For the academic historian, the faithful retelling of the story of Martin Guerre is a treacherous exercise. The events occurred over four hundred years ago in rural France, and few of the participants had the capacity to write.
Summary Analysis Byeverything seemed back to normal in Artigat.
Pierre and Martin were on good terms, their names appearing together on contracts and in lawsuits. Although there is no record of what happened between Martin and Bertrande, Davis suggests that they had reason to make peace, as Martin needed a wife to care for him in his infirmity, and Bertrande needed a father for her children and to maintain her respectable reputation.
Moreover, they both needed to maintain appearances in order to preserve their position in the eyes of the village community.
The reintegration of Martin back into the Guerre family suggests that property remained very important as an index of identity. When Martin took back his role as heir and head of the family, he was accepted. Despite all that had passed between the Rols and Guerre families, property kept them together, since they owned land jointly for several generations.
This demonstrates again the importance of land and inheritance to understandings of identity and family bonds in sixteenth-century French peasant communities. Active Themes Davis asks whether all this means that life went on as if the imposture had never happened.
She suggests that the case would not be so easily forgotten. Surely Bertrande did not forget her time with Arnaud, and the villagers would retell the story for many generations to come. Davis resists an easy ending to the story of Martin Guerre.
Davis recognizes that the story of Martin Guerre is an appealing and sensational one, and she openly questions the reliability of the evidence she has used to construct this particular narrative. For Davis—as for other people who have written about Martin Guerre—there is still profound uncertainty at the heart of the case.
Cite This Page Choose citation style: Retrieved January 5, Bertrande was the daughter of a wealthy and prominent Artigat family. Her marriage to Martin Guerre when she was only a young girl was designed to solidify the alliance between the de Rols and Guerre families, demonstrating that women in sixteenth-century rural France often had little control over their lives and destinies.
Even in a society that severely limited her independence, however, Bertrande . Jan 06, · The Wife of Martin Guerre is a tragedy in which passion is sacrificed to the legal demands of marriage, even if happiness is the victim.
As in any tragedy, the incidents in the novel are first astonishing, then fearful in the extreme. Sep 13, · The Return of Martin Guerre and the Feminist Fantasies of Natalie Davis (Since, in my last post, I talked about Natalie Zemon Davis and her book, the Return of Martin Guerre, I thought to share with you a review I wrote a few years ago, while I was .
Sep 13, · The stated facts of the case which Davis discusses are these: In mid 16th century France, Martin Guerre, a peasant of Basque descent, abandoned his wife, Bertrande, and child, Sanxi, over a fight he had with his father over some grain.
The Mole or the Con Man takes on a fake identity in order to gain something: information, money, a safe place, trust. As time progresses, he grows to love his new identity and the way people treat him. His new friends prove reliable and he is struck by the contrast. In “The Wife of Maritn Guerre,” by Janet Lewis, Bertrande de Rols struggles with the truth.
Lewis uses the character to explore this theme, showing how easy it is to decieve oneself. At first Bertrande accepts “the new Martin Guerre” (p45), although with some doubt, but as time passes the worry increases.