Required Thought

Gottfried von Strassburg seems to suggest that, the potion that Tristan and Isolde took brought about an attraction between the two that neither could resist.  Societal expectations and moral considerations are of no consequence to the two lovers. The attraction between the two lovers is all that matters to them. Tristan beds Isolde after taking the potion, this counts as a betrayal of his uncle’s trust in him.  The expectation would have been as his Uncle’s trusted he should have deliver the bride unarmed and untarnished, yet Gottfried uses this to show the kind of strength the resulting attraction is. The two lovers are not remorseful of their actions. This is proved by the trick they pray on the king on the wedding night. They replace Isolde with Brangwain, a companion to Isolde, who was a virgin to cover up for Isolde’s indiscretions.  The two lovers continue to sleep together even after the marriage, adding adultery to the list.               

Gottfried uses these actions, betrayal, trickery, adultery and lies to show the extreme that Tristan and Isolde went under the influence of the love potion. They risked being accused of treason against the king that would lead to possible death or banishment from the kingdom all for love. Gottfried brings out the irrational behavior that is all attributed to the potion. The lovers claim that they cannot control the attraction they have towards each other after taking the potion. The potion’s power is cannot be denied. It leads to actions that affect this story. The love affair between the two lovers is the cause of many conflicts in this story. It brings about hatred, betrayal and even violence between the characters. This cause of this love affair leads us back what brought it about in the first place, the potion. Hence the author seems to give the love potion great power.

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