Return Of Martin Guerre Character Analysis

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Natalie Davis’s The Return of Martin Guerre exhibits the life and times of peasants during 16th century France. Bertrande de Rols, the female protagonist of this historical book, personifies numerous exceptions to the gender roles of this time period. Meager, timid, and subservient are words representative of lower class woman during this time period, and Bertrande displays qualities that are polar opposite. Independent, stubborn, and strong-willed describe Bertrande, not exhibiting typical gender roles of this era in history. The course of action Bertrande takes throughout The Return of Martin Guerre conveys the few instances she follows traditional customs, as well as the several instances she utterly defies them. Because Bertrande identifies with primary peasants, her life at first glance appears below par. In reality, this class of peasants deems her and her family rather prosperous. Living in this particular social class, Bertrande takes full advantage of the…show more content…
Typically, a husband who can’t consummate a marriage should be abandoned without hesitation. When Bertrande is “urged by her relatives to separate from Martin, she firmly refuse[s]” (28). This decision reveals Bertrande’s “certain character traits…a concern for her reputation as a woman, a stubborn independence” (28). Bertrande cleverly calculates the advantages she possesses as a result of Martin’s incompetence. “Her refusal to have her marriage dissolved…freed her temporarily from certain wifely duties…gave her a chance to have a girlhood” (28). Unlike woman of the time, Bertrande’s clever insight uncovers the advantageous qualities of an unconsummated married. Bertrande further eludes societal norms in meeting her alleged husband, Arnaud du
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