The Art Of Courtly Love Essay Research

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The Art Of Courtly Love Essay, Research Paper The Art of Courtly Love What Is Love? What is love? The question as to what love is, is an age-old question that men and women have pondered since the beginning of time. tells us that love is “A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.” We still wonder if love can be described in a simple dictionary definition. In The Art of Courtly Love Capellanus gives us a straightforward definition much like this one in the beginning of the book. It says “Love is a certain inborn suffering derived from the sight of and excessive meditation upon the beauty of the opposite sex. Which

causes each one to wish above all things the embraces of the other and be common desire to carry out all love’s precepts in the others embrace. As we read on there are many more definitions, some more complex, some that would be seen as ridiculous in the twenty-first century and some that contradict them selves. Capellanus leaves it up to his readers to decide for themselves the true definition of love. Before we look at what love is, how to approach it and how to keep it Capellanus gives the reader specific guidelines on who can love. He tells us that there can be no love between people of the same sex or men or women whom have not reached full maturity. (p.30) Later, he also says that love may not exist within religious officials and that love from a woman who is too

concerned with greed and money is a “deadly enemy” (p.145). From these statements one would fall under the impression that there is no love between a mother and a daughter or a father and a son. No person under God, even in the High Middle Ages has the right to judge on whether or not love between homosexuals is proper or improper. All of these statement that Capellanus has made leads the reader to believe that there is only one kind of love, the love between a man and a woman who are physically attracted to eachother. A common theme in The Art of Courtly Love is the way that love should be approached. For, with out approaching love one may never find it. Capellanus makes it very clear that the man, regardless of social class must approach the woman. From there the woman may

“grant” or “reward” the man with her love. From there he explains how love will then take its course in the four stages of love (p.42). The first stage is “the giving of hope,” this means that the woman must let the man think that there is a chance for him to receive her love, if she does not do this than the man must give up. The second stage is “the granting of a kiss.” the third is “the enjoyment of embrace” and the fourth is “the yielding of the whole person.” In the first dialogue the man tells the woman that one must choose a lover differently depending on which stage she chooses him in. Also, when approaching love a man must be aware of his social class and the social class of his love interest and act accordingly to those classes. It would take to

long to name how each social class should act toward another social class but, for example a man who is of a higher nobility will show less respect to a woman of lower nobility or the middle class when approaching her than a man of the middle class would show to a woman of any nobility or higher. Regarding things as simple as asking permission to sit beside the woman. (p. 62) Regardless of class many of the techniques Capellanus suggests still apply in the search for love today. Suggestions such as, “lovers should not immediately begin talking about love.”(p.36) Or, “be careful not do overdo the praise of beauty.”(p.44) Although these examples, along with many others, still ring true today many of the additional things that Capellanus recommends do not, such as the theory