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The Lais of Marie de France by Tamara Bentley


  • The lais of Marie de France are a collection of 12 romantic narrative
  • It addresses courtly romance and forbidden problems of women ( Caudill, 104).
  • The tales were composed in old French containing style of rhyming couplets, repetition and unifying themes.

Authors Biography

Marie de France was a poet who lived in England in the late 12th century ( Stephens, 14). She lived and wrote at King Henry II Of England’s royal court.

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Both her given name and the location of her birth are based on her manuscripts, as almost nothing is known about her life.

Authors Characteristic

  • Marie can be regarded as a pragmatist based on this poetry
  • Her messages tend to contradict themselves rather than conforming to a singular moral
  • A good storyteller
  • This is by how she interjects and sometimes self-praise throughout her stories.


  1. The driving force among many of the characters in Marie de France is greediness, passion, loneliness and thrill
  2. Through the characters Marie offers an ironic perspective on love’s immoral difficulties.
  3. Additionally majority of the characters are categorized as either extraordinary great or extremely unpleasant.


  • Theme in a poem is the main idea a writer explores in a literary work.
  • According to this poetry various themes have been employed as away of expressing the culture through various characters.
  • The main theme used in poetry is love.
  • It is coupled by suffering in majority of the lais and over half of them feature an unfaithful relationship (Caudill, 106).


  • The theme of loyalty, like the concept of love, aids in elucidating Marie’s viewpoints on the various events she offers.
  • According to the lais, Possessiveness particularly that of fathers toward their daughters or old men toward their wives, leads to a slew of bad scenarios in the life
  • Marie has a distinct sense of destiny, especially when it comes to love.
  • Marie considers love based on selflessness and generosity to be the most virtuous of all virtues.
  • Those who love selflessly and without thinking too highly of themselves, are the most righteous characters throughout (107).
  • Marie makes her function as storyteller evident throughout her stories, sometimes through authorial interjections and sometimes through self-praise.
  • Marie’s status as a woman clearly influences the way she delivers her stories, but calling her a feminist is a stretch. She emphasize the importance of women as characters with equal agency to males(Liendo, 25)

Setting of the Poem

  1. The poetry was composed at the time Western Europe was seeing a convergence of cultural trends (Caudill, 104).
  2. It was created during the time of societal pressure and cultural constraints surrounding the women.
  3. Marie authorized herself to represent the women voice as away of proving their importance in the society.

The Socio-cultural shift

  • As a result of Marie de France representation, attitudes toward women and men, as well as their roles in marriage and love shifted.
  • Women are now portrayed as strong, , kind, and selfless individuals willing or obliged to sacrifice all for those they love (Liendo, 28).
  • They are now respected in the society.

Anthology of World Literature

Literary standards- This is a set of traits that can be used to judge if a work is literary or not ( Conner, 20).

For a work to be included in the anthology of World Literature it must contain the seven literary standards. Marie de France was included in the world literature because her works satisfies the seven literary standards.

They include Universality, Artistry, Intellectual Value, Suggestiveness, Spiritual value, Permanence and Style.

Literary Standards

According to literature it is a piece of writing that appeals to the hearts and brains of practically any reader. Regardless of when it was written, the appeal is deemed global due to its capacity to transcend gender, racial, and cultural barriers


  • Artistry is a term used to describe literature that is pleasing to the eye and reveals or transmits hidden truth and beauty
  • This sort of literature appeals to a wide range of readers and has a sense of beauty in the writing that can even be poetic

Intellectual Value

  • It contains contents such as teaching, training, coaching or performance.
  • Intellectually valuable literature encourages critical thinking, which improves both abstract and reasoned brain processes and helps readers focus on life’s and nature’s underlying truths ( Conner, 24).


  • A suggestive piece of literature relies on emotional power to convey symbolism, implied meanings, imagery and messages.
  • The work’s power of suggestion allows it to inspire and stir thoughts and understandings that go beyond the words on the page.

Spiritual Value

  • Spiritual literature uplifts the inner spirit and soul, as well as motivating and inspiring readers.
  • It usually draws on society’s proposed lessons and moral values as depicted in many literary genres.


  • This trait is used to measure the ability of a written work to withstand the test of time, which is hard to predict at the time of writing.
  • This criterion is met by novels that are read repeatedly throughout decades, either for enjoyment or for new insights and ideas.


  • This is a distinct approach in which the author presents his or her thoughts.
  • Words can be employed in creative, interesting, and distinctive ways to make the work memorable.


Much about twelfth-century in Europe can be leaned by investigating Marie de France work and audience.

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She addresses the unheard and forbidden problems of women, notably abuse and the longing for empowerment.

Her strong female characters may represent women’s underlying yearning for equality in relationships.

Work Cited

Cadillac, Tamara Bentley. “The Lais of Marie de France: Text and Translation.” (2018): 103-112.

Conner, Kate. “What Are The Seven Literary Standards?”. Reference.Com, 2020, Web.

Liendo, Elizabeth. “The Wound that Bleeds: Violence and Feminization in the Lais of Marie de France.” Neophilologus 104.1 (2020): 19-32.

Stephen, Cedars, and Cullina Alice. “The Lais Of Marie De France Bibliography”. Gradesaver.Com, 2021,

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