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Le chevalier de la charrette

Written for Marie de Champagne - careful not to flatter her directly Coy As if she knows what she wants to hear, but withholds it - in line 7 he says he will not resort to flattery o Withholding of what we and the patroness expect- vss 8-20 Distancing himself from praise - offering it then qualifying it playful A knight comes in to the court during Ascension day and says he has captured many of Arthur's knights and citizens. He says he will not give them their freedom unless a knight brings the queen to a forest for a duel. If Arthurs knight wins then the people will be liberated, but if Mlagent wins then the queen will join the other captives. Keu forces Arthur to let him go, but is beaten and the queen is taken away. Gauvains seeks the queen and sees a bedraggled knight (Lancelot) who asks for a horse. Later on Gauvain finds the horse dead and the knight on foot. There is evidence that there has been a big battle. Lancelot comes across a cart driven by a dwarf. These carts were for the public humiliation of criminals. The dwarf offers information about where the queen was taken only if lancelot agrees to sit in the cart. Lancelot hesitates - it is a great dishonour to do so - but he does so to save the queen. Gawain refuses because he has a good horse o Juxtaposition - reminding us that knights ride horses, not carts - emphasising that Lancelot is lowering himself They come to a town where the inhabitants jeer at Lancelot. P71 They stay with two demoiselles for the night There is one bed where no one is allowed to sleep - le lit prilleux Lancelot asks why - the demoiselle says he has no right to demand anything of her, because he was in the cart p75 Lingering consequences of his action - reinforce the extend of his sacrifice for the queen. Lancelot doesn't care - sleeps in it anyway despite the demoiselle's warnings - the bed is fit for a king Hinting at his nobility? Line 510 p76 "Bien fust a os un roi metables/Li covertorsqu'il ot sor lui." As he sleeps a lance appears sudenly with a flaming banner on it - attacks him Lancelot takes the lance and extinguishes it, throwing it away, then goes back to sleep like a boss o Shows his worthiness - little by little we are building up an image of this knight In the morning Lancelot looks out from the window and sees for miles around At another window Gawain does this, talking in hushed tones to the demoiselle - "je ne sais pas de quoi ils pouvaient parler" p79 - teasing? Lancelot sees a group in the distance - knows it's the queen Overjoyed, but as soon as she goes beyond sight he despairs - "il eut le dsir de se laisser tomber" p79 - almost drops out of the window - Gawain pulls him back The demoiselle thinks he wishes to die because of the cart - "Aprs avoir t dans la charrette il ne peut que souhaiter d'tre mort" p81 Dramatic irony This is no source of despair for him, the despair stems from the distance from his love

Leave the castle Meet a demoiselle p83 Says she will tell them what she knows about the queen's whereabouts and her captor if they promise to do what she asks Gawain "je meste en vostre servise, quant vos pleira, tot mon pooir" p82 BUT Lancelot does not give his whole service to her, "Et cil qui fu sor la charrete ne dit pas que il l'an promete tot son pooir" p82 o Instead he affirms in the name of Love that he will do what she asks o He has already given all his service to the queen - narrator teasing us with his mysterious identity/motivation- indeed, he s only know as "Cil qui ot est charretiers" 684 Captor revealed as Mlagant, prince of Gorre, son of Bademagu She explains that there are two bridges to get to this kingdom Both perilous p85 Le Pont dans l'Eau - the least perilous Pont de l'pe - as sharp as a knife Gawain chooses the slightly easier one, Again, hinting at lancelot's superlative nature? Later on Gawain does not succeed, Lancelot does They head off, after the girl warns them to keep in mind that they owe her a favour We're just left hanging Lancelot goes into a love stupor p89 Like Perceval thinking of Blanchefleur Lancelot is brought to a ford by his horse. There's a knight on the other side who forbids him to cross It takes a strike from this knight to knock Lancelot out of his stupor They fight - Lancelot wins, though he is annoyed it takes him so long He spars the knight's life at the pleas of the knight's lady friend He meets another woman who offers lodging in exchange for sex p101 He accepts half-heartedly - "De l'otroier li cuers li dialt" - his heart breaks in accepting this He enters her chamber only to discover that she has staged a mock-rape, forcing him to defend her against her would be attackers, who are in reality armed men of her own retinue. The Knight of the Cart fights valiantly, but refuses to be seduced by the damsel, who finally lets him sleep by himself and declares him the best knight she has ever known. P109 She makes a proleptic statement that once again reinforces his prowess Mysterious "Car je crois pouvoir deviner qu'il entend viser si grande chose que jamais chevalier n'osa en entreprendre de plus prilleuse ou de plus pnible". P121 The next day she asks to ride with him for a bit, if he feels he's hard enough Back then a woman riding on her own would gain only respect from knights But if she is escorted by a knight then any other knight can challenge the escort and should he win, do what he wants with the lady As they ride Lancelot pines over the queen - "Amors molt sovant li escrieve la plaie qie feite li a" l1336 p124 Similar to lyric poetry Puts love as an active force influencing him They find an ivory comb - turns out to be the queen's p127 More teasing - the lady laughs and withholds her reason for laughing

But very soon she reveals that it's because she knows it's the queen's Even though we learn the truth very quickly, still an example of making us wait, even for a

bit, for information Describing the hair left on the comb - playful, "Oh you wouldn't believe the truth" "Oh you want to know the truth?"p133 A knight comes and the woman says it's a knight who loves her - she asks Lancelot to fight him for her They decide to fight in a public place - a meadow where people are chilling They laugh at Lancelot for being in the cart - p145 The father of the knight however sees Lancelot's determination - warns his son not to pick a fight P151 "qui blme de son dsir un homme ou une femme l'attise et l'enflamme plus encore" Implications for Lancelot? The father forces the son not to fight. They decide to follow Lancelot and size him up first. The people who jeered at Lancelot are confused because he is allowed to pass unchallenged. "Il faut bien en vrit...qu'il pense qu'il y a du bon en lui" p153 - ambiguity- these people reflect the reader's ambivalence - voicing the moral tension underlying the narrative - praise or condemnation? (For the cart and his love for the queen) - yet the true complexity of the situation is only apparent later hen we learn that Lancelot's love is reciprocated. Goes to a monastery - sees a graveyard. Many knights' graves are there, waiting to be filled (Gawain etc) However, there is one that surpasses all others in beauty p157 Lancelot moves this tomb's flagstone with ease, despite the monk saying it would take 7 men. This means he is the one prophesised to free people from the land where no one leaves. (Gorres) this is his tombstone - again pointing to Lancelot's superlative status and hinting at the future plot p159 Lancelot refuses to tell his name - Chrtien teasing the reader The other knight and his fighter lean of what happened and the knight admits the it is unwise to fight Lancelot The lady keeps asking Lancelot his name - he refuses to divulge it. They part ways. He stays with an arriere vassal (vavasor) P169 teasing - "s'il fut bien trait au souper, ai-je besoin de le dire?" As if he's saying "Well I've just described how kind everyone is, do I really need to say more" - playful He is warned of the dangers that lie ahead, but refuses to choose a safer, less direct path to the queen Two of the host's sons decide to journey with Lancelot If there is another knight around then Lancelot is always referred to as the one from the cart reminding us of his shame They are infirmed that an army from the kingdom of Logres has arrived in Gorre Tricked by a man who invites them to his castle - he locks them in the castle and rides off himself p183 We are given a bit of background - Lancelot raised by a fairy Intriguing p185 They break free of the castle, eager to join the battle P187 - Lancelot owning in battle

People argue over who gets to be his host for the night They ride on and then stay with a welcoming knight and his family A random knight enters and laughs at Lancelot for wanting to cross the Pont de l'Epee - mentions the cart The family are shocked that Lancelot got into a cart l. 2589 onwards - use of tu form indicating scorn p198 "Et por coi fu il charretez/Por quel pechi, por quel forfet?" ll. 2612-12 p200 He gets in the cart for love Irony - his love is a sin The family cannot believe that such a valiant man is a sinner o They reflect our moral ambivalence - both a great knight, but in love with the queen (again we stil don't know it's reciprocated, still don't know the true extent of the moral problem) The proud and boastful knight offers his boat to cross the waters in exchange for Lancelot's allegiance Lancelot refuses - they fight P207 - Lancelot gets annoyed at how long it's taking and gets angry - beats the knight soon after The same occurred I a previous battle - he is assured of his own prowess Lancelot makes the knight choose between death or rising in a cart, "Mialz voldroie estre, je cuit, morz que fet esse cest meschief." ll. 2774-5 p210 Here we see just how bad riding in a cart is Highlights how big a deal Lancelot's sacrifice was Prolepsis - a girl comes and asks a favour of Lancelot - she says that he will need her help one day This sort of proleptic statement whets our appetite Mystery He accepts She asks for the head of the knight he just vanquished The knight protests Largesse vs piti p215 Lancelot offers to fight again -he wins again and lops off the knight's head The pont de l'epee The two knights get too scared to cross Lancelot takes off his armour and crosses - gets cut up badly on the way The two lions on the other side are shown to be illusions ll. 3060-65 3122 - not even a lizard there - bathos Malagant sees him from the tower Bademagu - turns out to be the opposite of his son - recognises that his son is lazy and a coward, whereas Lancelot is the best knight of them all - "cestui eui est a devise li miaudres chevaliers del monde." ll. 3218-19 p236 Bademagu suggests his son give in o Similar to the previous episode where the knight challenges Lancelot o But here Bademagu is more stubborn Bademagu welcomes Lancelot Assures him that Guinevere has been protected from sexual advances During the fight Lancelot, still injured from crossing the bridge, tires A girl realises that he will be heartened if he knows the Queen is watching him p263 Asks the queen what his name is - Lancelot's name finally revealed But this actually makes Lancelot fight badly - turns his back on his enemy to look at the queen At the girl's bidding he manoeuvres himself so that Malagant is between him and the queen - starts to own

The king sees his son losing and stops the fight - asks to postpone the duel He appeals to Guinevere, who orders Lancelot to stop It is postponed for a year and relocated to Arthur's court Guinevere refuses to talk to Lancelot P283 We don't know why for a long time - tease Withholding the resolution from us Sir Kay is still injured, but has been under the protection of Bademagu Queen wants to know where Gawain is Lancelot leaves and is captured by people thinking to impress the king The king hears a rumour that Lancelot has been captured and killed The queen learns of this and is heartbroken -p295 - here, in an aside, we learn of her love for him, ""Ne la convient ja mes proier se ce est voirs que cil morz soit por la cui vie ele vivoit" p294 - she lives for him 1. Confusing then - WHY did she reject him? She wishes she could be naked with him p297 Rumour goes around that Guinevere has died - Lancelot hears this and despairs attempts suicide p303 Lancelot is taken to Bademagu's residence - the lovers discover the truth The lovers reconcile - Guinevere says she rejected him because he hesitated before going in the cart (HOW DID SHE KNOW???) That night, Lancelot boldly bends the iron bars of Gueneveres bedroom windows. He enters her chamber with bleeding hands, and the lovers at last consummate their passion. The beds bloody sheets cause Meleagant to blame not Lancelot but Kay for having slept with the queen. Lancelot defends the queen in a duel judiciaire Once again it is stopped before Lancelot can kill Maleagant - the final combat is postponed again Dwarf A dwarf comes and says "Follow me Lancelot I have something to show you" He stupidly goes and does not return They decide to look for Gawain fist before Lancelot Gawain almost drowned trying to cross the bridge - they have to rescue him p351 They receive a forged letter supposedly from Lancelot saying he is back with Arthur all safe and sound P359 The letter requests the return of Guinvere - she goes back to the court Then discovers that Lancelot is not there Arthur organises a tournament so that women can pick the most valiant husbands Lancelot hears about the tournament - he has been locked up by Mlagant in his seneschal's house p369 The seneschal's wife lets him go to the tournament as long as he promises to return to prison after He is owning at the tournament, but then the queen sends a message to this mysterious asking him to lose He does so and he is the mockery of the tournament The next day he is told to win - he does so, making his detractors mince their words Awkwardly, all the women want to marry him, but he leaves discreetly No other knight gets a wife from it - cockblocked by Lancelot Mlagant finds out about the lapse in security and builds a massive tower for Arthur He then goes to King Arthur's court for the pre-arranged duel with Lancelot - Lancelot does not turn up, the duel is postponed another year

He goes back to Bademagu and bigs himself up Bademagu derides his arrogance as being unchivalric

Bademagu's daughter decides to look for Lancelot (It later transpires that she's the one who owes him a favour or chopping off that knight's head off) Finds Lancelot Lancelot is lamenting his fate - blames fortune p431

She frees him and heals him p441 He returns to Arthur's court - everything is joyful He fights Mlagant- kills him Thus ends the tale - though Chrtien mentions Godefroi's continuation