A Comparison of the Poems Romance of Tristan and Iseult and the Poem of the Cid

1. Introduction

The two poems Romance of Tristan and Iseult and the Poem of the Cid have been selected for comparison as they both focus on social values and how they were adhered to or broken in their time. The former was written in the 12th century by an anonymous author, while the latter was penned down by an Arabic poet named Ibn Abd al-Hakam in the 10th century. While the former is a tragedy, the latter is more of an epic poem.

2. 'Romance of Tristan and Iseult': A Tragic Story of King and His Exiles

The story is set in the court of King Mark of Cornwall. Mark has married Iseult, the daughter of the King of Ireland, but she does not love him. She is instead in love with his nephew, Tristan. Tristan had been exiled from Cornwall by Mark and goes to live in Brittany, where he meets and marries another Iseult. However, he cannot forget his first love and when he hears that she is being forced to marry Mark, he returns to Cornwall to rescue her. In the end, all three characters die tragically.

The story highlights the importance of social values such as faithfulness in marriage and loyalty to one's king. It also shows how breaking these values can lead to disastrous consequences. The theme of unrequited love is also explored in the poem.

3. The 'Poem of the Cid': A Glorification of the Hero

The Poem of the Cid is a Spanish epic poem written in the 12th century. It tells the story of Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, also known as El Cid, who was a real-life 11th century military leader. The poem focuses on his heroic deeds, such as leading a army to victory against the Moors despite being outnumbered, and winning back his wife's honor after she was falsely accused of adultery.

The poem highlights the importance of bravery, honor, and fidelity. It also promotes the ideal of chivalry, which was an important code of conduct for knights during that time period. The poem glorifies warfare and violence as well, which were highly valued traits in medieval society.

4. Conclusion

Both poems are relevant to society today as they explore universal themes such as love, betrayal, loyalty, and honor. They also promote positive values such as faithfulness in marriage and bravery in battle. However, the Poem of the Cid is more relevant than Romance of Tristan and Iseult as it depicts a real-life hero who lived during a time when chivalry was an important code of conduct for knights. It also glorifies warfare and violence, which are still highly valued traits in many parts of society today.


The two poems have different meters and rhyme schemes. "Sir Patrick Spens" is written in ballad form, while "The Lady of Shalott" is written in iambic pentameter.

The theme of love differs between the two works in that "The Lady of Shalott" is about unrequited love, while "Sir Patrick Spens" is about chivalry and courtly love.

Tennyson's perspective on love is more idealistic, while Browning's perspective is more realistic.

I think "The Lady of Shalott" offers a more romantic view of love because it is about unrequited love, which can be seen as more romantic than chivalry or courtly love.

I think both works present a realistic portrayal of their respective topics.

In my opinion, both poems are well-written overall.

I think both authors are successful in conveying their message about love or chivalry to readers through their respective works.