Exposing subject and object’s “mutual dependency,” Jane Bennett levels the subject-object hierarchy (23). Similarly, Bruno Latour “dislocate[es]” cause-effect authority (58). Traditionally, “the second term is predicted by the first,” locating authority in the cause (58). Actor Network Theory, though, resists assigning a central cause and instead enumerates multiple actors. Bruno Latour explains that “[w]hen a force manipulates another, it does not mean that it is a cause generating effects,” for this kind of central causation implies a certain authority (someone/thing “giving” agency, to borrow from class). Instead, Latour considers a cause “an occasion for other things to start acting,” exercising the agency they already have (60). The cause as an “occasion” may inspire action, but it does not directly determine it.
Looking at three lays with an identical “cause” (or occasion) – the werewolf transformation – but different “effects” (or subsequent actions) attests to Latour’s rejection of singularity and determinacy and his support of multiplicity and variability. Circumstances certainly vary across Bisclavret, Melion, and Biclarel’s situations; their transformations, recuperations, and all that transpires in between. But what of the similarities? Doesn’t the werewolf consistently cause fear? Doesn’t betrayal consistently cause revenge? Though generalities, these actions/reactions re-occur in all three lays. Even if these are simply literary tropes, they stem from somewhere. Even an “occasion” to act is not an open invitation, it is an inspiration, which includes certain guiding implications.