Courtly Love

Essay by shinkaCollege, UndergraduateA+, January 2005

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Courtly Love is the set of ideas and rules about love. Troubadour poets promoted the idea that the true love only exists outside marriage. The Courtly Love relationship is not between husband and wife.

It is interesting that in contrast to earlier literature true love may be idealized and spiritual, and may exist without ever being physically consummated. It is kind of protective relationship " that no blame shoud touch her." ( Bernart de Ventadorn, Poem 24, 32).

In contrast to Beowulf or Iliad this culture nobilities women (the idea that a man becomes the servant of the lady he loves (Bernart de Ventadorn "... I shall be her man, and her lover, and her servant...") Indeed, woman plays an increasingly important and active role. Women are in complete control of the love relationship, while man owes her loyalty, obedience and submission. This is totally new idea about woman's position in the society.

An omnipotent female have full domination over a subject male, who is expected to go to any length to prove his worthiness to her, to make any sacrifice she reqired of him. We can notice totally devotion to the woman: "I belong to her from my foot to the top of my head"( Daniel " The Art of Love").

Even though the love is not consummated and even though the lady does not know about the man's love or does not return his love, the Courtly Love is considered as an "ennobling force". "Love always repairs to the noble heart (...) Nor was love made before the noble heart, Nor did nature, before heart, make love." ( Guido Guinizzelli " Love and Nobility").

The tone of the lyrics is usually pathetic. The poets use hyperbole ( Bernard de Ventadorn, Poem 24 5-8; Bertran de born " The...