Medieval Epic In Yvain the Knight with the Lion, there are many qualities of a medieval epic, such as loyalty, a quest, and a call to adventure. Although each of these are very consistent characteristics only one quality is emphasized throughout the entire book. Throughout the book the one quality shown most frequently is loyalty. We see this both through Lady lunette’s constant loyalty to the lady, as well and the Ladies loyalty to her husband, and in Yvain’s lion. Loyalty is the one quality that stands out as the most prominent throughout the entire story. The first example of loyalty is when Yvain kills Sir Escalados.
It’s not his murder that is an example of loyalty but rather his wife’s grief and remaining loyalty to her now dead husband, regardless of his passing. Even though her husband has died and she is now freed from all wifely duties towards him she remains by his body weeping and tearing at her hair and beating her chest. Yvain mentions that it is her absolute loyalty and devotion to her husband that causes him to fall so deeply in love with her. Another outstanding sign of loyalty is when, hearing of her husband’s murder she calls for the murderer and screams that he is a coward and she would like to show him the pain he has caused her.
Even though she is obviously physically weaker and incapable of holding a fight she still challenges her husbands attacker in an attempt to avenge her husbands untimely death. Another example of loyalty is Lady Lunnette, whose entire character revolves around loyalty. She is loyal to many different people and somehow manages to do what is best for everyone, never leading people astray or giving false advice. For instance, Lady Lunette tells the Lady to meet and forgive the kind soldier and marry him even though she knows he was the cause of Sir Escalados’ death.
She does this out of loyalty both to the Lady and Yvain, knowing that the Lady needs someone to protect her lands and her people. She also helps Yvain win back the lady’s heart when he leaves and forgets to come back to her. She shows kindness to everyone but is an especially loyal creature to Yvain and the lady who she serves. The last example, and perhaps most obvious portrayal of loyalty is Yvain’s lion. The lion became Yvain’s companion when he was saved from being eaten by a dragon. The lion is the only creature in the book that is purely loyal to one person and one person only.
After Yvain saves him from the dragon he follows him around everywhere serving as a companion, pet and protector. On more than one occasion the lion saves Yvian from other men and even helps him to fight although he has done more than repay his debt to Yvain. The best example of this is when Yvain goes to fight a group of men and they lock the lion in a cage. Rather than sit and wait for his master the lion burrows out of the cage and attacks the people who threatened Yvain, ensuring no harm comes to him.
Though these are only a few examples, they show one of the greatest and most important characteristics, not only in a medieval epic but also in Yvain the Knight with the Lion. The duty and honor with which each of the characters treats one another shows exactly how valued loyalty is. The characters go, more than once, out of their way to go above and beyond the call of friendship and be impossibly loyal in deadly situations. This shows exactly why loyalty is the one quality that stands out as the most prominent throughout the entire story.