First Advisor

Gina Greco

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in French






French poetry -- To 1500 -- History and criticism, Arthurian romances, Chivalry in literature



Physical Description

1 online resource (141 p.)


Many medieval authors used religious imagery to influence their religiousminded audiences. Old French Arthurian romances are laden with religious images and allegoric undertones drawn from contemporary religious beliefs. The purpose of the present study is to examine the changes in redemptive imagery as represented through certain characters in the romances studied and to demonstrate how the religious views of the Middle Ages were assimilated into this body of Arthurian literature. Two main themes arise from this study: the dynamic quality of the religious images and the functions and purpose of redemption in regards to the final spiritual quest in the four texts analyzed. In Chretien de Troyes's Le Chevalier de la Charrette, the use of Christian imagery is studied with regards to the ever-changing savior-image of Lancelot and his chivalric exploits. The 13th-century Vulgate Lancelot presents many of the same Christ-like images of Lancelot, but proceeds to allude to Lancelot's insufficiencies and a higher chivalric standard. Chretien de Troyes's Le Conte du Graal introduces the Grail into literature and succeeds in creating a new chivalric adventure. The main characters, Perceval and Gawain, are presented as exact opposites in order to emphasize their divergent intents. The final text, La Ouete du Graal, contains the culmination of all the chivalric pursuits and either exalts those who repent or condemns those who refuse to join the spiritual quest. The shift in focus from 12th-century Arthurian romance to 13th-century Arthurian romance is marked by its spirituality and its move towards a self-reflective philosophy. The conclusion of this thesis suggests that this shift reflects changes occurring in the society.


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