, Volume 93, Issue 1, pp 103–121 | Cite as

Women at Montlaon: The Influential Roles of the Female Characters in Court Negotiations in Aliscans and Wolfram’s Willehalm

  • Stephanie L. Hathaway


The importance of the scene at the court in Montlaon in both Wolfram’s Willehalm and its source, Aliscans, cannot be understated. It is the scene of action vital to Willehalm’s success in saving Orange, his march, Gyburg and his illustrious name, and in exacting revenge for the deaths of his kinsmen. In both texts, the decisive support of imperial France that is needed in order for Willehalm to succeed is determined a great deal by the influence of the female characters. The perpetual clan loyalty and promise of benevolence and support required to sustain land, power and the endurance of the family line resides essentially in the relationships between male and female characters, and in the influence of the female characters within these relationships. In a textual comparison and investigation of the themes and roles played by each of the three women present at the negotiations, Irmschart, Blancheflor and Alyze, as well as of the one woman not present at Montlaon, Gyburg, the specific function of each is shown to be deliberately orchestrated and their decisive effect upon the outcome of the negotiations is evident.


Chanson de geste Wolfram von Eschenbach Women Willehalm Aliscans 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of French and Germanic StudiesUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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