guinevere uses her beauty to deceive. Righteous love betters the person. Righteous love uplifts and liberates. On the other hand, love that is selfish, manipulative and vengeful is impure, unrighteous and easily broken. Between these two loves, righteous love is the higher and the more excellent kind of love. Righteous love prevails over other kinds of love simply because its motivations are righteous and pure. Although both queens profess the same love to Lanval at the beginning, only the Fairy Queen proved that her love is the greater of the two. This is the reason why her love won and prevailed.

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