Handicapped: Sociology and socially Incapacitates Nicolas Essay

Submitted By Verrick
Words: 1012
Pages: 5

The Lady and the Unicorn: Handicapped

A normal human being has one hand, one body, two hands, and two feet. Nowadays, it is normal to have something wrong with any of these parts. The difference between the present day and the medieval times was that there was no way to remedy any major disabilities back then. They were blamed on devils, curses, and God. Since then, medicinal capabilities have grown an astronomical amount and so have the methods of learning about human capabilities. On the other hand, disabilities do not only include physical attributes. Another type of disability was a lack of social capabilities. During the Medieval Ages, there were many reasons with which one person could be denied or given a social status or reputation which could eventually lead to a social disability. In “The Lady and the Unicorn”, many people were incapable of normal social interactions such as Nicolas de Innocents, Jacques Le Boeuf, and Geneviève de Nanterre. Nicolas de Innocents was a very putrid man with little regard for the way he treats women. One prime example occurs very early in the book when he runs into one of the maids. She was pregnant because of him and he could neither remember her name nor have any remorse for what he did. He ended up giving her a few coins to pay for his deed. Due to his perverse nature, Geneviève does everything in her power to separate him from Claude. This socially incapacitates Nicolas from ever meeting up or communicating with Claude. Nicolas spends a majority of the novel plotting a method of meeting up with Claude and is deterred in some way by Geneviève’s actions. Her last act was to let Claude “stay in a convent until her betrothal…to know the value of mass, of prayer, confession, communion” (165). His lust for her was endless as even when she became betrothed, he still was anxious to talk to her. His man-made social disability, though, was enough to deter his plans as he was ultimately unsuccessful in his plight. While Nicolas’s disability was due to an outside force, another’s disability could be rooted in his own profession and non-chivalrous demeanor.
Jacques was a woad dyer. Being a woad dyer comes with one major consequence: a disgusting stench. Since this was his profession, he had no way around it. The smell is so strong that it “would kill them” (118). Consequently, Jacques is treated like an outcast and shunned from society. As a result, “women are [not] waiting outside his door to marry him,” which leads to him having few options for a wife. Since society rejects him, he asks for Alienor’s hand in marriage as his options are very thin. Alienor rejects him and runs away from him whenever he is near. She uses his horrid smell as a ways of detecting him. Her stronger smelling capabilities lead to her frustration with her parent’s approval to let her marry him. This whole dynamic demonstrates the huge social rift that Jacques faces. The unfortunate fact is that this rift is not because entirely because of his personality or something that he did wrong. It is relatively out of his control as it is his method of living. Despite this possibility, he does actually not have good manners, which does not help his situation in the slightest. As a result, Alienor endlessly tries to get out of this deal and in the end succeeds with the help of Nicolas. While Jacques’ and Nicolas’ social disabilities were rooted by choices they had made, another did not have the power to have a change their social standing as nature and social norms were the reasons for her social disability. One of the most important roles a female had was child bearing. Men held the power while the women were there at their side.…