The Letters of Abelard and Heloise Summary

The Letters of Abelard and Heloise Summary

The first letter is a letter written by Abelard to his friend Philintus. Abelard starts by consoling his friend about something that happened in Philintus’s life before proceeding to tell his friend what happened to him.

Abelard starts to write about his youth and offers a few autobiographical information. Abelard was born in a wealthy family and from a young age, he started to become interested in learning more. He surprised his master Champeaux in oratory and then Abelard became interested in divinity. Abelard continued to study philosophy and religion and surpassed all his masters.

While in Paris, Abelard meet Heloise, a beautiful girl who made him fall in love with her almost immediately. Abelard got to know her uncle, Fulbert who invited Abelard to teach Heloise philosophy. Abelard and Heloise soon fall in love but they are discovered by Flubert who sends Abelard away.

Abelard tries to find ways to meet with Heloise again so he talks to one of the maids serving in her house, Agaton. Abelard tried to bribe her but without success because Agaton was in love with Abelard as well. Agaton agreed to help the two lovers, but only if Abelard was willing to love her as well and after Abelard refused her, Agaton became set on trying to stop Abelard and Heloise meet.

Abelard proposes to marry Heloise but she refuses, saying that a marriage will hold Abelard back from progressing in his studies. Instead, Heloise proposes to Abelard that she becomes his mistress. This idea is also shared by Abelard’s sister, Lucilla who tells him that for Heloise, marriage will be a tomb.

Heloise’s uncle found out about their secret relationship and punished Abelard by mutilating him and castrating him. After this, Abelard and Heloise searched for peace in cloisters, Abelard going to a monastery and Heloise going to a nunnery.

The next letter is written by Heloise to Abelard. Heloise remembers the relationship they used to have and thinks about it often. She asks Abelard to write to her, even though he has nothing of importance to write and to not neglect her.

Heloise confesses that she still loves him and that the reason she didn’t accepted to be his wife was because she was scared he will stop loving her one day and that she will have to remain in a loveless marriage.

Heloise confesses her sin but doesn’t deny her desire and talks about the purity and strength of her love for him. Heloise finishes her letter by saying once more that she loves him and that she hopes that he will not forget her.

The next letter is from Abelard to Heloise and he opens his letter by telling her that he had not intended for that letter to fall into her hands and stir her feelings Abelard admits the he is in love with her as well and the fact that he isolated himself didn’t made him forget her and her image remains alive in his memory. Abelard confesses that he is ashamed of his feelings and that after they were separated, he thought with jealousy about the men Heloise would meet.

Abelard hoped that God will help them repent and will forgive them of their sins. Abelard finishes his letter by asking her that if he should die before her, then she should arrange that the two of them to be buried together and thus be reunited in death.

The next letter contains Heloise’s response. She starts by saying that life would be too cruel to let her outlive Abelard and that death will be sweet if that meant that they will be reunited and free to be together. She then continues to tell him that he is her only reason to live.

She then starts to write about men ruined by beautiful women and how beauty is more dangerous than death. She then admits that she continues to love him and that her sin before God is her love for him. Her love for Abelard remains a secret and she feels like she is lying to those who see her and think of her as being a pure woman. She admits that she is not happy and that the only reason she admitted to go to a cloister was to please him. Heloise ends her letter by saying that no matter who tells her to forget Abelard, she will never be able to do it.

The next letter is written by Heloise again and she starts her letter by saying to Abelard that her love for God changed her and it changed the way she saw the cloister where she was staying. She then asks him to write back and asks him to not blame fate for their misfortune.

The last letter is written by Abelard and he starts his letter by telling her that they should stop writing to one another and instead they should focus on being faithful and trying to please God and not themselves. Abelard urges her to fight against her own desires and to try to remain righteous until the end of her life. Abelard talks briefly about Hell and Heaven and ends his letter by telling Heloise that she should do everything she can to be saved by God.

Update this section!

You can help us out by revising, improving and updating this section.

Update this section

After you claim a section you’ll have 24 hours to send in a draft. An editor will review the submission and either publish your submission or provide feedback.