• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

'Literature is not the forum for moralising'. In light of this view, consider the ways the writers present morals in 'The Rivals' and 'The Wife of Bath'

Extracts from this document...


Lara ?The Rivals? ? ?The Wife of Bath? ?Literature is not the forum for moralising.? Consider how writers present morals Troubled by contemporary attitudes to morality, Chaucer and Sheridan effectively present their respective characters as reflecting the conflicting morals in their societies. With marriages and justice in the Medieval era and 18th Century alike being based on feudalism and maintaining honour; Chaucer and Sheridan use their works as a medium to condemn contemporary morals. Furthermore, the use of deception in both ?The Wife of Bath? and ?The Rivals? allows Chaucer and Sheridan to convey to their audiences that their morals have been manipulated and distorted by society. For this reason, these writers indeed use their works as a means to evaluate and explore contemporary morals. Predominantly, Chaucer and Sheridan attack the immoral and flawed attitudes towards marriage. The Wife?s generalisation of her husbands in her Prologue, ?Alle were worthy men in hir degree? relates directly to common Medieval attitudes regarding marriage. ...read more.


Following this rebellion, punishments became so severe that illegal hunting often resulted in being hung, drawn and quartered. However, it is plausible that by allowing the Knight to escape the death penalty, Chaucer (via the Wife) is representing his lack of support for the arguably inefficient justice system. This is complimented by critic Stone, who stresses that the Wife is ?A kind of special representative of Chaucer?, showing how Chaucer expresses his views, in this case regarding the morality of the justice system, via the Wife. Likewise, the justice system in ?The Rivals? is portrayed as immoral and ineffective. In the 18th Century, many disputes were settled via duelling, predominantly among the upper class. However, duelling was used to maintain a gentleman?s honour rather than enforce justice; representing it?s immoral and flawed nature. Sheridan presents the corrupt duelling via Bob Acres, ?Your honour follows you to the grave!?, with the use of the exclamation mark reiterating how it was genuinely believed at the time that duelling was a just and unbiased means of administering justice. ...read more.


By Chaucer presenting the Wife as dishonest, he is effectively able to comply with these stereotypes of women, while contradicting them by equally depicting her as a headstrong character. Overall, the presentation of deception allows the writers to condemn contemporary morals, notably the chauvinistic views regarding women. In conclusion, it cannot be denied that ?The Rivals? and ?The Wife of Bath? are mediums by which Sheridan and Chaucer evaluate contemporary morals respectively. Although Medieval and Georgian societies were centred very much so around feudalism and financial profit, as conveyed by marriage arrangements and the justice system; the writers attempt to illustrate that immorality has overshadowed any opportunity for love or justice to exist. Additionally, the obvious deception among the characters, although arguably intended for comical purposes; rather reflects how morals have been ignored to such an extent that characters are even willing to conceal the truth from their loved ones. Therefore, instead of a ?forum for moralising?, ?The Rivals? and ?The Wife of Bath? appear more as a plea from Sheridan and Chaucer to lay wealth and honour to one side and allow love, justice and morality to ensue. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The English Patient

    5 star(s)

    She withdrew emotionally and threw herself into her work. The sikh, named Kip, goes into the English patient's room to talk to him one day. It turns out that they get along very well, and they are able to spend much time talking of their expertise on bombs, guns, and weapons.

  2. Compare and contrast the writers presentation of the consequences of obsessive love in: Othello, ...

    hearing of Desdemona's unlawful actions or we see Othello becoming obsessive to the point where what he feels is not love at all, but obsessiveness and pride. It can be argued; at this point that Othello's love for Desdemona is not healthy.

  1. Compare the ways in which Larkin and Duffy present the reality of love.

    This is seen in the deliberate use of enjambment in the second stanza; ?And the unfailing sense of being young/ Spread out like a spring-woken tree, wherein/ That hidden freshness, sung,/ That certainty of time?? as Larkin reveals the widow?s former, unrealistic belief that love is all enduring by establishing a sense of continuity in the poem.

  2. How do the writers present sexuality and gender in Tales Of Ovid, Streetcar Named ...

    fully in his plays, despite its pertinence in the play?s political context. By contrast, in Behind The Scenes many aspects of life seem constant and the stability of gender roles seems to reflect this. In Museum, the past permeates the present and the present is doomed to replicate the past.

  1. Twentieth century literature often portrays the relationship between men and women as deeply problematic. ...

    Hence, the perspective of the feminist remains ubiquitous as the function of ?I?, or the lyrical voice, is to embody the universal feminine. As Virginia Woolf argued, if Shakespeare would have had a sister she would not have been allowed to be heard.[8] It could be that, prior to the

  2. The dehumanisation of a specific and manufactured social community is the most appealing characteristic ...

    For example, both utilise the colour ?khaki? in divergent ways, dependent upon whom the colour is assigned to. In Atwood?s novel, the almighty ?Aunts? wear ?khaki dresses? which ties the prestigious connotation of the Armed Forces to their superior clearance level.

  1. They f*** you up, your mum and dad Philip Larkin. To what extent is ...

    Montague is also distant from his son, Romeo. Shakespeare shows this as Montague does not know what is plaguing Romeo ?I neither know it nor can learn of him?, ?nor can learn? suggests that Montague is not close enough with his son for Romeo to confide his feelings in him.

  2. 'The urge to control is in all of us: it drives our lives.' In ...

    it!? In fact, Sheridan, like other contemporary writers, Goldsmith and Foote, wrote ?The Rivals? to follow the structure of a Comedy of Manners, whereby a contemporary, sophisticated class was mocked through the medium of a play. Therefore, Lucy?s deception in refusing to disclose the identity of ?Delia? to Sir Lucius

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work