November 8, 2020
Today’s novella—about a man who spends a passionate night with a woman he thinks is his wife’s chambermaid and then sends his friend to “share in the spoils,” only to discover the next morning that his wife has taken her chambermaid’s place in bed and he has cuckolded himself!—leads to a lengthy discussion that allows us to become better acquainted with our storytellers, particularly the men. Longarine takes jabs at Hircan and Saffredent, enjoying their discomfort when she suggests that they are likely to play similar tricks on their wives, and Dagoucin states selflessly that lasting love can only be found when one “loves with no other aim, no other desire, than to love truly,” a comment that prompts skeptical reactions from Simontaut and Geburon. Dagoucin then promises to tell a tale of a man who loved so perfectly, he was willing to die for his love.
One thought on “Story Eight”
One of the funniest rewrites on the motif of dissimulation after the medieval fabliau tradition, especially with the clever twist on the wedding band taken by the neighbor friend and discovered by the bewildered husband! This tale is an equalizer for women in the shape of a life lesson about what a good marriage should be. There are several parallels with Novella 3, with the motif of the cuckolder cuckolded, but with a difference: in Novella 3 the husband could not confront the king, whereas here the wife confronts her husband after the whole affair, in the hope to save and possibly improve their marriage, just as in Novella 6 where the cheating young wife returns to her husband ashamed and sorry.
The references to Plato’s Symposium and Republic are not original, but reverberate onto Dagoucin’s idealist stance in love and poke fun at discourses that pretend to hold truth when emotions do play an important part in reaching a true state of being, especially when romance is concerned.