Erec and Enide: explanation of the story

For the study of this text, Erec and Enide, we will use the edition of Jean-Marie Fritz, according to the manuscript BN. En 1376, The book de Poche, “Gothic Letters” No. 4526, 1992. Here is the seventh part of the study: Explanation of the story.

erec and enide Explanation of the story

The Prologue (verses 1-26)

A classic prologue

The first chansons de geste had already preceded the story with a few introductory verses praising the “good song” (William's song) or the "song of joy and boldness" (Raoul of Cambrai); the author of Coronation Louis even added a few derogatory words about the jugglers:

     I don't know why the ugly juggler boasts
     He doesn't say a word until ordered.

But the first courtly romances, like the Novel of Thebes, bring a decisive modification: it is now a real prologue, developed on about twenty verses; and the author does not content himself with announcing a story of “joy and battles”: he poses as a philosopher, inspired by the authors of Antiquity, and determined to share his wisdom. A wisdom that only the cleric and the knight can understand and appreciate: the others are invited to withdraw, because

     they couldn't listen to me
     than like a donkey listening to the sound of the harp.

This affirmation of wisdom and truth is universal, including for works whose didactic nature is not obvious.

The prologue ofErec and Enidus follow this pattern to the letter.

Towards 1 to 12: a moral and didactic intention.

Chrétien begins with a popular proverb. He refers here to the “villain”: not a peasant, but quite simply someone who is neither cleric nor knight: the bourgeois, the merchant are therefore also “villains”.

Two essential elements follow:

  • “For this / does well who his study atorne a sens”: the expression “atorne a sens” is doubly highlighted, by the enjambment, and by the accent on “meaning”. The main thing is to teach wisdom – which means interpreting every event, every description in a symbolic sense. Everything makes sense, in the Middle Ages, nothing is free.
  • But at the same time, the rhyme insists on the word "pleasure": the didactic character does not go hand in hand with boredom; it is a court literature, primarily intended to please the refined and educated public to which it is addressed.

It is also in this passage that appears for the first time the name of Chretien de Troyes, who asserts himself here as the author. See her biography.

Verses 13-18: sources and “junction”

The author makes two essential points here:

  1. He “characterizes” his narrative with an adventure tale: which means that he refers to an oral tradition, or to earlier works; in none of his novels does he claim originality; all his work (and that of his contemporaries) consists in “giving meaning” to a pre-existing “matter”, in revealing its true value… even if it means correcting the sources, if it does not seem convincing to him!
  2. We also find here, for the first time, this term " spouse to which we will have to return, and which designates the work of composition, of formatting, in which the poet's genius is expressed.

Towards 19-26: attack against the “jugglers”

This last passage finally gives the title (Erec and Enidus) and insists on the genre: it is a "tale" and not a gesture: a courtly novel, not an epic.

We also find the classic attack against the jugglers, but here with an interesting nuance: these people "to tell live see": they are therefore mercenaries, and "villains"; Chrétien affirms the dignity of the author, who freely transmits his knowledge. This is obviously a fiction!

Finally, we find a new mention of his name, “Christian”, this time more directly linked to the notion of “Christianity”; but it is a secular literature, in which religion intervenes relatively little...

Text 2 (towards 125-274): Erec leaves the Court.


This rather long passage (149 verses), located between two red initials, is located after King Arthur decided to hunt the white stag, against the advice of his nephew Gauvain who feared dissension at court. All the knights take part in it, with the exception of the young Erec, who has remained aside near Queen Guinevere accompanied by a servant. Why this withdrawal? It's because Erec doesn't have a girlfriend yet: he's not a full knight, and he's not worthy of participating fully in the activities of the Court. We will find this feature in the Don Quixote of Cervantes: the hero begins by inventing a Lady, Dulcinea, without whom there is no knight...

This text will be the starting point of the adventures of Erec. It begins with a triple encounter: a knight, a maiden and a dwarf (the number 3 will be repeated over and over throughout the novel)

  • a first part evokes the normal gait of Queen Guinevere: she asks the unknown knight and his retinue to introduce themselves. (v. 138-162).
  • The second part recounts the first affront to the Queen: her servant is struck by the dwarf. (c. 163-193)
  • The third part (v. 194-233) narrates the second affront: this time it is Erec himself who is struck. Without weapons, he cannot defend himself, and very wisely decides to withdraw.
  • The fourth and last part (v. 234-274) sees the departure of Erec: he must avenge his humiliation and follow the knight; before three days he will be back, lost or avenged.

The story therefore strictly follows the chronological order of the sequence; the events, in the obvious symbolic sense, follow one another with rigor, drawing up a first portrait of Érec.

First part: the meeting.

Isolated heroes, at rest (v. 125-137)

The whole passage is in the imperfect, and composed of state verbs: “estoit”… The characters find themselves in a “clearing”, that is to say deforested land, a clearing; the hunt, very lively, only reaches them through a few noises which they try to hear; one has the impression of a peaceful vignette: three beautiful characters (the author insisted on the beauty of Érec; and here he underlines that of the maiden, who moreover will remain anonymous), far from the noises of the Court …

The meeting itself (v. 138-162)

The setting – a forest – is itself symbolic: it is the place of all the adventures, of all the encounters, good and most often bad. The three characters find themselves apart from society.

The meeting, expected, will therefore occur. It depicts three characters (eminently symbolic number: 3):

  1. A knight fully armed on his steed, battle horse par excellence: although a mere witness in the encounter (he does not intervene directly), he appears ready for battle, “spear in hand”; his warlike appearance contrasts with the trio he encounters, two women and an unarmed knight.
  2. A maiden "de grant estre," that is to say, of noble condition; it will not act either; but her presence shows that she symbolizes pride.
  3. Finally, a dwarf, being connected to the dark forces in most mythologies Indo-European, and who alone will act here, in the name of the other two. Chrétien does everything to make him contemptible and unsympathetic: he is mounted on a "roussin" (a bad horse, or a second-class horse, intended for subordinates; the term will give the "rosse"... and the name "Rossinante" of the Don Quixote !); he holds a whip, a weapon also devoid of any nobility.

As R. Bezzola says (op. cit. p. 98), “It's a sinister trio, violence, pride and wickedness. »

Faced with this unexpected event, the Queen remains calm and perfectly courteous: she sends her maid to invite the knight to introduce himself. The next one walks “at an amble” towards the group: that is to say, at a gentle pace, reserved for the ladies; we know that she rides a “white palfrey”: here again, the name and the gait of the horse symbolize the peaceful character of the young girl.

Second part: the affront to the Maid (v. 163-193)

The Queen's courtesy will be answered by the extreme brutality of the Dwarf, who seems to serve as a "bodyguard" for his master: it is he who intervenes, forbidding the "noble maiden" to speak to him, and the treating with the utmost contempt: she has "no right" to speak to the Knight, and he hits her with his whip, treatment reserved for villains!

The text here gives an overview of the very real violence of which the weak, and in particular the women, were victims: here the dwarf strikes a young girl; a little further, it is the Count of Limors who will strike Énide, too little docile for his liking...

The adjectives describing the dwarf make him a figure of Evil, a "type" more than a real character: he is "full of felony" (v. 164), "fel et de put'aire" (felon and bad tune”, v. 171); finally, her "smallness" is deceptive: she arouses the contempt of the imprudent young girl, but hides an evil force.

Through the humiliation suffered by the next, it is the Queen herself who is targeted: to the “blecie” concerning the young girl responds “corrocie” concerning the Queen. It was she who, through someone else, was despised and beaten.

And in the same way, the Dwarf is only the "creature" of the knight; through this, it is this that reveals his vile and evil nature:

     Mout est li naughty knights
     When he suffered that such and such made
     Won't be such a beautiful creature

Third part: the affront to Erec (v. 194-233).

The story strictly follows the same pattern as for the previous affront:

  • Erec advances, but this time the pace is more energetic: he “spurs” his horse and “spurs right” towards the knight.
  • A brief dialogue ensues: but while the dwarf had simply called out to the young girl with a "Damoisele, estez!" uninviting, but correct, he addresses Erec as 'Vassals'; but the term has a precise meaning; it designates the one who, by paying homage to a suzerain, recognizes his duties towards him. There is therefore no equality between Erec and the knight: the second, through the intermediary of the Dwarf, poses as suzerain. But Erec has only one: King Arthur...
  • It is therefore a challenge, and perceived as such: Erec refuses to comply. The negative denominations with regard to the Dwarf multiply: "cuvers", "fel", "boredom", "contralïous" (note the rhyme), and again "fel": he embodies evil and treachery, without possible remedy.
  • The blow also seems multiplied: whereas for the young girl, four verses had sufficed (183-186), here six are needed, and Chrétien adds concrete details: the traces left by the strips.
  • Finally, the young girl had returned in tears to the Queen; Érec, on the other hand, engages in a whole line of reasoning, debating between his bravery, which commands him to retaliate, and his “wisdom” which recommends that he do nothing. He has no weapons, and "Madness is not vasalages" ("Folly is not valor", v. 231). It therefore operates a strategic retreat.

Fourth part: the departure of Erec (v. 234-274)

This 4th part consists essentially of a long direct speech by Erec addressed to the Queen. The first part takes up what we already know: the humiliation suffered, of which the Dwarf was only the instrument: the whole discourse here is centered not on him, but on the Knight "who is naughty and outrageous". (note that the term "villains" here, as in verse 198, has a moral and not a social meaning. To claim to be above one's condition is to descend below!).

A second part explains the speed of his departure: he does not take the time to return to get his weapons in Caradigan: he immediately sets off in pursuit of his opponent, counting on chance to provide him with weapons. Note that he speaks of “chance”: “if I truis…”; Providence has absolutely no role here, we are dealing with a purely profane text.

The text then gives a chronological indication: the adventure must last “three days” (v. 265); but is it really a duration, or again a symbolic figure?

Finally, the Knight leaves alone, with the Queen's recommendation to God as his only viaticum. This is the only time when religion is mentioned.


This text is therefore the beginning of the adventure, and of the formation of Erec. Knight without a lady, therefore apart from society, excluded from the royal hunt, he must find one; he must also fight Evil, in the person of the sinister trio encountered: violence, pride and wickedness. When he has passed this first test, he will belong by right to the Court and will finally be able to fully play his role among the Knights of the Round Table.

Text 2 (around 2430-2573): “Con mari fus! »


The text that we propose to explain here takes place just after the wedding, which opens the second part (and is therefore an integral part of the “crisis”; cf. above the composition of the novel. The text first describes the "madness of Erec" (v. 2430-2438), then the successive reactions it arouses:

  • That of his companions (v. 2439-2458)
  • That of Aenid (c. 2460-2504)

Then we will witness the gradual awakening of Erec:

  • his awakening in the proper sense and the first denials of Aenid (c. 2505-2535)
  • Finally, the confession of the young woman (2536-2571)
  • In two lines, Érec takes stock of the situation; the rest of his speech will already be an action.

We will see, in conclusion, that this text presents some similarity with Don Quixote : in both cases, a character plunges into a madness that banishes him from society, to the great displeasure of those around him; in both cases, this madness is presented as a "sleep", an "enchantment" that makes you forget the real, and in both cases, a woman will have the difficult role of disenchanting the sleeper. And the cause of madness is exactly the opposite: if in the Don Quixote, it is the chivalrous values that drive the hero mad, here on the contrary, it is the temporary abandonment of these same values that constitute the madness and fault of Erec.

The madness of Érec (v. 2430-2438).

Eight verses are enough for Chretien de Troyes to describe the state of Erec: and the author to insist on the negative character of this state;

  • He begins by abandoning what he was born to do, which makes him what he is, a perfect knight: arms. Negations multiply: "ne li chaloit, n'a tornoiement mas n'alloit, n'avoir ma care de tornoier"...
  • His "Lady" is henceforth conquered, marriage has made her available without his needing henceforth to struggle to possess her; love then loses its chivalrous value; it becomes simple enjoyment of a good, without surpassing oneself; and the "Lady" herself loses her quality. She is no longer anything but "his fame", "his friend", "his drue" (his lover).

It should be noted that this passage still belongs to the description of the marriage, which begins with a blue initial (v. 2351): this means very clearly that the marriage, which seemed at first sight to be the consecration of the new knight, and the happy ending of its history, was in fact a formidable obstacle on the way to perfection. It was a trap, where Erec fell.

reactions to madness

The mourning of his companions (v. 2439-2458)

The red initial, marking a new stage, does not appear until verse 2439, when we change our point of view, and pass from that of Erec (in a somewhat blissful happiness) to that of his companions (sorry and critical ).

Erec's behavior is twofold:

  • His actual madness translates into aberrant behavior: he does not get up before noon (at a time when natural light played a much more important role than today: we got up and went to bed normally with the day…) ; he does not move away from his wife and therefore remains at the castle, an almost feminine behavior; he refuses not only adventure, but even the distractions of the aristocracy, such as tournaments… If he weren't so happy, these would all be the signs of depression!
    Another element that can bring him closer to Don Quixote: his superb indifference to the protests of those around him!
         “He was beautiful, as he weighed”
          (“whoever wanted to be upset, this life pleased him”).
  • Nevertheless, his noble nature does not fade, and is reflected in an unchanged generosity, which borders on liberality: if he does not participate in tournaments himself, he gives his knights sumptuous equipment and horses of great quality. price.

This nobility persisting in madness responds point by point to the praise of Enide preceding this passage (v. 2409-2429): what is in question here in no way calls into question the perfection of the young woman, totally innocent of what happens, nor the good nature of the hero himself. He is simply the victim of temporary blindness.

At the beginning, the only reaction of his companions is therefore pain, sorrow: “duel”, “se dementoent”, “granz duelx et granz domages”…; the criticism only intervenes after the fact (v. 2459), but then it spreads so quickly, reaching down to the “sergeants” that is to say the valets-at-arms, that Enide ends up realize.

Aeneid's reaction

Enide hears a single word, but it is a terrible word, a condemnation without appeal: “RECREANZ” (v. 2462). This word, which means “who gives up fighting, discouraged, spineless” carries with it the very negation of chivalry: there is no more cruel reprimand.

Enide's first reaction is to say nothing, so as not to hurt Erec; but it is also an extreme pain, which she translates in an elegiac way. She reproaches herself the most, not that she has committed a willful fault, but she knows that she is the cause of the knight's decline, which brings with it her own (we have seen that she was no longer " lady ").

This scene includes several strongly symbolic elements:

  • He sleeps, she watches: Erec's sleep symbolizes his unconsciousness, and also the fact that it will be up to her, the "lady", to wake him up and push him to action. It was love for Enide that lost Érec, it was Enide's tears that would save him.
  • The power of words: as in Roman times, a word is never trivial; he carries within himself a force of his own, almost magical. This is why speech is so important in the novel. Here, a first word triggers Enide's awareness: “recreanz”; and it is also an imprudent word, which escapes him, which will wake Erec: “Con mari i fus” (you came here for your misfortune).

This double word will then be regretted by Enide, who will try in vain to save the lost happiness; but at the same time, this happiness, based on the abandonment of chivalrous values and the renunciation of oneself, could not last and had something inauthentic which condemned it.

The awakening of Erec.

physical awakening

Erec, who was sleeping, first wakes up in the literal sense of the term; he heard Enide crying and speaking; the last words spoken, "Con mar i fus", struck him, undoubtedly by contrast with the situation of perfect happiness that he lives or believes he is experiencing, then by their fatal character.

His attitude is then somewhat ambiguous: he mixes deep tenderness (“bele ami chiere”, “my sweet friend”) with veiled threats (“ I will know, my uel« , « Don't hold back on me“…

A moral awakening

While Enide desperately tries to make up for her unfortunate words, which condemn the happiness where the lovers lived (and we find one of the traditional images of the "dangerous woman": the jailer of the "prison of love" who prevents the man to truly fulfill himself; and it is not for nothing that at the end of the novel, the "Lady" of the "Joy of the Court" who imprisons Mabonagrain is precisely Enide's cousin...), Érec restores suddenly a distance: we move from the intimacy of the “sweet friend” (v. 2515) to “my lady” (v. 2524): Enide regains her role, a sign that Érec will regain his.

The terrible confession of Enide

Openly accused of lying – a behavior totally contrary to her values, Enide “breaks”, not without a certain cruelty.

The truth will be told to Erec without any care. At first the blame seems to have extended to the whole earth: first limited to companions, then to servants, now it is on everyone's lips:

     “Through this land where they were killed,
     Li black and li blond and li pink…”
(v. 2540-2541)
     “Now they are silent about your gabant,
     Old and jone, small and big…”
(v. 2549-2550).

Unanimous, the blame is also merciless: “recreant”, that is to say “cowardly”, the knight has lost all value: “Your price is lowered” (v. 2544); “all lose your prize”, (v. 2560). Everything must therefore be redone, and even more: because before meeting his Lady, Erec was certainly excluded from hunting, but he at least had the esteem of the Court. Now he has lost everything.

Finally, worse still: the blame fell on the Lady; but we saw in the text 2 that the affront given to a lady was precisely the spur which pushed the knight to action. Here, the word “blasma” is repeated 4 times (v. 2556-2565); and these reproaches – unjustified – cause unbearable pain in Enide: “bores me” (v. 2552; be careful, the word here has the strong meaning that it will keep until the 17thth century) ; “poises me” (v. 2554, 2555, 2557); “ of anguish, crying comes to me” (v. 2568), “weight” (v. 2569)… Such insistence takes on an injunctive value for the knight: his Lady has suffered an affront, she is suffering, his reaction cannot be delayed. Especially since Enide, once again fully a lady, clearly expresses her demands:

     “Other advice suitable for you to take” (v. 2562).

Finally, the fatal expression, “Con mari i fustes” is repeated by the young woman: it is this enchantment that must be overcome.

New start

The text – at least the passage we are explaining – ends with two pithy lines:

     “ – Lady, he says, straight in eüstes
     Because those who blame me have the right. »
(v. 2572-2573)

Now, the Knight is fully awake from his crazy sleep, he takes note of the situation and recognizes his fault. Each of her words counts: “My Lady” restores Enide to her rank and role; he recognizes his right to complain, and therefore takes over the fatal word. Happiness is therefore destroyed, the adventure can (re)start. This will be done from the next verse.


In the chivalrous society of the 12thth century, women cannot play an active role. Victim of an affront, or a blame, Enide, like the Queen of text 2, is reduced to complaining, or to suffering in silence. On the other hand, his word takes on considerable weight, because it represents a categorical imperative for the Knight. Enide therefore delayed her word as long as possible, knowing that it would immediately sign the death of her peaceful happiness – which is sure to happen.

Torn from his sleep, and from his madness, Érec reacts immediately: he starts from scratch, to win back his lady, and find himself again.

The Joy of the Court: Entrance to the Orchard (c. 5664-5821)


We are now on the threshold of the ultimate adventure that will make Erec a perfect knight and a king. Irresistibly attracted by the fame of the “Joy of the Court” (a mysterious name whose meaning we will only know at the end), our hero came to the court of King Évrain; the latter begged him in vain to give up an almost impossible enterprise, but Érec persisted.

The text consists of several clearly distinct parts:

  • the preparations of Erec (5664-5687);
  • The journey to the orchard, and the desolation of the accompanying crowd (5688-5721)
  • The description of the orchard, first marvelous (5722-5766), then terrifying (5767-5778)
  • Finally, the speech of King Évrain and his departure (5779-5821)

This text introduces previously unpublished elements into the novel: while for the first time Erec separates from Enide, the marvelous makes its appearance, with its corollary, horror. Finally, the entire text is placed under the sign of ambiguity: the name of the adventure announces “Joy”, but on the contrary everything contributes to despair and fear.

preparations for Erec (5664-5687)

This first part is already under the sign of contrast and ambiguity: Érec is already entirely in the project and impatience; the positive signs are multiplying: we are “morning”; Chrétien insists on “light” (“ajorné” v. 5665, “esveil” v. 5666, “clear dawn and sun” (v. 5667)…

Conversely, Enide is plunged into anguish and darkness:

      Enide is extremely bored,
      And Mut is sad and angry.
      The night is getting worse
      Of sopeçon and paor
      What she had from her lord,
      who sees himself put in such danger.

The separation between the two spouses begins here: they are not experiencing the same thing. And for the first time, Enide is not at the origin of this adventure.

the points of view alternate: always internal, we first see that of Erec, then that of Enide, and again that of Erec.

The story follows a strictly chronological line, from getting up to clothing and weapons - and here again, for the first time since his very first adventure, Érec carries new weapons offered by the King: it is yet another sign of renewal . Then we witness the actual departure: in a sort of slow motion, Chrétien spares us no detail, even the descent of the stairs, as if to create anticipation and delay the fateful moment.

The journey to the orchard, and the desolation of the accompanying crowd (5688-5721)

This scene produces a strong contrast with the previous one:

  • The isolation of the two characters when they wake up responds here to an increasingly numerous and compact crowd: Chrétien expresses the number by means of numerous plurals (“the houses, the people of importance, all, these words and these speeches” ), enumerations and totalizing terms, noting an impressive unanimity (Home is not famous, right is not wrong, great is not small, weak is not strong... The big people and the small ones..."
  • The silence of the heroes responds here to a multiplicity of speeches, all of which go in the same direction: the announcement of misfortune and death – with the repetition of a formula that we know well: “Con mar y fut” (v. 5708): it is therefore truly a (re)beginning… These cries resonate in the most sinister way, with the repetition of “Ahi!” Ahi! » which evokes the lamentations of an ancient choir; the dire words follow one another: mourning, death, anguish, pain... But we know that words have an almost magical power...
  • This is the first time that the adventure attempted by Érec has taken on such a collective dimension: it is therefore the fate of an entire people that will be at stake.

The ambiguity and the mystery thicken, through this oxymoronic “Joy”, which we curse, and which produces only betrayal and sadness.

The Knight seems isolated, insensitive to this general desolation, as he had been to the pain and anguish of Enide in the previous passage. The only feeling he expresses is impatience to know: the heroization of the character is at its peak, a far cry from Érec's prudence at the very beginning of the novel! But at the same time, his impatience has also changed in nature: here he seeks neither exploit nor glory, but rather knowledge: and Chrétien insists, in line 5719, in a beautiful ascending ternary rhythm, reinforced by the polysyndeton:

      “Let him know and see and understand”

The description of the orchard, first marvelous (5722-5766), then terrifying (5767-5778)

The King, Erec and all their escort finally reach an orchard; and we witness an intervention by the Narrator, intended to underline the “truthful”, “historical” character of the description he is going to give us; However, the orchard is a highly symbolic space in the Middle Ages, whether it is inspired by Greco-Roman antiquity (let's think of the "Garden of the Hesperides", the mecca of an exploit of Hercules, or even the marvelous garden of Alcinous, king of the Phaeacians in theOdyssey) or the Judeo-Christian tradition (the word “paradise” actually designates a garden, or an orchard).

A marvelous orchard

As in ancient or oriental gardens, the marvelous seems at first to prevail: this one is surrounded by an invisible wall, made of air and not of stone; it is an enclosed, protected place, away from the town and the castle (that is to say the real world).

All the ingredients of the topical “Locus amoenus” can be found there: the enclosed and protected place, the abundance of fruits and curative and beneficial plants, the presence of birds of all kinds and their songs...

But already, within this ideal vision, the worrying emerges: the garden was closed “by nigromance” (v. 5734), that is to say by black magic! And moreover, a strange prohibition strikes this orchard: nothing can be taken out of it; the fruits must be consumed on site.

But Erec did not care: overjoyed, he entered “through a narrow entrance” into the orchard, with the King and all his retinue; and he is all in his exaltation:

       Erec aloit, launch sor fault,
      Among the riding orchard,
      which mout disintegrates or sings
      Birds singing;
      His joy represented him,
      The thing he loves more.

The irruption of horror (c. 5767-5778)

It is at the precise moment when Erec lets himself go to Joy that the “wonder”, that is to say the horror, appears to him (v. 5766); the adversative conjunction “but” underlines this break. He sees stakes, bearing severed heads; and the last, which seems to be intended for him, only wears a horn.

References to songs of gesture multiply: allusion to characters like Thibaut l'Esclavon, Opinel or Fernagu, and especially this sinister "horn", which cannot fail to evoke that of Roland... This shows once again that the adventure d'Érec changed dimension, because the heroes of the songs of gesture belonged to a collective epic: like them, Érec carries the hope and the fear of an entire people.

the speech of King Évrain and his departure (5779-5821)

This frightening vision, which contrasts violently with the beauty of the orchard, is an enigma that King Évrain, faithful to his role as host and guide, will resolve.

The speech he gives is rigorously structured:

  • An introduction, both benevolent (“Friends”) and tragically ironic: “if you value your life…” But the mere presence of Érec in this orchard testifies that it is already too late. Even if he has to be frightened by the threat, he can no longer escape it! The threat was vague, because no one knew which knight was going to appear: this remark carries both a terrible threat and a promise: because Erec, appearing as an “angel of light”, is obviously the one we are waiting for.
  • Then Évrain suddenly switches to familiarity: “Guard, your head is not exposed” : the threat is getting closer. The curse of the orchard seems infinite: if Erec's destiny is to perish, other pious ones will come, eternally, to be added to the previous ones. The paradise orchard then takes on the appearance of Hell.
  • finally, the explanation of the horn: it is also a magical object, similar to the weapons that only the predestined hero can take (bow, sword, etc.). The King's words can only encourage Erec even more to try the adventure.
  • Finally, he takes leave of Erec, and invites him to send everyone away: the hero leans one last time towards Enide, who must leave him alone: for the first time, she will not accompany him. Her silence is eloquent: whatever her pain, she understands that Érec must complete his adventure, to become fully himself, and to give her, too, fully, her status as a lady.


This entry into the cursed orchard, and this last adventure, allows us to measure the path traveled by Erec and Enide since their departure: he first fought for himself and for her, then for others (the young lady of the forest) ; now, he must take on a new dimension, which brings him closer to the heroes of the songs of gesture: it is for the whole of the community that he must face death, once again endanger acquired happiness, and overcome the evil. It is only on this condition that he will have fulfilled his destiny – and that he will in turn be able to be King.