Saturday, December 4, 2010

Strife of Maidens

I feel a great likeness to the fair and lovely Lady of Shalott, not only for we have both "lovely faces," but the ever present feelings of hopeless and of entrapment. Dost all women feel this way though? For we live to simply to marry and bear children. The Lady of Shalott, however, is able to be unto herself to practice her weaving like that of Brigantia. But, can she not have her weaving, personal identity and love of a man? For when the Lady of Shalott utters, “I’m half sick of shadows,” when she sees two lovers wed, she seems to wish for love of a man as well as her weaving. So as soon as Lady Shalott hears the singing of Sir Lancelot, “Tirra lira,” she ventures out into the world where she later dies upon a swimming boat.

This curse that has befallen upon her seems to be a prevalent curse that all women share. I was taken from my lovely Ireland, forced to travel to foreign lands and marry a strange man, all for mere diplomatic purposes. It seems as though I were once entombed, when wedded to King Mark and then escaped to attain true love, with that of my dearest Tristan.

4 comments:

Marie de France said...

I agree with you, Isolde. It is too often that women have been trapped by their lives of solitude, even if they are married. Marriage can be more of a prison than a joy to most. I see how you can understand how The Lady of Shalott feels trapped, as you felt that way for so long with King Mark. Though you had to go through the pain of being trapped in an unloving marriage, in the end you were able to be free with Tristan. You are truly lucky to be able to find love when so many standards work to keep women, as you said, entombed in marriages with men that don't love or even respect, in some cases.

Galahad said...

It is true that marriage can be stressful and considered by some to be a trap. But any commitment made under the guise of God must be honored and held to the highest standards. Love can be a glorious thing, yet if there is no observance of the vows that two souls have made to one another, then that love is cheapened and frivolous.

Marie de France said...

Is marriage about love at all when forced? I think perhaps what is cheapened about love and marriage in this setting is the fact that is not about love at all. I believe King Mark and Isolde's marriage was cheap and frivolous, because their union was never about love at all. Not the real love that Isolde and Tristan have.

Sir Launfal said...

So often fewer things cause such grief as love, and it proves such a burden when one is carrying it in such a way as it cannot be fulfilled without tragedy. We've seen it often, with Guinevere and Lancelot, with You, Isolde, and Mark, and of course with the Lady of Shalott. Even Culhwch could not be with Olwen until passing through great travail, and her father had to die for them to be wed. It is sad, yet also amazing to see how such an experience and feeling as Love will drive people to overcome every obstacle imaginable for Love's success and fulfillment.