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When we think of quest stories what do we see? Knights in shinny armor? Magic? Fantasy? Fighting?
Damsels in distress? Yes, in quest stories we do have a hero, which is predominately male, handsome, brave, and smart. His part is to defeat the foe, save the damsel, and ride off at the end, right? Sometimes as readers we focus too much attention on the hero and miss other characters that contributes to his success. No, Im not talking about the sidekick or companion, but what about the women.
The women in quest stories do more than be distressful, but also contribute a lot to making a hero the hero. Using quest stories like Yvain, Perceval, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and Shakespeare's, Pericles we can find that woman can play important roles in quest stories... One of the many roles a woman fills in quest stories are being helpers or provide aid to the hero. In the story, Yvain, we have a knight that rushes out to defend his cousins honor and make a name for himself. Yvain defeats another knight, but in the process of pursuing and finishing his enemy he get trapped and left to be possibly killed by an any angry mob. With help of a maiden named, Lunete, gave Yvain a magical ring that made him invisible to the bloodthirsty mob.
In the context of this story we see a woman helping the hero in a life-threatening situation. Its with the help of a woman that kept the hero in this story from loosing his head and giving him the chance to develop into the hero. A women character in quest stories has a sort of power in designating and initiating who the hero is. In Perceval we encounter the old fashion damsel in distress story. Perceval, eager to be a knight helps out a princess named, Blancheflor, by defeating a tyrant.
You may ask, Now how did a woman in this story contribute to the making of Perceval as the hero? Will it is simple. Blancheflor, being the princess in distress, told Perceval of her situation of being overtaken by a tyrant. It is here that we must understand that Blancheflor wasnt asking for Perceval to intervene or help her, she was just informing him about her dilemma. It was Perceval decision to ultimately step in and fight the tyrant off. In this story we must see the woman as showing the hero the gates into becoming a hero.
She simply offers the hero the chance to be the hero. After helping her, the woman also has the power to deem him as not only her hero, but as the hero of the story. In Sir Gawain and The Green Knight we come a cross unique role a woman can have in a quest story. In most quest stories we can pretty much say that the antagonist is usually a guy, but in this story a woman has the advantage of being mischievous and deceiving. Sir Gawain, is one of Authors knights that agrees on playing a fatal game with a mysterious green knight. Gawain stays at castle in which he was three times persuaded and challenged by the lady of the castle to sleep with her to commit adultery.
Gawain being noble and able to uphold his knightly hood resists all her invitations. Leaving the castle and meeting up to challenge the Green Knight, Gawain is soon to find out that this quest was a test set by King Arthurs evil sister, Morgan. In this story we can see how a woman can be portrayed as the antagonist of the quest. She had the cunning ability to plot such a plan to manipulate and tease the hero, which made her out to be a worthy enemy. Lastly in Shakespeare's book, Pericles, we see a woman being portrayed as being a god. Pericles is the hero in this story in which he sails the seas.
He soon gets married and has a child, but while giving birth his wife died. He buries his wife at sea and leaves his daughter in the care of others. The story is interesting due the fact that his wife never died, but was washed up on the shore of another land. His daughter was forced to do prostitution, but manages not to loose her chastity.
In the mist of all these terrible events happening to Pericles and his family, Dianna, a woman goddess was always helping them. Dianna helped Pericles wife by not dying and be washed to shore, she helped his daughter from not getting raped or killed, and helped Pericles ultimately to find and reunite him with his wife and daughter. Through this story we can see a woman being portrayed as godly and having godly powers to help and play an important role in heros quest. In reading quest stories we must be able to recognize and give credit to the women and the roles that they and relationships they hold to the hero. Even though sometimes they dont hold as much importance to the hero, we should note that they do play an important role in the making up of him. So whither it be helper, damsel in distress, antagonist, or a goddess a womens role in quest stories are what makes a hero the hero and a quest the quest.
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Research essay sample on The Female Role In Quest Stories