How to behave around damsels. The behavior of knights and damsels in the brother sequence of the Lanceloet.
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In the still surviving part of the Lanceloet of the Lancelot Compilation, there is a section where the four brothers of Walewein: Mordred, Agravein, Gurrees and Gariet, become involved in numerous adventures while on a quest to find Lancelot. In these adventures, they encounter various damsels. This thesis researches what (system of) norms for the behavior of knights toward damsels and vice versa can be distilled from this section, within the context of the Lancelot Compilation. In this thesis I have looked at two major themes: the theme of sexuality, courting and consent, and the theme of obligation and duty. I have found the presented norms in the section to be offered with room for debate. In Mordred’s passage, his cruelty is demonstrated by bad sexual behavior, but he likewise encounters damsels and knights behaving badly. Agravein’s adventures are featured least, for he encounters the fewest damsels. Gurrees’ section is very extensive, and it features a lot of contact between Gurrees and damsels. In this section, Gurrees starts out as a courtly lover, but, perhaps due to sexual frustration, increasingly results to using force and violence. The three sequential episodes of courting scenes that Gurrees encounters, leave room for discussion and disagreement between listeners. The last knight, Gariet, does encounter many damsels, but he does not engage with them romantically. He is more concerned with his duty and the obligations he has towards damsels. I have contrasted his decisions therein (especially his decision to save a fellow knight, resulting in a damsel’s death), with decisions made by his brother Walewein in a previous part of the Lanceloet. Here also, there is room for disagreement and discussion about norms between listeners.