Role of Victim in Yonec

Throughout most of the lai, the lord’s cruel treatment of his lady fosters sympathy for her in the reader. She is presented as the unhappy victim of his unfounded and immoral jealousy and imprisoned in a tower with a guard. Once she meets the knight her will to live is revived through her love for him, and upon his injury her worry for his life instills in her the courage to leave the tower. After she returns with the tokens given to her by the knight, the role of victim shifts from the lady to the lord who had long imprisoned her. He treats her and the knight’s son with kindness, raising him as his own. Once Yonec hears the tale of his father’s death he kills the man who has played the role of father his whole life without hesitation. As one of the footnote’s establishes this reveals a warped familial relationship between the lady and Yonec, who must kill his father figure without question on behalf of his mother’s sorrow. Therefore none of the characters in this lai present the typical hero, all are significantly morally flawed.

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