The theme of Christianity in Marie de France’s “Milun”

The theme of Christianity first surfaced in the writings of the Anglo Normans.  Religious scholars began writing the Bible over and over again, because the public demanded for the religious book to be printed so that they may have their own copies.  As writers began to publish their works, the theme of Christianity began to arise in the writings. As the years progressed, Christianity continued to play a role in authors’ narratives.   For example, themes of Christianity can be seen in Marie de France’s narrative Milun through her use of biblical allusion. One can see the similarities from her narrative  when she states, “Then they laid the child in a little cradle, wrapped in a white linen cloth; beneath his head they placed a fine pillow and over him a coverlet, hemmed all around with marten fur” (ln.99-103). These lines can be thought to be alluding to the biblical story of Moses, and how his mother hid him in a basket to float down the Nile River in order to save his life from Pharaoh. In Milun, the mother wanted to protect her child, so she sent him to stay with Milun’s sister. In a way, Moses’s mother and the mother in Milun share similar attributes, because they both sought to hide their children away in baskets in order to keep them safe. Another biblical allusion I found was when Milun hired men to take his child to stay with his sister. “He turned the child over to some trustworthy retainers who would take him to his destination,”  (ln. 107). This represents the way the wise men sought after baby Jesus, except in Milun the men were not seeking a baby, but rather Milun’s sister. Both the wise men and Milun’s men took their jobs as delivering things very seriously and both sets of men sought to execute their tasks, with the wise men bringing gifts to baby Jesus and Milun’s men delivering his son to his sister. Lastly, the story of the Prodigal Son can be seen through the reunion of father and son that is seen in Milun. When Milun and his son joust, unaware of their relationship, Milun realizes that the man that knocked him off of his horse was his son. Both Milun and his son shared a pivotal moment of reunion that is also read in the story of the Prodigal son. “ ‘God’ he cried, “I’m a new man! By my faith, friend, you are my son!. . .when the young knight heard him, he got down from his horse and kissed his father warmly” (ln.473-478). All in all the story of Milun shares occurrences that are similar to events that occur in the Bible.  Since Christianity was such a grand source of literature during that time, it only makes sense that writers would gain inspiration through stories that they read from the Bible. Marie de France’s narrative Milun was an overall enjoyable read that I found to be interesting and quite entertaining.

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2 responses to “The theme of Christianity in Marie de France’s “Milun”

  1. I really like how you tied so many different aspects of this text back to the Bible. It really shows how much Christianity was written about in this time period due to the church. My favorite part about your post is where you tied in the wise men to Milun just in reverse. Great post!

  2. It is interesting to see all the biblical illusions Marie de France uses throughout “Milun” especially since the story itself is about a love affair. I find it ironic that she chose to use the allusion of the three wise men to deliver the illegitimate child to the mistress’ sister. While the wise men brought gifts to a perfect child, Milun’s men are bringing a child born of adultery.

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