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uploadlovelust1 - Medieval and Modern Dreams Professor...

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Medieval and Modern Dreams Professor Wronski 10 Feb. 2008 Love or Lust: Women’s Place in Courtship Love can be defined as the combination of physical and emotional attraction, while lust is a purely sexual attraction to a person. In Romance of the Rose , by Guillaume De Lorris and Jean De Meun, the view of love held by the dreamer is fundamentally different than the one held by the black knight of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Book of the Duchess . Both works claim to deal with love, however Romance of the Rose , deals with love only in terms of lust, while Book of the Duchess , tells of a truer love, one that is held together with an emotional bond. The difference in the portrayal and development of love shows that the authors value women differently. Chaucer’s work presents a more modern view of women as strong individuals, while Romance of the Rose keeps women reduced to mere flowers. In Romance of the Rose , love is restricted to purely physical attraction because of the rose allegory. The rose provides a good vehicle for describing the physical beauty of a woman. The dreamer says of the roses, “There were great heaps of roses; none under heaven were as beautiful” (Dahlberg 279). However, the rose element prevents any description of the desired woman’s emotions or virtue. The rose is a passive symbol. A rose cannot speak, act, or have its own thoughts. The rose’s importance in relation to humans is simply as an object of beauty that brings pleasure to the viewer. Furthermore, the rose’s presence in the Eden-like garden indicates the dreamer’s belief that women should ideally be passive, as roses are. The narrator does
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Christopher Mui comment on the rose’s one catch, saying “Cutting, sharp spikes, nettles and / barbed thorns allowed me no way to advance, for I was afraid of hurting myself”(Dahlberg 1670-1671). But even this injuring of the narrator would be because of the narrator’s actions, and not a directed effort from the desired lady.
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