This weblog is part of Natalie Grinnell's English 201: English Literature to 1800 course at Wofford College.
posted by Natalie Grinnell @ 9:47 AM
I think that the legend of Tristan (at least the part we read) was popular for the same reason that Romeo and Juliet was so popular. There is something appealing to us in tragedy. It speaks to a part of us, and moves us in a way that is both terrifying and exhilarating. It is something we can sympathise with, and draws out an emotional response that we don't generally feel.
The fact that Tristran and Ysolt are completely helpless in their own love is the nub of the story. They are drawn together by a love potion, and, so it seems, cannot ever be separated, not even in death. True, the tragedy is what drives the story, but it is the reason for the tragedy, or rather, the fact that there is no reason for the tragedy at all. It is senseless, yet it is a beautiful kind of senselessness.
The legend of Tristan is popular because of the ideal love that Tristan Ysolt share. Neither lover can function without the other. This type of love seems to be what many people are looking for in their life. A love that is so consuming and powerful that nothing else matters. The idea is appealing however impractical it may be.
I feel that the reason the legend of Tristan is so popular is because of how it makes the reader feel. Everyone in this world wants to be loved and wanted. And even though it was because of a potion, Tristan and Ysolt are wanted and loved by one another. The only reason he stayed alive for as long as he did was because he hoped that we would get to see her again. The two are connected by absolute love and devotion to one another. The fact that Tristan could not even consummate his marriage to Ysolt of the White Hands shows how much he loves his first Ysolt. I believe that everyone is searching for a relationship that goes this deep and the feeling of hope that this story gives its readers helps to spur that search onward.
I think that the legend of Tristan has many components that pulls readers into the story that make it so popular. Readers' emotions are captured from the beginning because of the deaths of his parents. He has a tragic past and has experienced so much that you grieve for him in every way possible. Then, I agree that you end up with the beginnings of the storyline that Shakespeare created. The story encompasses so many sides to a great story and moreover, a great love story. The introduction said that this story initiated many other love stories in literature in its time. Disney's Sleeping Beauty is like the suspenseful ending in which Ysolt's love is Tristan's only hope for life. Love stories are timeless and everyone can connect to them and dream of someday having their own love story to tell. The story of Tristan and Ysolt is one of the oldest known and that makes it a story everyone wants to read.
The story of Tristen is a very commonly used story plot. There are two lovers who are seperated and are longing for each others love and effection. This is seen in Romeo and Juliet and many more movies/plays. It is a beautiful story and tries to show the power of true love. There are different types of love but this love that Tristen and Ysolt share is the ultimate love; love that can't live without its counterpoint. I enjoyed reading this story because it just paints a beautiful picture of what love desires to be.
When reading the story the first thing I thought about was Romeo and Juliet, one of the most well known stories out there. This is a tragedy and people love tragedies. However, there were also spots that brought up different emotions in the reader. I think that Thomas says it best when he says "...he takes leave of all lovers, the sad and amorous, the jealous....If I had not pleased all with my tale..." This story deals with love and hope and tragedy and jealousy and even some devious planning to help touch every reader in some way.
I think that the story of Tristran is popular because it appeals to the reader's senses. Tristran and Ysolt share a love that draws the reader in. It is a love that, naturally, people want to experience in their life. Everything Tristran and Ysolt do is for eachother. To them, nothing else matters except for the love they have for one another. The tragedy in the story adds to the effect on the reader by drawing even more emotion out of him or her because it is very hard to grasp that a love so beautiful must end in such a tragic way.
The story of Tristran and Ysolt is appealing to the masses because it captures what everyone wishes they had: true undying love. The fact that Ysolt ended her life because her lover died is so extreme. People read because it is interesting and they are slightly envious of a love that enveloping. It is popular because it presents a great conflict as well. Most people guess that Tristran is going to die, but it's how he and Ysolt will handle it that is intriguing. Their love remains forever immortalized by the story.
There are several factors that make the story of Tristan so appealing. First, it is a love story, and most audiences are very interested in love. Many people search for love all their lives, especially a perfect love like that of Tristan and Ysolt. Also, the fact that it is a tragedy is very attractive. We are fascinated by the sadness that we can let ourselves fully experience without actually experiencing it.
The story of Tristran and Ysolt’s love tragedy is one that continues to show up in plots for many contemporary stories. Readers love this tragic love story because the love that Tristran and Ysolt share for one another is unconditional. Their love is so pure and boundless that they focus on one another, rather themselves. Most people never reach the level of commitment to one another in their lifetimes that Tristran and Ysolt come to share in a short period of time. The idea that two people can be connected in such a way that their very souls are intertwined, that they cannot bare to live without one another, is a type of love that is rarely seen today. Readers find hope of obtaining this immeasurable love when they read the story.
Tristan's undying love for Ysolt, and the vice versa, seem to be the hook of the story, which is very similar to those two star crossed lovers and their tragedy. The popularity of this type of story has echoed across time with Shakespeare, as I am sure it would be popular before him as well. The idea of a love potion reminds me too much of Harry Potter, and if you have read that, you understand that the result of good love potion is Voldemort, which is very bad. The love potion idea turns the intrigue of the story up somewhat with a supernatural element (at least I wish I could make some cool potions, not love potions, but really any potion with supernatural powers), but I feel like it does less for the powerful nature of love, and instead provides a view into the power of a potion.
Post a Comment
View my complete profile