Abstract

The central disenchantment scene in Lybeaus Desconus raises two significant medieval concerns, the nature of women and marital consent. The enchantment casts the Lady of Sinadoun into the form of a serpent/dragon-woman with its implications of original sin and female blame. Her disenchantment removes this symbolic covering, and in her naked innocence the Lady offers herself in marriage to Lybeaus in language reminiscent of medieval legal terminology for female marital consent. Other marriages depicted in the text, including the Lady's own marriage to Lybeaus, evoke the constraints medieval marriages placed on women – paternal authority, male coercion, and the loss of legal status for women. The disenchantment scene, however momentarily, inscribes female freedom within this marital context.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1832-8334
Print ISSN
0313-6221
Pages
pp. 67-99
Launched on MUSE
2007-08-28
Open Access
No
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