Sunday, September 7, 2014

Response to Monica's posting: Why does Chretien introduce the new couple in the story?

Among many questions that Monica wants to discuss, I will focus on why Chretien adds Mabonagrain and “Nega” Enide couple in this specific scene. 
 Joy of the Court is the place to help that Erec can be a “true” Hero. Earlier Erec was not only a sarcastic character who does not prepare armor and sword to protect ladies, but also obsess with this stupid chivalry. Even though Erec refers himself as a “great” knight, he is hypocritical character who is yelled at his poor wife, Enide. This two-faced Erec go to the adventure with Enide to become a “true” hero of this story. BUT, Enide becomes his mentor and helps him excessively. Even though Erec requests her that “if she sees anything she should not be so bold as to speak to him about it,” but Enide still helps him secretly (48). Once, he almost dies, Enide throws herself to save her husband. 

Erec and Enide are both protagonists of this story. Two people will be prepared to become a good king and queen through this journey. As all public’s misunderstanding, Erec became a dead man. While he is “dead,” Enide passes her ordeals alone. Even if she thinks her husband is dead, she still shows her true love and wisdom to the Count. Because of this process, she becomes a new Enide and proves her love to Erec (and Erec FINALLY realizes her love……). But, what about Erec? He is not ready to be a king YET! Therefore, Chretien introduces another sequence to prove readers that Erec would be able to have enough qualifications.
 Erec grabs a triumph the fight with Mabonagrain by himself, and it brings “joy” to most people (except one lady). I want to interpret this part as Chretien’s romantic side. The lady “cannot help smiling” because of Enide (84). When I first read this part, I was so confused that why this lady suddenly showed up to become a cousin of Enide. And why does Chretein intentionally add this part in the middle of the story? Actually, this scene is very important to Enide, and it is the last gateway to become a true queen. Enide redeems Erec’s defect. She becomes a wise and beautiful woman who complements what Erec does not have. They can be perfect when they are together.
  As Monica mentioned earlier, this new Mabonagrain and “Nega” Enide couple shows Erec and Enide’s drastic and negative future. However, also this couple trains Erec and Enide to become a perfect king and queen as their mentors.


  1. In the beginning, Erec is presented as a sort of pseudo-knight. In his mind he is a great warrior, but he fails to pass muster in the real world. Once again, the infamous opening scene where he ventures out with the Queen and her aide without proper armor and weaponry speaks to his ineffectiveness as a knight. His sense of self-righteous bravado serves to endanger not only himself, but those that he should have been protecting as well. He could be Woody from Toy Story, all cowboy swagger, but no gun to back it up.

    I’m full of weird pop culture references today, so I’ll keep it rolling. Enide’s character immediately reminded me of the classic Tammy Wynette song “Stand By Your Man”. Enide truly personifies the sentiment of the song. As the title suggests, it is about sticking with your man no matter what happens. To be frank, Erec is a real dick to her through much of the story, but she stays around and ends up saving him in the end. She puts up with a lot, but is always there for him. As the story works out, her loyalty is rewarded, but she could have left at any point and been in the right.

    I agree that, in the end, Erec and Enide work best as a pair. She has the brains and he has the brawn. On their own they each lack something, but together they preform well. Along their journey it becomes apparent to the reader that they work together effectively together, even though it takes Erec a long time to figure this out.

  2. Nice exchange here. I think your mutual points about how both Erec and Enide evolve through the course of the story are well-taken. I'm not entirely sure that they're fully joint protagonists, especially as she ends up more or less in the background for both the Joy of the Court sequence and Erec's coronation. But it's certainly one of the major plot points of the story that they have to function as a better couple in order to be better people. I'd have liked to see you both deal just a bit more extensively with the whole story though--particularly the very end, and how it fits in with the rest.