La Châtelaine de Vergy: seminar 1
1. Close reading
Read lines 43 – 102. Think about the following :
Ø The structure of the passage
Ø The use of narrative and direct discourse
Ø Significant vocabulary
Ø Representation of rank
Ø The motif of truth versus appearance
2. Wider analysis
Examine the importance of the various relationships in the story (between lovers, married partners or lord and vassal). How do these relationships structure the narrative and what is their significance?
How are men and women represented in the story? In answering this question, you might like to think about gender relations as well as characterisation.
Why does the Châtelaine die? Who, in your view, is to blame for her death? Support your answer with reference to the text.
Are each of the characters justified in acting the way they do (you may like to think especially here of the duke, his wife and the knight)? In what ways are their actions justified (or not)? To what extent does each character have a choice in how they act?
Following on from the question of action and how it can/can’t be justified, how would you describe the ethical dilemma presented by this text? To what extent is this a dilemma that can be resolved?
What is the meaning of this story? Does it have a moral message to convey? To what degree does this message fit with your own reading of the text?
3. Your feedback
In your groups you will be asked to focus on particular questions. Please add your thoughts in advance of the seminar using the comments feature below.