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The Romance of Tristan

The Romance of Tristan


by Béroul

 Table of Contents

The Romance of Tristan Themes

The Romance of Tristan Themes


In The Romance of Tristan, Tristan and Yseut don't fall in love at first sight. In fact, they might not have fallen in love at all were it not for the influence of a magical love potion they drink...

Lies and Deceit

Lies only lead to more lies, or so the theory goes, and that's definitely true in The Romance of Tristan. Tristan and Yseut make up all kinds of stuff to hide their adultery from King Mark. Our tw...


Medieval vassals must be willing to demonstrate their loyalty to their lord with their bodies if necessary. Tristan shows that he's willing to do this when he serves as Mark's champion against Morh...


The theme of betrayal is important in The Romance of Tristan, but not in the way you might think. The narrator is firmly on the side of Tristan and Yseut, so he doesn't spend much time dwelling on...

Justice and Judgment

King Mark relies on the medieval version of detective work and forensic evidence to convict Tristan and Yseut of treasonous adultery: flour spread on the floor and blood all over Yseut's bed that t...


In The Romance of Tristan, Tristan and Yseut love each other so much that they are willing to suffer any hardship—including a hardscrabble forest existence. They sacrifice everything – the rela...


In The Romance of Tristan, Tristan initially conceals his identity when he arrives at Mark's court. When he finally chooses to reveal it, he has already built his reputation as an excellent knight...

Fate and Free Will

The love potion that Tristan and Yseut drink in The Romance of Tristan makes them powerless to resist their feelings for one another or to act any differently from how they proceed to act. It compl...

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