Servants of the love: a comparative study of the characters of Curvenal, Rual, Mark, and Brangaene in Gottfried's Tristan
Hornung, Rolph Carl
Master of Arts
This study joins the scholarship on Gottfried's Tristan on the side that evaluates the love of Tristan and Isolde positively. A second point of departure is that the work's main conflict is between representatives of society and representatives of love. The representatives of society are Curvenal, Rual, Isolde Regina, and Mark. Each encounters the protagonists from a limited, prejudicial point of view that is a function of his or her social identity. In contrast, Brangaene stands in an uncannily sympathetic relation to the protagonists that is not determined by any social role. She is the lovers' servant, at the Irish court and in Mark's bed, and also their teacher, in the episodes of the lovers' ruses. Brangaene performs vital service for the lovers by helping to conceal their love and also by enhancing it through her verbal instruction and the positive example of her actions.