Yvain or the Knight with the Lion tells of Yvain, a knight in King Arthur’s court, whose adventures are initially kicked off by his desire to prove his bravery in the eyes of his fellow knights. Chivalry and courtly love are the two elements underpinning and moving the story, which is set in the medieval period of the famed fictional Arthurian era. Moreover, Chretien de Troyes’ tale highlights the importance of good reputation in the medieval period among knights and how reputation is equated to acts of chivalry and bravery especially for the benefit of the helpless like women.
In Yvain or the Knight with the Lion, the reader is apprised of how a knight’s reputation is made, kept and lost. Apparently, reputation for chivalry, honor and bravery is the all-most important consideration by which each knight lives by. The story’s main character Yvain is a proud man who is impelled to rush and defend his honor from a disparaging remark, obviously made in jest and presumably after several bottles of wine, insinuating inability to make good his words. The challenge, to which he rises started when his cousin Calogrenant told a group of knights that he had been defeated by a knight after he had stirred a storm-brewing magical basin at the edge of a forest. This made Yvain censure his cousin for keeping this from him for so long and promptly vowed to avenge his shame by killing the knight himself. Kay, another knight, mocks Yvain’s pronouncement insinuating that he is merely heady with wine. Stung by the remark, Yvain secretly left for the place mentioned by Calogrenant even when King Arthur himself has scheduled a date to see the place himself (de Troyes Vv 1-746).
It is evident from the initial events of the tale that reputation is very important to medieval knights. Yvain’s decision to scurry secretly even to the point of