What Are the Characteristics of a Medieval Romance?

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In medieval romance, chivalry and the heroic knight are idealized, the plot includes a romantic love, the setting is mysterious and vague, and the number three is a prominent figure, according to Loyola University New Orleans. An example of medieval romance is Marie de France’s “Lais.”

Medieval romance focuses on the chivalric heroic knight, who also has some very specific characteristics. He is generally born shrouded in mystery, often illegitimate or of questionable legitimacy, and is raised away from his true home, unaware of his identity or true parents. After he meets a major challenge, he is recognized as an adult and claims his birthright, and his victories benefit his country or a large group that depends on him. This description tracks very closely to Lord Raglan’s theory of the hero as outlined in his book “The Hero: A study in Tradition, Myth and Dreams.”