Monday, July 22, 2019

The myth of Tristan and Isolde Essay Example for Free

The myth of Tristan and Isolde Essay The myth of Tristan and Isolde begins with the childhood of Tristan, who was a child of a knight named Rivalen and a maiden named Blanchefleur, the sister of a King Mark. He was raised in secret by his foster father, due to an illegitimate conception, and the early death of both his parents – his father in battle, his mother after birthing him. When he was fourteen, he wound up (in different versions in different ways) at his uncle’s court, where for four years he trained and became one of the best and most beloved men under King Mark. In four years, his foster father found him at this court, and told the King the truth. The king loved his nephew even more, and made his newfound nephew a knight. With this newfound status, Tristan killed the murderer of his father, a certain Morgan, and thus became the champion of Cornwall. After that an Irish Morholt demanded tribute from Mark, and Tristan challenged him to a battle. He won, but at the price that no one except the sister of Morholt, Isolde the Elder – who is the mother of his beloves Isolde could heal a wound that he received. So he journeyed to Ireland under the guise of Tantris the harper, and for his music, got the queen to heal his wound, then returned to Cornwall.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   In Ireland, many people were jealous of the luck and glory that Tristan claimed. Especially three noblemen: Ganelon, Godwin and Denoalan, who hated him with a passsion. They placed upon him a nearly impossible task: to win the Irish princess’s hand for King Mark – and that considering that Ireland and Cornwall were enemies! Fortunately, Tristan found a way, in a version of the classical tale of the dragonslayer’s possession of tongues. In the legend, his identity is discovered before he goes through the final stage of comparing the tongue and the head, but he manages to convince the Isoldes not to kill him, but to rationally allow Isolde the Younger to become queen of Cornwall and Ireland. He passes the trial, and Isolde is sent with him – along with a love potion mixed with wine, that her maid, Brangwain, is to administer to Isolde and King Mark. However, that is not fated to be, as Tristan and Isolde accidentally share a cup of the wine and, as a result, fall madly in love with each other – a passion that neither can make abate or resist in any kind of way. Isolde loses her maidenhood to Tristan on the ship. To conceal this error, the lovers and Brangwain have Brangwain spend the first night with King Mark. Thus, Isolde was able to live well at court.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   However, the two lovers were unable to stop meeting, and soon, there were quite a few rumors. There were many attempts to catch them, until one time, when they were making love, a wound of Tristan’s opened, and the sheets were splattered with blood. There versions part: either they are accused immediately, or the ruse is kept up for a certain amount of time. Either way, Isolde has to take an oath that she isn’t lying and be tested by the hot iron, and she is able to do so without any harm to herself, due to a trick she and Tristan devised. By falling on him when he aided her to cross the river and disguise, she was able to swear that â€Å"she has never had any man between her legs except Mark and the peasant on whom she fell†. In any case, the two are exiled (with different amounts of violence), and they live in a far-off forest. One day, when Mark accidentally comes upon them, he finds the lovers asleep apart, clothed, with a sword between them – they were very tired that day. Feeling guilty of his doubt, he left a sign that he had been there. The lovers awake, different in two versions, either feeling guilty yet in love, or with effects of the potion finally worn off. In any case, they return Isolde to Mark, and Tristan goes into exile.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   There he marries a Breton woman named Isolde of the White Hands. However, he cannot forget Isolde, and cannot consummate their marriage, speaking of an old wound. However, when this is one day mentioned to the brother of Isolde, Kaherdin, he wishes to see this woman, Isolde. The two secretly return to Cornwall, and while Tristan reunites with Isolde, Kaherdin unties with Brangwain. However, a knight named Cairado accused them of being cowards, as he made their squires run away, and this led to conflict with Brangwain. However, Kaherdin remedied the situation by killing Cairado.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   However, later Tristan received a wound from a poisoned lance, from which only Isolde could heal him. In a tale reminiscent of Theseus, the ship with Isolde sailed back with white sails, but the Isolde of the White Hands said that the ship was with black sails – meaning Isolde had betrayed him – and Tristan died of grief. So did Isolde, once she learned of this death. On their graves, which were near, two trees grew, intertwining, that even King Mark could not hack down. Thus ended their romance.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   In Campbell’s interpretation of the Hero, Tristan doesn’t quite fit. A Heroic task is to â€Å"integrate these [psychological] parts or energies and win the prize our individuality, our sense of place, our sense of purpose.† (Campbell, 1990) Tristan, if anything, loses himself in his love, though, admittedly, gaining a certain distinction from the rest in the process. He does have a sense of purpose – it is his love, Isolde – however, he is by no means integrated. He does not achieve the end of the Hero’s quest, and dies – distinct, but a distinct failure, as well. He is an example of a good intention, but bad realization.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Campbell shows how the supernatural rules over people’s lives. Quite a number of lives were ruined because of one simple mistake when dealing with magic. The supernatural corrupts, twists lives and fates, never allowing people to do what they truly wish, restraining will. This mythological element plays in full force here. This is the tragedy of dealing with a blind force that simply does not care for humans and their petty trifles†¦ Such as love. The whole story of Tristan and Isolde is a protest against this sort of violation of the human being, of its desire to be and live as an ipseity unto itself.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   In relation to this is the theme of individualism and its conflict with society, which Campbell recognizes the tale of Tristan and Isolde as one of the first manifests of. Society would force them to conform – and this brings happiness for no one. Individuality, and its logical consequence, egoism, are increased by the love potion, and forced to show itself from the worst angles – betrayal, adultery, lies and provocations. This would, indeed, be true of any strong individuality, but is shown particularly well in Tristan and Isolde in particular, as to what can individuals when consumed by a passionate cause do. Individualism is a powerful force. Though here it cannot yet defeat society and fate, and thus complete the Hero’s journey, this tale certainly set the mood for some larger breakthroughs. References. Tristan and Isolde, Retrieved from: Accessed on: May 1, 2005 Campbell, Joseph, Transformations of Myth Through Time. New York: HarperCollins, 1990 Campbell, Joseph, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Bollingen Series XVII). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1949.

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