The Juxtaposition of the Rose

On the surface, the thirteenth-century poem "The Romance of the Rose" exists as an allegory of courtly love set in a dream vision narrative. While the first part, composed by Guillaume de Lorris, differs slightly in tone and style from the rest of the piece, which was written by Jean de Meun, the overall metaphor remains intact. Together both composers, inspired by Boethius and Alan of Lille, present a story that unveils the true nature of love. "The Romance of the Rose" depicts both the concept of love and the anthropomorphism of Reason as applications of earlier influences of Lady Philosophy and Lady Fortune from Boethius's The Consolation of Philosophy and Alan of Lille's Anticlaudianus. The overlapping of love with Fortune and Reason with Philosophy results in the underlying notion that love is unstable and leads to false happiness while rationalism is constant and leads to true happiness.

In the first three chapters of "The Romance of the Rose", Guillaume de Lorris presents the concept of love as an application of Lady Fortune by his use of paradoxical descriptions. When the lover enters the garden, he describes many birds singing and remarks that "so sweet and lovely was that...

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