Jan 26: Eliduc

What significance does the supernatural ability of the herb granted by the weasels have in the story of Eliduc? What does this say about how Marie de France feels about nature in general with regards to human life and death?

4 thoughts on “Jan 26: Eliduc

  1. To me, the herb brought by the weasels seemed to serve a “deus ex machina” kind of role so that a happy ending could be achieved, Previously, the lai did not contain any supernatural element, and the mysterious herb seemed sort of out-of-place to me after reading the highly Christian ending. I think the appearance of this herb shows that Marie de France believes that humans–in life or in death–are a part of nature. Perhaps, contradicting my first observation, she felt that magic was also seen as an inherent part of nature, thus giving the sense of nature saving the day.

  2. The weasels were the example of the healing powers of nature in this story. I feel like Marie was encouraging a connection between nature and it’s healing powers. The smaller scale healing of the weasels was a depiction of the large scale healing between the wife and her husbands lover.

  3. The presence of the weasels are meant to remind readers both about the universality of life and death and also the commonality between humans and nature. The weasels have their own story; they appear to experience love and death and revival just as keenly as any human would. Marie even contributes human emotions to the animals, saying one mate “seemed desolate” upon finding the other on the chapel floor (1044). The humans in this story also feel such a story, and without the presence of the weasels the ending would be vastly different. The humans and weasels are connected, just as the lives of the characters are connected to nature in a way that reminds the reader of every person’s tie to the natural world.

  4. The weasels in this lai, and the magical healing herb they contribute, represent nature as a positive force, especially for love. Specifically, a positive force that favors love above all, and not marital love. Obviously, animals don’t have marriage. But, according to this scene they do have love (as displayed by the distress of the dead weasel’s mate). To me, Marie initially presents these weasels as parallels to Eliduc and his amie. However, Eliduc’s wife complicates this parallel for it is she, not Eliduc, who brings the dead mate back to life with the herb. I think this can be read as an acknowledgment of natural love—such as with the weasels and with Eliduc and his amie—over marital love. Thus, the herb and the weasels all work to enforce this message. It’s a Disney-esque notion that Marie seems to entertain—perhaps only to say that natural love is real love—that love conquers all, even death.

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