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

The franklins tale raises issues about what it really means to be "noble" Consider how this tale forms an examination of the values that held medieval society together and how this is subtly questioned by Chaucer.

Extracts from this document...


January 31st 2006 Joshua Gray - The Franklins tale essay The franklins tale raises issues about what it really means to be "noble" Consider how this tale forms an examination of the values that held medieval society together and how this is subtly questioned by Chaucer. INTRODUCTION Chaucer raised many questions through the Canterbury Tales dealing with events of the time including marriage, a woman's place in the world and changing attitudes. In the Franklins tale the most prominent issue he raises is to deal with what it means to be noble. Chaucer is questioning the social class system throughout England in Medieval society and raises many questions for the reader about it. To be a noble in Chaucer's time you had to be born into nobility. To be a noble meant you were able to bear arms and were responsible for the protection of the whole community. They generally lived in castle, owned land and were supported in peace and war by inferiors. However, a knight might own a scrubby patch of land and have a small house in the country, but if he could trace his family back to nobility he was still declared a 'noble'. Gentillesse was a code of behavior associated with the noble class. This included a number of qualities. ...read more.


She is not required to accept any man and is a harsh and unforgiving mistress, setting her loyal knight difficult and often arbitary tasks, so that the man can achieve perfection. However once the couple are married all the power shifts to the man and the woman becomes his property. "....Prively she fil of his accord to tame him for her housbonde and hir lord" However, Averagus goes against the traditions and states that he wants Dorigen to retain her power and hand back the 'Miritrie' to her. Chaucer is proposing a question to his listeners: What happens once the social order has been re-arranged. The answer is a disaster, Dorigen, left to her own devices, gives her self away. When Averagus comes back he assumes power again and orders Dorigen to keep her promise. "Ye shul your trouthe holden, by my fay!" A new idea has failed here. Nonetheless, it seems odd that Chaucer, who wanted a change in social class, would do this. He is trying to say that change is needed. Society needs to change for anything else to change; although Averagus does not mind being equal he does not want it to be publicized for fear of being shamed or ridiculed. 'The name of soverainetee...for share of his degree" 3/ They have moved on but society hasn't and has thus prevented this change. ...read more.


4/ Chaucer is revealing that all the characters have taken gentilless into the wrong context and are all obsessed with the 'truthe' aspect of it. Truth should be upheld together with all the other virtues of gentilleness like Justice, Mercy and Generosity. On it's own it becomes evil. It may be true that "truthe is the hyeste thing that a man may hepe" but 'highest' does not mean 'only'. It is indeed a virtue but unless it keeps company with the other virtues that collectively make gentillesse it can become a force for evil rather than good. All the characters hold truth to the highest degree and as we can see it turns out to be a disaster. It is Avergus who tells Doregin to hold her trouth and thus allows all the characters to perform truly gentille acts, as idea of gentillesse as it has been taken out of context many times throughout the play. CONCLUSION Chaucer's message, which echoes throughout the tale, is to alert his audience to the fact that "gentillesse" is not so much a right of birth and breeding, but a fundamental human trait which can be found in any man regardless of his lineage. It is not a concept that is intended to be limited to the high born. The message is that all ranks of society are capable of noble actions and that such virtue can be found in the streets as well as the castles. ...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 Geoffrey Chaucer 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 Geoffrey Chaucer essays

  1. Courtly Love and Damyan. Chaucer uses conventions of courtly love throughout the Canterbury ...

    He proceeds to give her a letter in which "wroot he all his sorwe". This outpouring of love was a typical convention of courtly love, but it is immediately parodied by Chaucer when May takes the note to the bathroom to read it.

  2. 'Merchant's Tale - Marriage'

    of nakedness with the literal return of his sight, viewing his wife, May, actively engaging in a 'sinful' act of adultery with Damyan, further linking 'wyf's' with the devil. These religious connotations and the vivid sensitive view of 'cuckolding' (and adultery)

  1. English society of Chaucer's time

    The regular clergy, in particular, had a reputation for corruption at that time. Monasteries, which were supposed to be apart from the world and whose inhabitants were to avoid worldly goods, were almost as lavish as castles by the 14th century, and most people assumed that friars (like Chaucer's picture of one)

  2. The pardoners prologue and Tale show human nature to lack any redeeming virtues ...

    nature, and will dispute this with the characters who do seem to possess positive virtues. The pardoner's boastful tone in the prologue seems to suggest that he takes pride in his lack of redeeming virtues as it ultimately fuels his comfortable lifestyle.

  1. Chaucer creates humour by satirising values in religious and courtly love. To what extent ...

    One could argue that May does not love Damien any more than she loves January. He could perhaps just be a suitable alternative for May to love. When she receives a love-letter from Damien, she disposes of it in the toilet (privy)

  2. Analysis of lines 125 - 300 of The Merchant's Tale

    However, in lines 163 - 164 'Ther nys no thing in gree superlatyf, as seith Senek, above a humble wyf' the Merchant's belief that there is no pleasure as great as that from a wife, is an incorrect quote. The Merchant's inability to quote correctly, the line being said by

  1. Quotes from the Miller's Tale

    I here it every deel"p38 Ironic as she is being sarcastic but actually telling the truth "I am they trewe, verray,wedded wyf; Go, deere spouse, and help to save oure lyf"p46 Shows Alisoun's intelligence she can manipulate john and her humour she is not trewe "Go fro the window, Jakke fool..

  2. Is the climax of the Miller's Tale simply an example of bowdy humor or ...

    And the ending shows that a kind of humorous society lived that would accept some things that we might not have expected at the time. They would accept some kind of humor as long as it did step over the limit that most people expected at the time.

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