Tristen and iseult Essay

This essay has a total of 558 words and 4 pages.


Tristen and iseult





Tristen and Iseult



The book The Romance of Tristen and Iseult was filled to the brim with symbolism, the
sword, the dragon, the philter, and plenty of others. Each of these has many paradoxical,
similar, Ironic, oxymoronic, and contradictory symbols. The Philter, in particular,
symbolizes several contradictory ideas.


The Philtre was a potion that made both drinkers of the potion fall in love. There must
be some rational explanation for why Tristen and Iseult went from enemies to lovers. One
very possible answer is that the potion was a very potent aphrodisiac. Meaning they
didn’t fall in love but in lust. The queen must have wanted Iseult and the king to drink
that and have a very productive honeymoon. Also by giving this potion to Iseult she would
be much more willing to go to bed with this stranger that she will be marrying. Tristen
and Iseult drank this potion and from then on they were screwing at every possible moment,
as this quote from the book shows. “But in every hour and place every man could see Love
terrible, that rode them, and could see in these lovers their every sense overflowing like
new wine working in a vat.” Going from one hating the other and the other bringing her
home for his beloved king to making love anywhere they can would have to be a very
powerful sexual stimulant.


The contradictory representation of the Philtre would be Love. Once drinking this potion
the drinkers were supposed to fall madly in love for all time. The two who drink from
this would never waver from one another. As proven in this passage when Ogrin was
speaking to Tristen.


‘The King has published a ban in every parish: Whosoever may seize you shall receive a
hundred marks of gold for his guerdon, and all the barons have sworn to give you up alive
or dead. Do penance, Tristen! God pardons the sinner who turns to repentance’

‘And what should I repent, Ogrin, my lord? Or of what crime? You that sit in judgment upon
us here, do you know what cup it was we drank upon the high sea? That good, great draught
inebriates us both. I would rather beg for my life long and live of roots and herbs with
Iseult than lacking her, be king of a wide kingdom.’
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