Today I watched the movie Tristan & Isolde. A good one. I came across the legend of Tristan & Isolde when dipping more into the Middle Ages, one of its most popular stories.
From roots in Celtic myth, it passed into written form in Britain a century after the Norman Conquest (1066 AD) and almost immediately spread throughout northern Europe. It tells of a Cornish knight and an Irish queen, Tristan and Iseult (spellings differ), who accidentally drink a love potion, at the same time, on the same boat, travelling to Cornwall. She is due to marry Tristan’s king, Mark. Tristan and Iseult seemed ideally matched and their love was heroic, but could that excuse their adultery in the minds of medieval listeners, particularly when the Church was so clear they were wrong?
Here is a BBC program, In Our Time, that gives some of the significance of this romantic medieval tale.