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Word Count: 1,492
The Role of Women in the Song of Roland Women are not mentioned often in the Song of Roland They appear in only seventeen of almost three hundred laisses It is because they are included so rarely however that the women stand out amidst the throng of male characters and call attention to the areas of the text in which they appear One of the principle woman characters is Queen Bramimionde wife of the pagan King Marsile She plays an important role at the end of the text becoming by association the whole of pagandom and it is only through her that the French emperor Charlemagne can achieve a true victory over the Saracens The first mention of women in the Song of Roland comes in laisse 23 when Ganelon speaks to Charles I well know that I must go to SaragossaWhoever goes there cannot hope to returnMoreover I have your sister as my wife In these lines Ganelon uses kinship as a means to link himself to Charlemagne via the woman He is in effect communicating his last words to the emperor and being reluctant to perform the dangerous task set before him is attempting to evoke guilt in Charles A suitable paraphrase of the lines would be Remember that I am married to your sister whom you are now effectively making a widow Laisse 23 is not only significant because it makes first mention of a woman but also because it is tied directly to the introduction of Bramimonde The pagan Queen first appears in laisse 50 Then Queen Bramimonde came forwardI love you dearly lordshe said to GanelonFor my lord and his men hold you in very high esteemI shall send your wife two necklaces In this passage two women are mentioned the Queen promising rich gifts to the wife in exchange for the husbands treachery This passage immediately stands out from those before it because it tells of a gift that
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