The Lais of Marie de France

by

Marie de France

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The Young Lady Character Analysis

The young lady is married to the elderly lord and lives a closely guarded, secluded life in the ancient city the lord rules; she can only escape by boat. When Guigemar arrives, she and her maiden companion agree to shelter and tend him until he heals from his hunting injury. She and Guigemar then fall passionately and tormentingly in love. After many happy months together, the couple is found out and forced apart by the elderly lord, and the lady falls into despair. Finally she resolves to drown herself, but before she can do so, Guigemar’s magical ship whisks her away to Brittany, leaving her at Meriaduc’s castle. Though Meriaduc falls in love with her, she repeatedly turns him down. Eventually, Guigemar finds her at the castle, the two open each other’s love tokens (a knotted shirt and a belt) and decide to flee together. After Guigemar lays siege to Meriaduc’s castle and kills him, the couple is reunited for good.

The Young Lady Quotes in The Lais of Marie de France

The The Lais of Marie de France quotes below are all either spoken by The Young Lady or refer to The Young Lady. 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.
I. Guigemar Quotes

But love had now pierced him to the quick and his heart was greatly disturbed. For the lady had wounded him so deeply that he had completely forgotten his homeland. He felt no pain from the wound in his thigh, yet he sighed in great anguish and asked the maiden serving him to let him sleep. As he had dismissed her, she returned to her mistress, who was, like Guigemar, affected by the ardour which had kindled within her heart.

Related Symbols: Animals
Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:

Guigemar besieged the town and would not leave until it was captured. His friends and followers increased in number so much that he starved all those inside. He captured and destroyed the castle and killed the lord within. With great joy he took away his beloved. Now his tribulations were over.

Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Young Lady Character Timeline in The Lais of Marie de France

The timeline below shows where the character The Young Lady appears in The Lais of Marie de France. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
I. Guigemar
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
Magic and Storytelling Theme Icon
...ancient city. The city is ruled by an elderly lord who’s married to a beautiful young lady . The lord is quite jealous, as one would expect, “for all old men […]... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
...the book “in which Ovid teaches the art of controlling love” into a fire. The young lady isn’t totally alone in her prison: the lord has provided her with a maiden companion,... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
That same day, while in the garden, the young lady and her maiden companion spot the ship coming toward them, and the lady is frightened.... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Magic and Storytelling Theme Icon
...and can no longer feel the pain of his wound, but he’s tormented, nonetheless. The young lady feels the same way. (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Virtue, Vice, and Justice Theme Icon
...the curse, he’s bound to suffer no matter what. He constantly thinks of the beautiful young lady ; if only he’d known that she loved him, too, his anguish would have been... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Virtue, Vice, and Justice Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
Still lovelorn, the young lady returns from mass, and her maiden urges her to speak to Guigemar. When they greet... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Finally, love forces Guigemar to speak his feelings. He tells the young lady that he’s dying of his longing for her, and that if she refuses to love... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
Magic and Storytelling Theme Icon
Guigemar stays with the young lady for a year and a half, and it’s a happy time. But “fortune […] soon... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Magic and Storytelling Theme Icon
As Guigemar sails, he laments and prays that if he’ll never see the young lady again, then God will just let him die quickly. However, the ship soon docks at... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Magic and Storytelling Theme Icon
Meanwhile, the elderly lord has imprisoned the young lady in a marble tower, and she suffers there, grieving for Guigemar, for over two years.... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
...standing at a window when the ship arrives and is delighted to find the beautiful young lady aboard. He doesn’t know how she got there, but he can see that she’s noble,... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
...to come, and Guigemar duly arrives with many knights of his own. Then Meriaduc summons the young lady to the hall, and when she hears Guigemar’s name, she faints. Looking at her, Guigemar... (full context)
Love and Suffering Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Class Status Theme Icon
...Guigemar succeeds in capturing the castle and killing Meriaduc. Then, he joyfully claims his beloved young lady . The lay of Guigemar, performed on harp and rote, was composed from this tale. (full context)