The Lais of Marie de France

by

Marie de France

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The Slanderous Wife (Le Fresne’s Mother) Character Analysis

Le Fresne’s mother is described as an arrogant, envious woman. When a neighbor gives birth to twin sons, Le Fresne’s mother is so jealous that she slanders the woman by claiming that she must have gotten pregnant by two different men. However, her own words come back to haunt her when she, too, bears twins later that year. Ashamed, she plans to abandon one of the infant girls in hopes that somebody else will raise the child. When her other daughter, La Codre, grows up and marries neighboring lord Gurun, she has a shocking reunion with Le Fresne in the newlyweds’ chamber, and the mother and daughter are reconciled.

The Slanderous Wife (Le Fresne’s Mother) Quotes in The Lais of Marie de France

The The Lais of Marie de France quotes below are all either spoken by The Slanderous Wife (Le Fresne’s Mother) or refer to The Slanderous Wife (Le Fresne’s Mother). 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
).
III. Le Fresne Quotes

I have been my own judge: I spoke ill of all women. Did I not say that it has never been the case and we had never seen it happen that a woman has had two children unless she has known two men? Now I have twins and it seems that I am paying the price. Whoever slanders and lies about others does not know what retribution awaits him. […] To ward off shame, I shall have to murder one of the children: I would rather make amends with God than shame and dishonour myself.

Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:

She brought her the ring and the lady looked at it carefully, easily recognizing it and the brocade. She had no doubt, for she now knew for sure that this was indeed her daughter, and, for all to hear, she said openly: “You are my daughter, fair friend!”

Page Number: 66
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Slanderous Wife (Le Fresne’s Mother) Character Timeline in The Lais of Marie de France

The timeline below shows where the character The Slanderous Wife (Le Fresne’s Mother) appears in The Lais of Marie de France. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
III. Le Fresne
Virtue, Vice, and Justice Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
...be named after him. When the knight receives the message, he’s delighted, but his arrogant, slanderous wife reacts differently. In front of the whole household, she declares that the other knight and... (full context)
Virtue, Vice, and Justice Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
When the messenger returns to the other knight, he reports the slanderous wife ’s claim. Disturbed, the knight becomes mistrustful of his wife and starts keeping a close... (full context)
Virtue, Vice, and Justice Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
...year, however, the slandered lady is avenged: her accuser also gets pregnant with twins. When the slanderous wife gives birth to twin girls, she’s greatly distressed, knowing her husband and relatives will never... (full context)
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
The slanderous wife ’s faithful maid hears her crying and comforts her, promising to take one of the... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
...all his friends show up, as well as the Archbishop of Dol. La Codre’s mother, the slanderous wife , comes, too, but she’s worried that Gurun’s lover will get between him and her... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
...her old brocade and covers the bed with it. Later, when it’s time for bed, the slanderous wife brings La Codre into the bedchamber and notices the brocade. She’s never seen another one... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Virtue, Vice, and Justice Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
When she revives, Le Fresne’s mother sends for her husband and tells him the whole story, since he’d played no part... (full context)