Saturday, October 4, 2008

Tristan and Iseult



First impressions? Interesting observations?

Here's a starter topic: Do you think Iseult makes good sandwiches? Why or why not?

51 comments:

puddlewonderful said...

Does anyone else see some very slight connections to Shrek? I mean, he slays--well, defeats/outwits-- a dragon to get a maiden for a king, but falls in love with her while bringing her home. I know it's a very, very loose similarity, but one wonders if Dreamworks drew from the story at all when planning the movie...

JP said...

I like how you're getting in the sandwich spirit now. Everyone likes sandwiches.

... Can anyone tell me where to find this Tristan and Iseult story?

Dean Elazab said...

Um john its a real book we bought. and yeah shrek has had to have inspiration. it is a fair tale, and sleeping beauty has the dragon/princess as well. maybe T&I stole it from another story.

El Paco said...

Yeah - maybe they stole it from your MOM!!!

Caroline said...

I really didn't like how they fell in love because of the wine/ potion because it makes their love seem artificial and almost more like a curse than actual love.

El Paco said...

That's how they fell in love? I thought it was because of your mom!

puddlewonderful said...

I agree with Caroline. I really think that potion demonstrates the worldview of love at the time. The purest love was the kinship/loyalty/fealty between a vassal/knight and his lord. Love between a man and a woman to them was simply illogical, something that happened more of magic than of the soul and the heart.

In many ways it seems to me that Tristan and Iseult's love is a curse-- well of course it is, but not just because they cannot be together. I think, at least to the medieval reader/listener (they were mostly illiterate...) that the real tragedy is that Tristan's relationship with King Mark is marred. He cannot be that brave and noble vassal because he is haunted by this passionate love.

Dean Elazab said...

Does the potion stand for artificial love and how that courtly love is better? or does it stand for alcohol and that it can make anyone fall in love? just putting it out there.

El Paco said...

It stands for your mom.

stephen gieger said...

I think what Dean brings up about the love potion is a good point. The fact that the love potion makes them fall in love insintuates that love like this could not occur naturally. In that time, it would have been extremely out of the ordinary for a man to betray his relationship with his Lord over anyone especially a woman. Love with wome have evolved somewhat from that of the Greeks but still does not take presidence.

El Paco said...

I think that the point I brought up earlier about your mom was quite insightful.

Dean Elazab said...

well your mom didnt need to drink a potion to fall in love with me andrew. And thanks stephen, tristan would need something unexplainable to show why he would betray his vassal position for some woman

Ehren said...

Yes, I agree with Michelle and Caroline. I think the philtre makes their love seem like something imposed, and since the whole story revolves around thier romance, it almost seems like all of thier plights are caused by an artificial source.

Ehren said...

I also like how Michelle has started resorting to sandwhich comments...

Aaron Nussdorf said...

i didnt get the vibe that the potion was alcohol. to me, the potion shows that, at that time as now, sex in general but especially out of wedlock was considered dirty. another thing: hygiene wasnt very high on the to-do-list. maybe it was a way to make them forget that?
it sounds to me that iseult would make a good sandwich...sorry.

puddlewonderful said...

In the sandwich debate we must not forget that this is hypothetical. Living in the middle ages, Iseult would not be familiar with the concept of the sandwich.

stephen gieger said...

I think that Aaron makes a good point in saying that the potion does not represent alcohol. The potion simply repesents a means for Tristan and Iseult to break away from their social norms and engage in an innapropriate relationship. Without the potion, their sin could not have been commited. The potion must be considered in the context of the story's time period and not in our modern context.

tmichals said...

I don't really get the whole potion/ alcohol relationship? Alcohol only effects people for a short period of time and their love was clearly not temporary.

Mr. Plainview said...

Just a general observation...I couldn't help but think of Romeo and Juliet as I read this. I can see the same treachery, coincidence and fatal love. The fiasco at the end really sparked my memory. Both Romeo and Tristan die when they think they will never see their love alive again. Both Iseult and Juliet die when their respective men die.

Caroline said...

yeah, i don't understand the alcohol reference/ reasoning either. How can the potion represent alcohol?

joel derby said...

Cuz people get drunk and fall in love for ever obviously...

But wine was the drink of choice, there wasn't exactly a drinking age, and I think the potion represents the supernatural since they had alcohol and they say it is wine.

El Paco said...

Honestly, I'm pretty sure the potion represents your mom.

joel derby said...

And about the sandwich argument, I make really good sandwiches, does that make me a women?

El Paco said...

yes

El Paco said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tmichals said...

Brandon you make a really good comparison to Romeo and Juliet. I felt the same when I was reading it. They are both classic romantic tragedies where love and fate are common themes. Whether or not love "exists", it causes tragedy among the characters in both Romeo and Juliet and Tristan and Iseult.

Dean Elazab said...

Brandon i agree. the moral of the stories of R&J and T&I is that you shouldnt kill yourself over others, because they are most likely alive/comming to see you. the alcohol was simply a hyper realistic approach, i dont believe that the reference was true because there was a dragon in the story, there destroying any hope of realism.

bballinsupasta said...

i think that the passion between Tristan adn Iseult was like something that could actually happen between people, but I think that their version was not real love.

bbalinsupasta said...

i agree with the people who said that the potion does not represent alcohol. their intense passion is the only side effect. we don't hear of them doing any crazy things like jumping off the boat because they were under the influence.

bballinsupasta said...

o, and btw, i'm pretty sure that shakespeared ripped the story of r and j from t and i.

stephen gieger said...

I think that what Taylor and Brandon said earlier about the Romeo and Juliet analogy makes a lot of sense. Not only do the characters end in tragedy despite the actuality of their love, but they also come from different backgrounds that initially hate each other. The love conquering all concept seems to transcend all other cultural restrictions.

Aaron Nussdorf said...

i dont think that Shakespeare "ripped" "Romeo and Juleit" from Tristran and Iseult, rather Shakespeare was heavily influenced by the epic because Shakespeare changed alot of things.

Manal said...

Their love seems fake to me just because I can't forget the fact that they love each other because of the potion. It all feels fake and forced. So, like Mrs. Scandurro asked in class, I can't find any sympathy for them and their fate because their death was a result of the potion and not because of a real, crazy love thing.

Mr. Plainview said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr. Plainview said...

Does Iseult of the White Hands do anything wrong in the end? I mean, as the audience, can we sympathize with her? Do we try to justify her actions?
I can see how the argument might be made she was used by Tristan. But does she not ruin any chance for Iseult to see her love alive one final time? Tristan was dying anyway; what harm would one visit have done? And besides, what did Iseult ever do to Iseult of the White Hands?

Mr. Plainview said...

Okay, I hope this doesn't sound too hokey. I've been thinking, though...could Tristan have survived the poison spear if Iseult had made it by his bed in time. In other words, could the presence of Tristan's love purged his soul of the poison. That must sound really silly, but this is a fairy tale after all. What if the love potion was so much stronger than the poison in Tristan's veins and the joy of Iseult's presence amplified it--thereby expelling all poison of the spear from the body? In this case, much more blame would have to be placed on Iseult of the White Hands.

Caroline said...

I think it definitely could have cured Tristan because at least one other time (when Tristan was poisoned in battle) Iseult and her mother cured him; therefore, medically she might have been able to help him, and emotionally she defiantly would have helped him live. I also think that it's hard not to hate Iseult of the White Hands regardless.

stephen gieger said...

I think that Iseult's knowledge of medicine is an interesting concept that occurs during the book. In the midieval period, only men were people of reason who could understand the concepts of the world, yet Tristan is saved by Iseult's medical knowledge where he and his companions thought he was beyond saving. Her intellect in this case obviously overwhelms that of men.

ndepass said...

i believe that even is tristan and iseult wouldnt have had the love potion that they still would have fallen in love. for some reason, i guess just the way the text was written, it seems that Iseult would eventually love Tristan and it is obvious Tristan liked her. So i don't think it neccesarily discredits love and stands for courtley love

El Paco said...

Overall, I thought it was pretty good. The love potion, I think, was just a way for the narrator to explain why Tristan and Iseult would even think about breaking the rules of society. I'm pretty sure we've said this a number of times in class, but still - physical love was not part of courtly love, and in that time period, you'd have to be crazy to break the social rules.

JP said...

I loved it. It was beautiful.





Is it going to be on the test?

El Paco said...

Not sure...but I think your mom might be on the test

joel derby said...

I think Tristan didn't really any thing her. He was sent to get her for his lord whom he he loved, he would never betray the trust of his uncle. He might have been grateful to her for saving his life, but I do not think he desired her in anyway.

tmichals said...

Tristan represents the medieval idea of courtly love by both showing honor towards King Mark and his community and demonstrating risk in his love for Iseult. Like Joel said, Tristan went through great lengths to not betray his lord King Mark, a major characteristic of the courtly love.

bballinsupasta said...

i agree with jp. i'm not sure whether or not t and i would have fallen in love without the potion because iseult was promised to mark. she was a good daughter who respected her father, and therefore, she would not have allowed herself to fall in love with tristan.

JP said...

So I have a question.

How would Tristan & Iseult be changed if they had fallen in love without any kind of magical potion facilitating their relationship?

Would it be different at all? I feel like the potion is more or less inconsequential to the plot of the story - does it really matter how they fell in love?

I think that maybe the only purpose the potion serves in the story is in some sort of symbolic role. I'm not really sure what it would symbolize though. What do you think, humanities?

Manal said...

I think that if they had fallen in love without the potion, there might have been a chance that they'd be able to forget their love and when they would try to make things work out, they would have a better chance of succeeding. The potion makes it harder for them to break apart because they had to die together.
I also think that Iseult's servant lady might not have been so faithful and understanding becasue she would know the love was wrong. Originally, she makes sacrifices to keep their love a secret because of her part in it. If she did not give them the potion, she might not have been so friendly to the cause.

michelle scandurro said...

"well your mom didnt need to drink a potion to fall in love with me andrew"

OKAY DEAN--THAT'S ENOUGH!!!

ANDREW: YOUR MOM!!! THAT WAS THE FINAL SAY. THE FINAL "YOUR MOM." ANY MORE REFERENCES TO ANYONE'S MOTHER WILL RESULT IN DISCIPLINARY ACTION. UGH. I CAN'T BELIEVE I HAD TO SAY THAT.

ndepass said...

i find it funny that Tristan and Iseult were in the Hell of dante's inferno. because when i read this novel i knew that they "sinned", but i dont think they deserved a punishment like the one they received. I think in our culture we have an entirely different opinion on those sorts of things so i guess it is hard for me to understand how bad that sin was to them.

Aaron Nussdorf said...

Nick, I dont think that Tristran and Iseult sinned; I think that they were the sufferers of extraordinarily bad luck. They didnt choose to drink the potion; it just happened.

Margaret said...

I think the forbidden aspect of the romance probably appealed to them in a way. It was dangerous and exciting. So, they probably liked it to some degree.

Drinking the potion brought them the greatest love that two people can share. Wasn't it worth it in the end? That love was obviously destructive so maybe not, but that's up to you. I think that kind of love doesn't happen upon you very often, even if facilitated by a love potion. You have to run with it. Otherwise, you could regret it for the rest of your life. Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.