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Sample Essay

The medieval woman’s love of pleasure and love of praise led her forth to feasts and jousts; processions, sermon and pilgrimages; and to plays of miracles and marriages.  She wants to see and to show off, and she wants the best of everything that the world has to offer even if her husband cannot afford it all.  The women of medieval literature wish for men to press around them and to behold their loveliness.  So, the husbands who are wise are the ones that busy their wives with household chores and watch everything from day to day (Evans and Johnson).

Yet, in the Middle Ages was built up an entire literature of bourgeois jest and courtly love on the power of women to deceive their lords.  Here, women were described as unstable beings whose hearts did not accord with their tongues, and who could fool even the sages of their times!  Even Merlin had succumbed to the wiles of Vivien, and for writers of the medieval times, all the sages and prophets of the past were influences (Tupper).

There are many more shades of women, of course, in medieval literature.  Some are glorious, others are not so.  The fact remains, nevertheless – women were as important in literature and society in medieval times as they are today.  And while men have described them however they will, they cannot find a way to live without them – not even in the medieval times!

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