The Lais of Marie de France

by

Marie de France

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Bisclavret is a Breton baron who regularly turns into a werewolf. After Bisclavret’s wife betrays him by making it impossible for him to transform into a human again, he lives in the forest. One day, he encounters the king hunting in the forest, and when the king sees the creature’s intelligent gaze, Bisclavret is taken to live in comfort at the king’s castle. Sometime later, when Bisclavret’s ex-wife visits the king, Bisclavret attacks her in a rage and disfigures her face. Soon after, Bisclavret’s human identity is found out, and his ex-wife returns his clothes, allowing him to become human again. Then the king vindicates Bisclavret, restoring his lands and status to him.

Bisclavret Quotes in The Lais of Marie de France

The The Lais of Marie de France quotes below are all either spoken by Bisclavret or refer to Bisclavret. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of The Lais of Marie de France published in 1986.
IV. Bisclavret Quotes

Not long afterwards, as I understand it, the king, who was wise and courtly, went into the forest where Bisclavret had been discovered. Bisclavret accompanied him and on the way home that night the king took lodging in that region. Bisclavret’s wife learnt of this and, dressing herself elegantly, went next day to speak to the king, taking an expensive present for him. When Bisclavret saw her approach, no one could restrain him. He dashed towards her like a madman. Just hear how successfully he took his revenge. He tore the nose right off her face.

Related Characters: Marie de France (speaker), Bisclavret, Bisclavret’s Wife/Ex-Wife
Related Symbols: Animals
Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:
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Bisclavret Character Timeline in The Lais of Marie de France

The timeline below shows where the character Bisclavret appears in The Lais of Marie de France. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
IV. Bisclavret
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Magic and Storytelling Theme Icon
Marie now tells the lay Bisclavret, as it’s called in Breton, or Garwaf, as the Normans call it. It used to... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Magic and Storytelling Theme Icon
Bisclavret’s wife persists, however, and finally, Bisclavret reveals the whole story: he becomes a werewolf. Each... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Magic and Storytelling Theme Icon
Bisclavret’s wife is so disturbed by this story that she decides she must separate from her... (full context)
Magic and Storytelling Theme Icon
...passes. One day the king goes hunting in the forest, and his hounds sniff out Bisclavret and pursue him mercilessly. But just as the dogs are about to destroy the werewolf,... (full context)
Virtue, Vice, and Justice Theme Icon
Magic and Storytelling Theme Icon
...holds a festival, people come from all the surrounding fiefs to celebrate. Among them is Bisclavret’s wife’s lover (now her second husband). As soon as this knight arrives, Bisclavret sinks his... (full context)
Virtue, Vice, and Justice Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
Magic and Storytelling Theme Icon
Soon after this, the king goes into the forest with Bisclavret at his side. On the way home, he lodges in the region, and Bisclavret’s ex-wife... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Virtue, Vice, and Justice Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
Magic and Storytelling Theme Icon
Later, when the king returns, he finds the human Bisclavret sound asleep on his bed. The king embraces Bisclavret, restores his lands to him, and... (full context)