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Discuss how the concept of courtly love is represented in the Franklin's tale.

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Introduction

Discuss how the concept of courtly love is represented in the Franklin's tale. Courtly love is a common theme within the Franklin's Tale, and different characters seem to have different attitudes and approaches towards the concept. For example, Aurelius seems to see it as a somewhat more lustful pursuit than Averagus; he presumably went through the process of courtly love to marry Dorigen, but his vows suggest that he has genuine love for Dorigen. Throughout the Tale, Chaucer seems to poke fun at the idea of courtly love via the Franklin's comments. This could either be Chaucer representing the idea of courtly love as interpreted by Aurelius as foolish, or the traditional ideas behind it. Traditionally, courtly love was like a game, in which a noble young man, often a knight or squire, would attempt to woo a lady. Usually, it would be a lady of higher status, and it was not uncommon for her to be married as well. The lady would always be in control, and the young man would perform many foolhardy and dangerous deeds to get her attention. ...read more.

Middle

This represents courtly Love as being a purely physical, lustful thing, with Aurelius only after 'hir body'. This likens courtly love to adultery; Chaucer may be subtly hinting that he disapproves of courtly love, and that it is in fact very base, and just an excuse to make adultery seem more acceptable and somehow noble. This suggests that Chaucer is against the principles of courtly love, and that he wanted to express his contempt for what he saw as a mere fa�ade for adultery in the Franklin's tale. The overblown, melodramatic nature of courtly love is represented and exaggerated in the text; Chaucer was probably aiming to poke fun at the nature of courtly love in lines such as [338] 'Thanne moot I die of sodyn deth horrible'; here, the idea of 'dying of a broken heart' is taken quite literally, as Aurelius is over-dramatic about the situation. The Franklin, who's views in this case seem to represent Chaucer's own, has little sympathy for him: [429-430] 'In languor and torment furius/ Two yeer and moore lay wrecche Aurelius'. The use of the word 'wrecche' shows little sympathy for Aurelius, as it is a very negative word, implying that the Franklin sees Aurelius as wretched. ...read more.

Conclusion

The use of the word 'Aviseth', which here is used to say 'Be warned', is hardly a word that one would associate with courting and true love; it is much more of a formal warning, implying that Aurelius sees nothing in Dorigen except for the superficial, and sees her as more of an object that he wants to obtain. In conclusion, courtly love is represented in the Franklin's Tale in quite a negative light; although it could be said that the love between Dorigen and Averagus is courtly and true, it is not typical of courtly love; the vows break the traditions of courtly love, and in the Franklin's tale, the focus is on the courtly love of Aurelius for Dorigen. Chaucer, speaking through the Franklin and through Dorigen, presents courtly love as a lustful, superficial, overblown concept. The Franklin's clear apathy regarding Aurelius is perhaps the best example of Chaucer's attitude; he uses the Franklin to present his own ideas regarding courtly love, which he seems to believe is a mere fa�ade for adultery and melodrama. The way the Tale is written certainly shows contempt for courtly love, as outlined in examples, and Chaucer seems cynical of the realities of courtly love. Harry Dayantis JRB ...read more.

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