Essay Preview: Lycan Theory
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The theory that a physical transformation of the body occurs while there is no such transformation of the soul stood out as something quite interesting to me. In Bisclavret, a lycan transformation occurs within a normal basis of his life. The story maintains this unusual theory that there is no grandiose transformation of his human soul as there is of his body. This concept reminded me of the Ovidian retelling of the story of Acteon and Diana. While Acteon was changed into the body of a deer he still possessed human thoughts and responded in a humanistic way to the agony of death by his fellow huntsmen. The same mindset relays to Bisclavrets anger towards his ex-wifes betrayal of their marriage. Even though he had remained in the body of a werewolf he still exhibited human emotions and feelings of abandonment of his love. He also had the conscious mind to bite off solely her nose rather than completely ravage her body. This shows that he was fully aware of his wifes infidelity within their marriage as this punishment at the time was meant for women adulterers.
Another point of interest for me was that Bisclavret always had the conscious mindset to change back into a human at the end of the night. This shows that he knew of the difference the existed between his human and lycan forms. There was a conscious choice to return back to his wife and his life as a human which in attestation proves his understanding of human emotions and responsibilities while still remaining in animal form. This also brings me back to the important concept of dissolution of identity. To change back into his human form after the outburst of animalism proves the necessity of the madness of lycanthropy. Due to this attribute of being able to go back and forth between forms, it is easier to define lycanthropy as a form of necessary occasional madness rather than a disease which is to be avoided.
I do not agree with the notion that to be transformed into a lycan you must have a wolfish character as Lyceaon has in Metamorphisis. I agree with the situation presented in Bisclavret that the human maintains a subsistent soul after transformation. Otherwise Bisclavret would only have transformed once. With an animals vegetative soul he would have neither the amount of consciousness needed nor the decision making capacity to know where his clothes are and the feeling to return back to his wife. He would therefore have remained in this eternal embrace of the destruction of life and gone on eating children for days.
In the end I personally feel that the werewolf does not change the nature of his soul as he changes his physical outward appearance. If that were true who would ever want to be Team Jacob? <--Corny Twilight reference.