In the 13th-century text Ami et Amile, Ami is willingly stricken with leprosy after he replaces Amile in the judicial battle to prove his friend's innocence, having been warned beforehand about the affliction by an angel. This paper explores the notion of vulnerability through the lens of leprosy. Medieval society regarded the leper as being touched by God, a physical manifestation of an inward transgression. Ami, as a leper, incites both fear and longing: the disease excludes him from society due to its contagious and incurable nature. Concurrently, it provides the opportunity for charity by tending to the sick and lowly. In this case, it allows Amile and his children to perform charitable Christian sacrifices to save Ami: Amile murders his own children for the blood cure, while the children die for the benefit of another. Their sacrifices are rewarded as the children are restored to life and Amile is forgiven the infanticide, revealing a logic of vulnerability that applies to the characters as well as the political and social institutions in place. In the end, it is vulnerability that permits ultimate redemption and allows secular personages to achieve spiritual elevation.


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pp. 69-84
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