La Farce De Maitre Pathelin The Character Of Guillemette

1546 words - 6 pages

La Farce de Maitre Pierre Pathelin has been called "a little masterpiece". In comparison to most earlier works of French medieval literature, it is highly complex in many aspects. In the words of Cazamian, "a high level of artistic creation is reached." This essay will focus on Guillemette and study both her role in the play, and the complex nature of this character. Such a study should give the reader an idea of the plays "high level of artistic creation", and also illustrate some of the many witty double meanings and underlying messages that are present right throughout the Farce.Although Guillemette appears in only four of the ten scenes of the Farce (according to the scene division in the modern French translation), she is much more than just a peripheral character. She has a big influence on the events of the play. The cloth that is stolen is largely for her, as Pathelin promises her: "Pour vous, deux aulnes et demye" . This is important because the entire play is based around the theft of this cloth. As well as this, Guillemette is probably the character most responsible for the drapier's eventual madness. This is thanks to her successful deception of the drapier when he comes to collect the payment he has been promised. She encourages the drapier to think that he is going mad; for example when she exclaims to him: "Ha! Guillaume, il ne fault point couvrir de chaume ycy. Me bailliez ses brocars? Alez sorner a vos coquars, a qui vous vouldr[i]ez jouer." So it can be seen that, despite only appearing in less than half of the play's scenes, Guillemette is essential to the story of the play.Furthermore, in relation to the plays other protagonists, Guillemette is very intelligent. Despite the fact that her husband Pathelin, the play's central character, is a lawyer, he seems inferior to her in intellect and maturity. This comes across most clearly in scenes I and III. The fact that Pathelin and Guillemette are the only two characters in these scenes means it is easier to compare the two characters here than in other scenes with more characters. In the dialogue between the two in scene I, Guillemette's persistent scolding and mocking of Pathelin shows the audience that she is the dominant partner in the relationship, and does not share Pathelin's childishness. For example she tells Pathelin that he is "sans clergise et sans sens naturel". In comments such as "qui emprunte ne choisist mye" and "n'oubliez pas a boire, se vous trouvez Martin Garant" it is clear that Guilemette is much more down to earth than her husband. At times her role is actually more like that of the mother, than of the wife, of Pathelin. In scene III, when Pathelin returns with the cloth, Guillemette's intelligence and sharp logical way of thinking is shown once again when she immediately perceives that Pathelin has used trickery to get the cloth: "Or, par le peril de mon ame, il vient d'aucune couverture." Another interesting aspect about the above-mentioned passage is...

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