The Lais of Marie de France

by

Marie de France

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Eliduc Character Analysis

Eliduc is a brave Breton knight who is married to Guildelüec. Though the King of Brittany loves Eliduc, he banishes the knight from court on the basis of a jealous rumor. Then Eliduc travels to the kingdom of Logres in search of work and enters the service of a king near Exeter for a year. He soon falls in love with the king’s daughter, Guilliadun. However, he feels guilty because he wants to remain faithful to Guildelüec, and he doesn’t tell Guilliadun that he’s married. Yet when he returns to Brittany, his wife is grieved by Eliduc’s evident depression. He sails back to England at the earliest opportunity, summons Guilliadun, and sneaks her aboard a ship. But on their voyage back to Brittany, they’re nearly shipwrecked, and Guilliadun falls into a deathly swoon. Regretting his decision to bring her to France, Eliduc places her body in a remote chapel in the forest, where he visits and weeps over her daily. After Guildelüec discovers Guilliadun and releases Eliduc from their marriage, Eliduc joyfully marries Guilliadun instead. At some indefinite point in the future, however, he devotes himself to God and sends Guilliadun to live in his ex-wife’s convent.

Eliduc Quotes in The Lais of Marie de France

The The Lais of Marie de France quotes below are all either spoken by Eliduc or refer to Eliduc. 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
).
XII. Eliduc Quotes

With gentle mien, honest expression and very noble demeanour, he spoke with much breeding and thanked the damsel, Guilliadun, who was very beautiful, for having sent for him to come and talk to her. She took him by the hand and they sat down on a bed and spoke of many things. […] Love dispatched its messenger who summoned her to love him. It made her go pale and sigh[.]

Related Characters: Eliduc, Guilliadun, Guildelüec, Marie de France
Page Number: 114
Explanation and Analysis:

“I have behaved badly! […] Here I have deeply loved a girl, Guilliadun, the king’s daughter, and she has loved me. If I must leave her thus, one of us will have to die, or perhaps even both. But nevertheless I must go, for my lord has summoned me in a letter and required me by my oath, and my wife as well. […] If I were to marry my beloved, the Christian religion would not accept it. Things are going badly in all respects.”

Related Characters: Eliduc (speaker), Guilliadun, Guildelüec
Page Number: 118
Explanation and Analysis:

Eliduc heard what he said and almost went demented with anger. “Son of a whore,” he said, “wicked and evil traitor, say no more!” […] But he held her in his arms and comforted her as best he could […] She fell face down, quite pale and wan, in a swoon in which she remained, for she did not come round or breathe. He who was taking her away with him truly believed that she was dead.

Related Characters: Eliduc (speaker), Guilliadun
Page Number: 122
Explanation and Analysis:

With its teeth the weasel picked a flower, bright red in colour, and then quickly returned, placing it in the mouth of its companion, whom the servant had killed, with the result that it quickly recovered. The lady noticed this and shouted to the servant: “Catch it! Throw your stick, good man, do not let it escape!”

Related Characters: Guildelüec (speaker), Guilliadun, Eliduc, Marie de France
Related Symbols: Animals
Page Number: 124
Explanation and Analysis:

He often kissed the maiden and she him tenderly, for together they were very happy. When the lady saw how the looked, she spoke to her husband and asked him for permission to leave and to separate from him, for she wanted to be a nun and serve God.

Related Characters: Eliduc, Guilliadun, Guildelüec, Marie de France
Page Number: 125
Explanation and Analysis:
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Eliduc Character Timeline in The Lais of Marie de France

The timeline below shows where the character Eliduc appears in The Lais of Marie de France. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
XII. Eliduc
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Virtue, Vice, and Justice Theme Icon
...a very old Breton lay. In Brittany there lived a brave and courtly knight named Eliduc. Eliduc had a wise, noble wife, Guildelüec, and they were happily married for a long... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Virtue, Vice, and Justice Theme Icon
The King of Brittany loves and trusts Eliduc and gives him many privileges, like freedom to hunt in the forests. Though nobody dares... (full context)
Virtue, Vice, and Justice Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
After crossing the sea, Eliduc finds much fighting. One old king near Exeter, who refuses to give his young daughter... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Virtue, Vice, and Justice Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
After this episode, the king loves Eliduc even more and retains his service for a year. During his stay, the king’s daughter,... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
For her part, Guilliadun can’t stop thinking about Eliduc. She stays up all night, and early the next morning, she confides in her chamberlain,... (full context)
When the chamberlain brings Eliduc the gifts, Eliduc immediately puts on the ring and girdle and offers a gift in... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Virtue, Vice, and Justice Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Eliduc continues to pine for Guilliadun, feeling trapped between his desires for her and his promise... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Virtue, Vice, and Justice Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
...in trouble—his land and castles are being laid waste. He sends messengers in search of Eliduc, regretting that he ever kicked the knight out of his court. When Eliduc hears the... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Virtue, Vice, and Justice Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
Eliduc is distraught. He’s duty-bound to return to Brittany, but he’s afraid that his departure will... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
When Eliduc enters Guilliadun’s chamber, she greets him “six thousand times.” When Eliduc explains that he must... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Virtue, Vice, and Justice Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
When Eliduc arrives in Brittany, he is joyfully greeted by everyone, especially his wife. But he keeps... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Virtue, Vice, and Justice Theme Icon
...God, Mary, and other saints for deliverance. One of the sailors cries out that they’re doomed—Eliduc has a loyal wife at home, but he’s brought another woman with him in defiance... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Virtue, Vice, and Justice Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
Heartsick, Eliduc tries to figure out what to do with his beloved’s body. He knows of a... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Magic and Storytelling Theme Icon
When Eliduc returns home, Guildelüec finds him distraught. Two days later, he heads off into the forest... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
Magic and Storytelling Theme Icon
...explains that she is a princess from Logres who fell in love with the knight Eliduc. But Eliduc sinfully tricked her, concealing the fact that he was married. Now he has... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Virtue, Vice, and Justice Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
Guildelüec assures Guilliadun that Eliduc has not betrayed her—in fact, he visits her daily and will be overjoyed to know... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Virtue, Vice, and Justice Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
Later that day, when Eliduc hears the whole story, he is ecstatic. He thanks his wife tenderly and kisses Guilliadun... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Virtue, Vice, and Justice Theme Icon
After that, Eliduc marries Guilliadun, and they live happily together. They give away many alms, and Eliduc also... (full context)