What is the genre that the text “Dame Courtesy”? And who is it’s audience suppose to be? At some points it seems like it is religious text, sometimes it’s instructional, and sometimes it feels like it isn’t talking to women at all. As an object document what is it trying to do?
I thought of it more as a list of proverbs for children to memorize because in the opening lines it says: “For who in yowth no vertus usythe,/ In age all men hym refusythe” (3-4). Since these virtues must be used in youth, they also must be learned in youth. These practical things from everyday life remind me of the things children learn today such as “brush your teeth twice a day” and “eat your vegetables.” From the medieval standpoint these everyday practices would include the religious aspects as well such as “Tahn wasche thi hondys and thi face,/ Keme thi hede and aske God grace” (13-14). This couplet I think is very revealing because it puts practical hygiene and religiosity together, it would be like if our saying about brushing teeth became “brush your teeth twice a day while you pray” or something like that. If the audience is children then they probably would be expected to memorize such things and so the religious would be as much a part of their daily routine as eating and drinking.