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"I love nat to be constreyned to love" - Launcelot and Sexual Vulnerability
Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science, Centrum för lärande, kultur och samhälle (CLKS).
2019 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

While we tend to think of rape as something that happens to female characters, Malory's text does, in fact, contain numerous male characters who suffer attempts to coerce them into sex. This happens to Bors de Ganis, and indeed, to Arthur himself. The most regular victim of this is Launcelot, who is repeatedly in danger of being forced to have sex with various women, and is, of course, in fact drugged and raped.

Launcelot seems to attract these women through his fame and prowess, and his attachment to Guinevere frequently arouses jealousy. However, if we take into consideration rape as a crime of power more than of sexual attraction, another image of Launcelot's situation appears. This reading suggests that the women in question desire power over Launcelot - and the common threat to kill him if he will not acquiesce rather strengthens that suggestion - and this desire puts him in a uniquely vulnerable position. As they are women, they cannot be dealt with through his martial prowess and vanquished in battle; their very defenselessness causes Launcelot's vulnerability. This paper investigates how Launcelot's masculinity, based, as masculinity in Malory generally is, on prowess and the steadfast love for a specific woman, paradoxically places him in what is traditionally a feminine position - that of vulnerability to violence, including sexual violence.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
Malory, rape
National Category
Specific Literatures
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-40546OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-40546DiVA, id: diva2:1350160
Conference
Malory at 550: Old and New, Acadia University, Wolfville, Canada, August 8-10, 2019
Available from: 2019-09-10 Created: 2019-09-10 Last updated: 2019-09-26Bibliographically approved

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Hildebrand, Kristina

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf