The first thing I want to discuss with you guys are the signs that Chretien is being extremely sarcastic. Initially, I read the entire piece not realizing his motives and so I missed a lot of really important points. However, skimming the piece a second time, there are specific points that made it pretty obvious.
One of these is displayed at the very beginning on page 38. In a fit of fury and indignation, Erec whisks his wife off on an adventure, refusing any soldiers or aid just to prove his manliness. However, it soon becomes clear that neither of these two know where they're going. "Erec starts, and leads his wife he knows not whither, as chance dictates." If we didn't understand that Erec was sort of simple-minded to begin with, we definitely do now. He conveys the image of an eight year old who stomps off the playground in anger after being teased without paying attention to where he's going.
Another example of Chretien's sarcasm and possibly his criticism of the chivalric code is shown in the scene when Erec and Enide encounter robbers and highwaymen. The funny thing about this is that the robbers seem to have their own code of chivalry, as ridiculous as that sounds. "They give him leave and he rides off, crouching well beneath his shield, while the other two remain aloof. In those days it was the custom and practice that in an attack two knights should not join against one; thus if they too had assailed him, it would seem that they had acted treacherously." In other words, it's alright to rob someone, but two against one just isn't fair so that's a no no. I mentioned in class that this story reminds me of Don Quixote and I think is a good example as to why: it's not just one or two people who seem insane, nearly every character is ridiculous in their own ways.
Can you think of any more obvious signs of Chretien's mockery and sarcasm throughout the story? What do you think he's trying to say through these specific scenes of ridiculous action?