Event Title

Power, Agency, and the Magical Feminine: Representations of Morgana Le Fay in Medieval Literature

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Craig Callender

Proposal Type

Oral Presentation

Start Date

2-11-2019 9:10 AM

End Date

2-11-2019 10:10 AM

Location

Nesbitt 2201

Abstract

From Medieval literature to contemporary books and films, Morgana Le Fay, the famed sorceress of Arthurian legend, is a compelling and powerful female figure. Through a meta-analytic review of several Medieval texts, among them, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Erec and Enide, and L’ Morte de Arthur, this research project reviews representations of Morgana Le Fay throughout Medieval literature and examines Morgana Le Fay’s cultural relevance as a uncommon portrayal of female power and agency. This presentation argues that Morgana Le Fay is highly symbolic of the magical feminine and that portrayals of her gradually change from positive to negative with the increased male hegemonic authority of Christianity. Morgana Le Fay’s ties to the magical feminine, healing, and witchcraft are a significator of renegade female behavior that acts in opposition to patriarchal Medieval society. Her increased characterization as a dangerous and evil woman within Post-Vulgate Arthurian narratives is indicative of her power and autonomy in relation to male authority. This presentation posits that Morgana Le Fay is an unusual example of female agency and, as such, provides valuable insight to dichotomous representations of women in Medieval literature as good (confined) or evil (unconfined).

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Nov 2nd, 9:10 AM Nov 2nd, 10:10 AM

Power, Agency, and the Magical Feminine: Representations of Morgana Le Fay in Medieval Literature

Nesbitt 2201

From Medieval literature to contemporary books and films, Morgana Le Fay, the famed sorceress of Arthurian legend, is a compelling and powerful female figure. Through a meta-analytic review of several Medieval texts, among them, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Erec and Enide, and L’ Morte de Arthur, this research project reviews representations of Morgana Le Fay throughout Medieval literature and examines Morgana Le Fay’s cultural relevance as a uncommon portrayal of female power and agency. This presentation argues that Morgana Le Fay is highly symbolic of the magical feminine and that portrayals of her gradually change from positive to negative with the increased male hegemonic authority of Christianity. Morgana Le Fay’s ties to the magical feminine, healing, and witchcraft are a significator of renegade female behavior that acts in opposition to patriarchal Medieval society. Her increased characterization as a dangerous and evil woman within Post-Vulgate Arthurian narratives is indicative of her power and autonomy in relation to male authority. This presentation posits that Morgana Le Fay is an unusual example of female agency and, as such, provides valuable insight to dichotomous representations of women in Medieval literature as good (confined) or evil (unconfined).