Throughout Les Deus Amanz I kept thinking about how Bennett’s concept of vibrant materialism had a prominent place in the poem. When she speaks about vibrant materrialism, Bennett particularly takes note of how matter is never really destroyed, or eliminated, but rather, it manifests itself in different ways and has an immense effect on our lives, whether or not we recognize the consequences. Therefore, the potion that the king’s daughter pours onto the mountainside seems to manifest this kind of vibrancy, and in doing so, it seem to reveal how a medieval audience would have seen the power of performance enhancing matter.
Although he is portrayed as a “brave and refined” young man, the princess’s lover seems to fall short in his capacity for strength. Such a misfortune provokes the implementation of materials that aid the young knight in his endeavor. However, contrary to our expectations, the potion that the princess has had concocted, seems to fail, despite claims that it will “fortify you / and give you lots of strength” (107-08). In essence, it is as though this matter refuses to act in accordance with its creator’s wishes — it wants to exist in its own way.
Moreover, the idea of vibrant materialism is seen when the princess pours the performance enhancing potion out over the countryside. Rather than nourish and revitalize the fatigued knight, the potion works a feat of wonder, and “the entire region and countryside / were much improved thereby: / many a fine herb now found there / owes its start to the potion” which seems to show how the energy and matter of this potion find a new way of expression and continue to manifest their vibrancy (216-18).
Perhaps such a transformation of vibrant matter is how medieval audiences saw things like potions. It seems as though Marie is showing us how powerful substances are. In other words, what we nonchalantly put in our bodies may actually carry far more significance or carry more influence than we can predict or comprehend. Therefore, perhaps the people of Marie’s time had a greater appreciation for edible matter and the vibrance of matter in general.