Marie de France


  1. What is Marie's background?
  2. When did she live? What English court may she have belonged to?
  3. What are lays?


  1. What is the setting at the beginning of the story?
  2. What is Lanval's reputation among the other knights?
  3. What is Lanval's background?
  4. Why do you think Lanval is sad, forlorn and downcast?
  5. How is the maiden's tent described?
  6. How is the beauty of the maiden described?
  7. How realistic is the meeting between Lanval and the beautiful maiden, or is it more like a dream?
  8. What do you think is the point of the maiden asking Lanval not to tell anyone about their love?
  9. Why does the queen get angry at Lanval?
  10. How is Lanval's response to the queen's proposal inappropriate for a knight?
  11. What accusation does the queen make against Lanval?
  12. What does Arthur demand for Lanval's life to be spared?
  13. How do Gawain and the others respond to the charges against Lanval?
  14. How does Lanval respond?
  15. How is Lanval's "trial" carried out?
  16. How are Guenevere and Arthur portrayed?
  17. The maiden is described according to the courtly ideals of Norman beauty. What are some of these traits?
  18. How is Lanval saved from punishment?
  19. What finally happens to Lanval?


  1. What do you think is the role of the nightingale in this story?
  2. The two lovers in the story practice chaste love. They never physically betray the husband. Is the wife an adulterer? Is your sympathy with the wife or with he husband?
  3. Is a purely online relationship in our age between two already married people an adultery?
  4. What do you think the nightingale represents for the husband? What does it represent for the lovers?