le jeu de Robin et marion
Despite my assumptions, Le Jeu de Robin et Marion is not a story of Robin Hood and Maid Marion, but is instead a musical comedy about shepherds. This is the first play that I have read where there are two named female characters who interact, and they prove themselves to be witty and capable. They are both shepherdesses who are not afraid to rebuff men's advances, or escape from their clutches. After a knight passes through the village making advances to Marion, she rebukes him, swearing fidelity to her lover, Robin. While the play reinforces the feudal class hierarchy, it subverts the trope of the damsel in distress. When captured by the knight, the men take up arms to go after Marion, but she had already escaped her captor. Her friend, Peronnele, is equally strong, parrying her male companions innuendos with her own with. It begs the question if Adam de la Halle was an aberration or if this period predated the tropes and misogyny that is typical of much of the early modern European drama.
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M.A. French Literature Florida State University