In the contrasting lives and fates of the rulers, husbands, vassals, and wives, and through the use of ambiguity and the manipulation of gender stereotypes in the Roman de Silence, Heldris of de Cornüalle offers a model of political and personal lordship which is founded upon consultation, consent, and self-restraint. When superiors, be they lords or husbands, provide an environment for the sharing of wisdom, both home and court nurture loyalty, good service, true liberality, and peace in vassals and wives. While Heldris's portrayal of the characteristics of good lordship is in many senses conventional, his hero(ine) and the parallels he draws between lordship and marriage affirm a very unconventional notion that women should play an active role in both governance and marriage.


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pp. 138-159
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