In this class we have learned much about mideval society, honorable knighthood, King-knight relationships and agreements, and courtly love. In almost every lai that we have read in this class the story concludes with the knight overcoming his barrier, and riding off into the sunset with his damsel. However, in Eliduc, the lai’s happy ending is one we have never seen before, devotion to God. From the time we meet Eliduc’s wife, she is a role model character, never demanding his devotion, being concerned about her husband’s sadness, assuming the best of him but not being ignorant, wishing the best for her husband and his new love, knowing to imitate the weasel to revive the girl, and finally: honorably bowing out and leaving the system of the knight/King/courtly world and joining the church.
Then, surprisingly I thought, shortly after their happy marriage Eliduc founds a church, sends his wife away to the convent his wife joined to become a nun, and finally finds “true love”. Could it be that this is the best possible ending to Marie? That the rest of the victorious knights we have read were too nearsighted to see this spiritual possibility? The wife is one of the most noble, respectable characters we have met in Marie and in this way I think that she shows us that devoting oneself to God and finding a holy love was the most honorable thing a person could do in that time.