One of the things that I have been having trouble with while reading Guigemar and Sir Cleges is the multiple occurrences of events, relationship, or story details that are completely unbelievable, and I’m not talking about the talking hermaphroditic deer.
In Guigemar, besides the talking deer and the self-sailing ship, there are basic parts of the story that are completely unbelievable. Firstly, the fact that the Lady’s husband does not come to see her for 18 months makes no sense given that he is supposed to be an overprotective, jealous husband. One would think that he would visit frequently to make sure she was still completely his property and locked up just the way he left her. Also, the fact that the Priest who supposedly keeps watch over her chamber and leads her in services never notices that there is another man living with her for 18 months.
In Sire Cleges, he is not recognized by the servants who know him well but he has only changed in attire, not in age, or some deformity. This does not seem realistic at all. When the king is doling out lashes, everyone is laughing even though one man appears to be seriously injured. This is not only hard to believe but just quite strange.
These are just a few examples in the text that puzzled me and made me ask, did the people who first heard these stories really just accept everything that was told to them? The stories seem more like a children’s story, with details left out in unfitting places, and things not really making complete sense, something that a child would believe without thinking twice but something that an adult should recognize. I am wondering how over the course of literature how complex, realistic narratives evolved and if the medieval readers/listeners ever questioned a story’s credibility.