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

The Merchant's Tale. Consider how the power balance has been subtly altered from line 843 onwards, and how Chaucer has demonstrated this.

Extracts from this document...


Consider how the power balance has been subtly altered from line 843 onwards, and how Chaucer has demonstrated this. The use of the word ?but? in line 843 is the first signal to the audience that there is going to be a significant change within Januarie?s fortune. Up until this point he has been considerably lucky; he is described as a ?worthy knight? who has ?lived in greet prosperitee? and has been married to ?fresshe may, his paradys, his make?. Through this excessive amount of fortune, Chaucer has led the audience to believe it is too good to be true, and so the change is almost inevitable. Januarie?s fortune is represented by the image of ?the scorpion?, which smiles with its face while stinging with its ?sweete venym queynte?, just as Januarie is deceived into believing he has found stable happiness when he suddenly goes blind. ...read more.


At this point in the tale, we have only recently heard May?s voice for the first time, (like 770) but we are yet to know much about May?s personality from anyone other than Januarie?s perspective. However, the females already mentioned in the tale, such as Abigail, the wife of Nabal and Rebecca, the mother of Jacob all gained their own fortune and power through the use of deception and trickery, inclining the audience to believe that May is going to use similar techniques. It soon becomes apparent that this deception is at the hands of Januarie, ?for as good is blind deceyved be / As to be deceyved whan a man may se?. The fact that he is being deceived because of both his physical and mental blindness makes Januarie appear vulnerable, and the audience almost begins to pity him, showing that the power balance has shifted abruptly from Januarie to May. ...read more.


When comparing this image to May, it is clear that she now has full power and control over Januarie. It is not only clear how May has gained power over this passage, but also how Januarie has lost his. He becomes so possessed by jealousy that "He nolde suffre hire for to ride or go/ But if that he hadde hond on her alway? , ?nor anywhere/ Would he allow his wife to take the air/ Unless his hand were on her, day and night?. Towards the beginning of the tale, it is unlikely that Januarie would have been so possessive over his new wife, as he had enough confidence within himself to prevent any jealousy. When he loses his sight, it is apparent that his self-consciousness becomes particularly strong, once again making him seem vulnerable and helpless, and May?s dishonesty only increases Januarie?s lack of power. Lydia Richards ...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. English society of Chaucer's time

    Chaucer tells us much about each pilgrim, not only by telling us what they do for a living, but also through description of their clothes, attitudes, even their bodies. His medieval audience would compare Chaucer's descriptions against the social stereotypes they knew already about each person's profession or "station."

  2. The franklins tale raises issues about what it really means to be "noble" ...

    The Franklin effusively praises the squires' scholarship and affected language. This is also another sly joke, because although the squire can go on to be a noble and have gentille qualities, his tale is bogged down in rhetoric language. The Franklin knows he is mastered in the art of speech

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

    three rioters, who can be presented as the anti-trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

  2. With reference to lines 91-112 and 163-290, how are the rivals Nicholas and Absalon ...

    self-love leads to a belief within himself that he has a chance. His pathetic endeavours are mocked by the Miller through false admiration and by patronising him, 'A mirie child he was, So God me save.' Chaucer humorously combines the parody with the Knights Tale with the Miller's parody and mockery of the theme of courtly love and satire.

  1. Chaucer's Models of Authorship and his Anxiety of Influence in the Prologue to the ...

    they are not able to amend his words to their own, what gives Chaucer the 'swich credence' (LGW 32) to not alone write these but entrust his name at the end as the author. What he is doing is a form of plagiarism, but it is plagiarism he is willing

  2. Explore your relationship with the wife of bath

    One of the main features in the Wife�s prologue is the theme of sex, appearing frequently in euphemisms such as "chambre of Venus" and as a general theme. Her appetite for "meat" is seemingly insatiable and creates the impression that she is predatory.

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

    These words are used to compare older woman to left over food, therefore implying they are no good. The Merchant himself never seems to consider the fact that he is old and grey and not the most appealing of husbands.

  2. Do you feel any sympathy for Januarie?

    Moreover throughout the tale Januarie is openly telling us of the loneliness he feels "He lyveth helpless and al desolat", if one was to read between the lines it is apparent that Januarie feels desolated and forlorn, the feeling of true appreciation cannot be bought with any currency.

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