Saint Eustace, Guigemar and the White Stag

Saint Eustace‘s journey begins very similarly to that of Guigemar, featuring the hero meeting a peculiar, talking white stag while off hunting. How are these two interactions compared when pitting our new understanding of holy matter (as seen in Saint Eustace) against the thing powered, object focused ecology we used to analyze Guigemar? 

3 thoughts on “Saint Eustace, Guigemar and the White Stag

  1. I feel like we hardly focused on the stag when we used the object-central theories in Guigemar. At that point we were focusing more on the things themselves than the interpretations or interactions with humans. Our new approach seems to be considering the supernatural (“divine” in Christian terms) power of objects. It seems to be far more about what the stag is doing to change the human world and perception than when we discussed Guigemar. All of this is attributed to God directly, rather than inferred-

    “It is Jhesu Cryst of heven
    That spekys to thee with myld steven;” (lines 55-56)

    Like we talked about in class, adding the notion of the “divine” definitely complicates things. With object-centered approaches, it seemed like we were trying to isolate everything and then determine its actual (not necessarily perceived) effects. With a “holy matter” approach, it seems like we’re trying to observe how humans give objects power. I’m still grasping at the details of it all.

  2. I feel like the stag in Saint Eustace is really similar to the stag in Guigemar (in fact, I kept waiting for him to shoot it). I’m with Kaleb in that the supernatural element complicates things, especially in terms of a pure object centered approach.

    One way that I think we can still consider the stag in itself is by taking into account the stag’s speech. Imagine yourself as a stag. Some rich knight comes along to kill you, just for fun. If you’re unfortunate enough to be Guigemar’s stag, all you can really do is curse him since you’ve already been shot. But Placydas’ stag can stop him altogether with the power of Jesus.

    Not that I think that’s how we’re supposed to be considering this. After all, angels do come along to verify the God angle. One also delivers this fun message: you shall “For the love of swete Jhesus / in marterdom be dede” (110-111). In this way, I think “the Divine” (if you will) can be consider a wholly different thing, apart from the stag in the narrative. While the stag certainly speaks for “the Divine” at a point, its physical speech is what make Placydas see “the Divine”. Not the other way around.

  3. I think the object oriented approach in guigmar focused on how objects in assemblages form an event, whereas considering the stag for st eustace, what the stag is, what that symbolizes, and the affect that emerges from that connotation –rather, the second stag has a percieved or influenced agency in opposition to total thing power.

    While I agrees with emily about the influence of the divine, I believe that guigmar’s stag also calls on supernatural agency to curse guigmar. Even tho guigmar is contectualized as a christian lay, there is a pagan quality to the stag and his curse that seems highly paradoxical. Is it when these supernatural agents becomed defined as supreme, as god, that their agencies becomes so enhanced? If so, then eustace’s stag can be considered to have subsumed the pagan symbolism of the stag in order to create a certain affect.

    Christian or.any holy object is more active and affective because it performs a supercharged spiritual capacity while also retaining its secular value as an object. For example, a gold cross without christianity still holds power as an object as a symbol of death and execution, it is also gold so it is valuable in a tangeble way as well. Make that cross a crucifix and its agency grows exponentially. For guigmar the stag is meat, a thing he can hunt, and the maker of his curse. For st eustace, the stag seems to forget its secular worth in loo of performing a divine agency which influences, works through, and manifests in him.

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