Lion As a Loyal Friend in The Knight of the Lion Novel

Categories: King ArthurLove

The Knight of the Lion Essay

In the book Yvain, The Knight of the Lion by Chretien de Troyes, I believe that the lion represents a loyal friend to Sir Yvain. Since he first helps the lion escape from the dragon, the lion’s loyalty and friendship for Sir Yvain is established. This is demonstrated in several parts of the story such as when the lion hunts to get food for Sir Yvain, accompanying Sir Yvain in all his adventures as well as helping him in his battles, and most importantly by being a faithful and trustworthy companion.

Their friendship is also demonstrated in minor events in the story such as when the lion is distraught and almost kills himself after he believes Sir Yvain has died. Furthermore, the lion possesses qualities that are characteristic of the knighthood, at times even being more knightly than Sir Yvain himself, which relates to the overall plot of the story.

In a sense the lion possesses characteristics similar to a trusty dog such as loyalty and companionship, but he also possesses human characteristics.

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For example, the lion in the story is very intelligent and demonstrates knowledge of emotions and situations that an animal couldn’t actually know. The lion demonstrates this by his repeated helping of Yvain when he knew Yvain could not win on his own. Another example is when the lion bows down to Yvain in gratitude when he first rescues him from the dragon. The lion repeatedly demonstrates his loyalty to Sir Yvain throughout the story and it’s clear that the lion has a great deal of appreciation and even love for Sir Yvain as their friendship develops.

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The lion would never let Sir Yvain down and even almost tries to kill himself when he thinks that Sir Yvain has died.

The characteristics that the lion possesses are all representative of the knighthood, which add to the overall plot of the story. The lion is very strong and powerful and not only assists Yvain in his battles but ensures that he is victorious. In fact, without the lion’s help, Yvain would have surely died against the giant or the demons or knights. Overall, the lion is also more skillful in fighting, saving Yvain in battle many times. In addition, as stated earlier, the lion is very loyal and is always there by Yvain’s side, always helping and protecting him. All of these characteristics that the lion has are characteristics that a knight is supposed to have, such as: intelligence, courageousness, skillfulness, and loyalty. In a way the lion is even more knightly than Yvain because he is always loyal and trustworthy, unlike Yvain who is not always entirely knightly, like when he doesn’t return to his lady in the time frame he said he would even though he was able to.

These characteristics of an ideal knight that the lion possesses add to the plot of the story since the story is in many ways about the knighthood. For example, the themes of the knighthood are illustrated throughout the story such as the principal character being a knight in King Arthur’s court who has to face many obstacles, and the fact that the reason Sir Yvain left in the first place was because he wanted to go on more adventures and not be seen as cowardly by the other knights in the court. So in a way the lion is an addition to the elements of the knighthood that are represented in the story and because the lion has all these characteristics of a true knight, he in a way elevates Yvain’s own status to make him more knightly by allowing him to win the battles and by keeping him focused on his goals. In addition, without the lion Yvain would have not succeeded through many of the obstacles but because he was there he played an integral part to Yvain succeeding and ultimately being able to be reunited with his love, which contributed to the romance theme of the novel. The aspect of romance is also in a way a characteristic of the knighthood since knights are expected to be loyal and courtly to their beloved. The elements of the knighthood that are reflected in the story are further illustrated by the lion that not only possesses knightly characteristics but also represents a faithful companion to Sir Yvain.

In conclusion, the lion in Yvain, The Knight of The Lion serves to represent a loyal companion to Sir Yvain by accompanying him and aiding him in his battles and by having an emotional connection with him. The qualities that the lion possesses such as intelligence, skillfulness, courage, and loyalty are all qualities characteristic of the knighthood, and while Sir Yvain may sometimes falter in upholding those qualities, the lion doesn’t, and in a sense serves to guide Sir Yvain to make the correct choices and make him more knightly than he is. This also relates to the plot of the story about being in the knighthood and all the challenges they must face and overcome to be a knight. Overall, the lion serves to be a loyal friend to Sir Yvain and help him succeed in his battles and by doing so, adds to the knighthood themes of the story.

Updated: Feb 18, 2024
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Lion As a Loyal Friend in The Knight of the Lion Novel. (2024, Feb 18). Retrieved from

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