• 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 - critical review

Extracts from this document...


In The Canterbury Tales, the Merchant's Tale and the Franklin's Tale have several similarities and differences. Damian, of the Merchant's Tale, and Aurelius, of the Franklin's Tale, are two characters who reflect each other. The two husbands of the tales, Averagus and January, are opposites of each other. Dorigen and May, the wives of the tales, also do not reflect each other. The Merchant's Tale is not a virtuous tale, while the Franklin's Tale is a virtuous tale. In The Merchant's Tale, Damian is the good-looking young man who tempts May to cheat on her husband. May is much younger than her husband, January, and is not impressed with him. "God knows what May was thinking in her heart, seeing him sit there in his shirt apart, wearing his night-cap, with his scrawny throat. She didn't think his games were worth a groat."(373) May becomes bored and tired of January, so she then pursues the younger, better-looking, Damian. May and Damian began having an affair behind January's back and he never found out. ...read more.


January was very wrong in choosing a younger wife, and in the end of the tale his decision comes back to hurt him. Averagus, of the Franklin's Tale, is a much different man than January is. Averagus is a virtuous man who possesses all the characteristics of a knight and treats his wife with full respect. As the tale describes him, "In Brittany, or as it then was called, Amorica, there was a knight enthralled to love, who served his lady with his best in many a toilsome enterprise and quest, suffering much for ere she was won."(409) January and Averagus are two opposite men, one is immoral and the other is virtuous, but when the tale comes to an end both lose their wife to a squire. The wives of the two tales, May and Dorigen, are also two opposite characters. May is an unfaithful wife who does not agree to the marriage contract that she signed with January. ...read more.


The Franklin's Tale was the opposite of the Merchant's Tale and it was full of virtue. Dorigen's character alone is an example of moral values, and she also had moral feelings. Her choice to make her wish to Aurelius so selfless and for the shipmen was very moral. Averagus, the knight, was also a very virtuous man. His decision to allow Dorigen to fulfill her promise that she made to Aurelius, and let her marry him, was very courageous. "All may be well, but you must keep your word. For, as may God be merciful to me, I rather would be stabbed than live to see you fail in truth. The very love I bear you bids you keep truth, in that it cannot spare you."(429) Dorigen and Averagus are two characters who provide this play with the moral value it needs to win the prize dinner. The Merchant's Tale is one of entertainment and immoral characters that make bad decisions. The Franklin's Tale, on the other hand, is full of virtuous characters that make very respectable choices and decisions. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE Geoffrey Chaucer essays

  1. The Heart of the Matter - Graham Greene

    It's not the repentance you lack, just a few simple actions: go to the Nissen hut and say good-bye. Or if you must, continue rejecting me but without lies anymore. Go to your house and say good-bye to your wife and live with your mistress.

  2. How does the tale of the Merchant reflect the character of the Merchant himself?

    and a market based social formulation that accomplishes the same end. The latter is a purely secular rationale that seems at odds with the religious perspective until one examines the two systems of the texture and quality of marital relations.

  1. The Merchant's Tale -summary

    If the reader trusts the tale, the fact that the Merchant hates women can be textually supported. Whether or not Januarie represents him can still be questioned. However, Chaucer creates an original artistic vehicle...to express the cynicism of the Merchant-narrator, whose consciousness of the difference between words and reality would

  2. Geoffrey Chaucer's "The Merchant's Tale" - Commentary.

    He claims his wife is terrible to him, and then tells a tale about an old man whose wife is terrible to him. There also is the suggestion in the tale that he appreciates why old men might make awful husbands to young women, perhaps revealing a degree of self-loathing that becomes uncomfortable for most readers.

  1. Cloudstreet review

    The stuff that occurs in a prologue generally happen throughout the novel and I found when reading there were parts that my mind would click and I would remember something from the prologue, this has a great effect on the reader and it made me want to keep on reading it even more.

  2. Prologue to the Merchant's Tale

    a wife, for she could be shrewish or a drunkard, facts that a husband will not learn until well into the marriage. Despite the common opinion that Placebo has a wonderful wife, he knows what faults she has. They argue about the merits of marriage, with Placebo predicting that January

  1. The Tale of Bluebeard and His Many Wives.

    Open them all; go into every one of them, except that little closet, which I forbid you, and forbid it in such a manner that, if you open it, there will be a severe consequence. She promised to obey, very exactly, whatever he had ordered when after having said this, got into his coach and continued on his journey.

  2. The CanterburyTales - A Book Review.

    The Wife of Bath is headstrong and manipulative, always proclaiming the need for women to rule over their husbands. Through her complaints of what needed to be reformed in society, we gain insight into what life was really like.

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