Mi Suete Leuedi, Her Mi Béne: The Power and Patronage of the Heroine in Middle English Romance
Master of Arts, McGill University, Montreal July 27, (1998)
This thesis examines the heroines in Middle English romances and argues that, like the noblewomen who lived in England during the Plantagenet period, they are not helpless princesses simply waiting to be rescued by the brave, strong hero. In fact,these heroines show an enormous amount of intelligence. Ingenuity, perseverance. and strength of character. Many play a pivotal role in the hero’s success in his quest by giving him a token, providing knowledge,or teaching him a lesson. Also,it is the heroines who provide the heroes with rewards after the quests are completed. The present thesis offer a contribution to the study of Medieval English Romances in providing a revision of standard feminist analyses.
In many of these studies there seems to be a lack of appreciation for the role of fernale character and their relation to the outcome of the hero’s quest. Even studies written from a feminist perspective tend to over look the strength of the heroine’s character, the attainment of her goals, and the fact that she is often a powerful figure who is of much higher status than her suitor. In these romances the female characters wield a substantial amount of both private and public power, an aspect of the genre which has often been ignored.