In The Letters of Abelard and Heloise, Abelard and Heloise’s faith and morals are justified solely by the Church and society. This discussion of virginity, sex, punishment, society, religion and ethnical views are all tied together into one autobiography written by Pierre Abelard himself.
Pierre Abelard was born in 1079 B.C in France. Abelard was born into a minor noble family where he learned quickly and excelled in the art of dialect, a branch of physiology, which at the time consisted solely on the logic of Aristotle. Unlike his father, Abelard decided to receive an academic career rather than a military career. With his academic career Abelard traveled through France and created a name for him and eventually his travels led him to Paris where he became the master or Notre Dame. The journey through Abelard’s academics was a rough one because Abelard was always at ends with the Church and juggled a romantic career with his wife, Heloise.
The Church in Abelard’s society was very strict. The Church believed that anyone with intellectual knowledge was to use it to glorify God’s name and people had to take the Bible literally and act accordingly. According to Heloise she believes that in Heaven, “no one will envy another… and what each one has will suffice,” (136). This suggests that envy is one of the biggest flaws in the Church. Following this, indeed, one of Abelard’s greatest hindrances is his peer’s jealousy. And the clergy of the Church ignore the modest words of the Bible and conform to the desires of society. The Church in the twelfth century is full of clergy men who are secretly envious of Abelard and in that sense the Church is corrupt.
While the Church plays an important role in The Letters of Abelard and Heloise, society indefinitely contributes to how and why things turn out the way they do throughout this autobiography. In their society women were not as superior as men; society considers women less important than men. Abelard argues, however, that Heloise is in fact his superior since she is married to God (138). Society expects a wife to intercede between God and her husband, even though it considers her secondary to her spouse (121). Heloise understands that women are not superior to men and are only alive to serve their husband and supports it by saying, “changing my clothing along with my mind, in order to prove you the sole possessor of my body and my will alike,” (113). People in the twelfth century ignore the tenets of the Bible in which they do not wish to follow and instead believe that if society accepts their actions, society considers them virtuous. In a sense, society’s standards are held higher than the Church standards and people value society over the Church.
Abelard, completely focused on his studies, had no intention of falling in love until he met someone just as academically advance as himself. Heloise captured Abelard’s heart and they started their love affair. Abelard feels guilty for having sexual...