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Adultery in Tristan and Iseult and Philosophy in the Bedroom

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If Madame de Saint-Ange or any of the other "libertines" in Sade's Philosophy in the Bedroom read Tristan & Iseult, they would certainly laugh. Madame de Saint-Ange does not believe that a woman's destiny should be to assume the role of a wanton bitch; she believes that is an outrage to nature, which she chooses to govern herself by instead of God, an insufficient barbarian. Tristan and Iseult do not have the same philosophy; they hold society's opinions, religion, morals, and virtue in high regard. Therefore, when it comes to adultery, the views expressed in both of these texts contrast significantly.

The Bible says that when you commit adultery, you are transgressing God's law and committing a sin. So inherently, a religious person could not commit an infidelity without fearing punishment. During the Age of Chivalry, the time period in which Tristan and Iseult originates from, no one spoke against the word of God and religion dictated universal truth. If someone was found to have been adulterous, they would be stoned to death or burned at the stake. If someone was adulterous yet did not get caught, they would have fear instilled in their own heart that they would face eternal damnation.

Tristan and Iseult both have these fears of being chastised yet they continue on with their love affair despite their anxieties. Their love was too anarchic to terminate at the drop of a Bible verse and was too powerful to be drowned out by their congenital moral reasoning. God is mentioned through out the entire book yet the actions of the two main characters continuously defy his word, which lead the characters to be eternally miserable and torn through out the entire story.

After Tristan and Iseult are caught, but not captured or killed, by King Mark in the woods, Tristan took to thinking and told himself, "So now I cry to God the Lord, who is King of the world, and beg Him to give me strength to yield back Iseult to King Mark; for she is indeed his wife, wed according to laws," which epitomizes their ambivalence and inability to allow their joy to endure (50). They could have simply continued on living merrily in the woods without a care in the world. Not to mention how Iseult could have just refused to marry King Mark in the first place considering she already found a soul mate in Tristan. Sade said "no voice save that of passions can conduct you to happiness," and the misery that followed Tristan's decision to return Iseult to King Mark is direct evidence of such. Sade could have cured both of their ambivalence by destroying "all those ridiculous precepts inculcated" inside of them by society and the church.

In Philosophy in the Bedroom. Madame de Saint-Ange, Dolmance, and Le Chevalier believe God is an idiotic, deplorable, insufficient monster because he permits evil to exist on Earth yet has the omnipotence to prevent it from being born. Each of them believe Nature is what one should follow in order to lead a happy, fulfilling life. "Fruit of the terror of some and of the frailty of others, that abominable phantom, Eugenie, is of no use to the terrestrial scheme and would infallibly be injurious to it, since the will of God would have to be just and should never be able to ally itself to the essential injustices decreed by Nature" (210). God was injurious to both Tristan and Iseult who refused to take the plunge into a possible life of ecstasy and passion because of Him and other moral codes implemented by the communities surrounding them. "All man-made laws which would contravene Nature's are made naught but our contempt" (226). Once they drank the wine,

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