"A shockingly cynical picture". In the light of this comment, discuss the Wife of Bath's account of her marriages to her first three husbands. In your response, you should consider:
"A shockingly cynical picture". In the light of this comment, discuss the Wife of Bath's account of her marriages to her first three husbands. In your response, you should consider: * what the account reveals about the Wife of Bath's character and personality * the account's significance in the poem's treatment of the theme of marriage * tone and style Within the Prologue the Wife of Bath leaps into account of her marriages to her first three husbands. We are treated to a vivid depiction of her distinct character and personality and gain profound insight into Chaucer's treatment of the theme of marriage. I will now discuss in detail how the wife paints a picture that is "shockingly cynical". To begin, the wife's merciless and uncaring nature should be considered. She takes delight in recounting the sexual demands she made of her husbands and the misery that she thus caused them. It is almost as if she gains a sadistic pleasure from doing this: "I laughe whan I thinke/How pitously a-night I made hem swinke". Moreover, the wife recalls with a boastful tone how "many a night they songen "weilawey!" She also prides herself on her ability to make them bring her "gaye things fro the faire" yet she still "chidde them spituously", highlighting a lack of respect towards her husbands. This is likewise apparent in the wife's tirade against them in which she employs a variety of
How does Chaucers prologue prepare us for the millers tale?
'How does Chaucer's Prologue prepare us for 'The Miller's tale'?' Chaucer introduces us to the Miller in the prologue, who appears to personify his own story. By introducing the Miller as a crude ruthless man Chaucer prepares for what is to come in the tale, we see his personality and which becomes the basis for the themes which run through the Miller's tale. In the prologue we are introduced to the Miller's views of women, his frustration with the Reeve and his insult to the church and they are all then continued through the tale. The prologue is a conversation between The Miller and Harry Bailey, who as well as being the landlord is also the man who created the story telling contest and therefore would be seen as the authoritative figure in the novel. When the Miller interrupts to give his story we see him challenging the authority of Harry for it is not his turn to speak, this is an insight into his personality and that of the story which he is to tell. We see him challenging those whom have power during the tale by striking out against The Church. We see the preparation for this disregard of The Church's authority in the prologue for it is in front of the monk, a member of the group, that the Miller speaks. This is showing great disrespect for as a religious figure the monk would be seen as the Miler's superior. This can relate to how the only member of the clergy in the
In what ways is The Merchant's Tale a response to The Clerk's Tale?
In what ways is The Merchant's Tale a response to The Clerk's Tale? Chaucer's establishment of the Clerk in the General Prologue as a committed scholar who prioritises his academic studies over material wealth contrasts sharply with the description of the Merchant's 'bargaines' and his 'chevissaunce'. In placing The Clerk's Tale immediately before that of the Merchant and exploring similar themes within both, Chaucer introduces to his readership a likelihood of the second tale being a response to the first. The differing attitudes and outcomes of the tales, whilst having significant links in their subject matter, provoke comparison of the narrators in their personal discussions and the protagonists become the embodiment of their views towards marriage in the tales. Walter is presented by the Clerk as a largely stereotypical marquis, whose qualities of humility and understanding in his proposal to Griselda are linked to the distinct lack of irony in the introduction to his character. The Clerk narrates in praise of the protagonist, "Handsome and young and strong; in him were blent High honour and a gentle courtesy." It is then admitted that Walter did show certain faults ("He was indeed to blame...") although the fact that he is named so shortly after the beginning of the tale resounds importantly in the Merchant's prologue, where Chaucer admits to having forgotten the
How are the characters in The Miller(TM)s Tale(TM) punished for their actions and do they deserve this punishment?
How are the characters in 'The Miller's Tale' punished for their actions and do they deserve this punishment? Of all of the major character in 'The Miller's Tale', only Alison is physically unpunished. Each of the other characters - John, Nicholas and Absolon - receives some kind of physical punishment for a flaw in their personalities or a mistake that they make. John receives punishment in the form of a broken arm which he obtains "with the fal". In the middle ages, medicine was nowhere near as developed as today, and broken bones would take a long time to heal. For John, a carpenter, use of his arms is vital to his livelihood, and so this physical punishment is a lot more damaging to him than one might expect. If his arm did heal, he would be out of work for a considerable amount of time. Not only this, but he has to suffer humiliation, as all of the neighbours "turned al his harm unto a jape", believing him to be mad. The reason that John is punished is that he has taken a wife much younger than him - "she was wilde and yong, and he was old". The Miller pokes fun at the carpenter because he does not know that "man sholde wedde his similitude". It is unnatural for a man as old as John to take such a young wife, and to keep her "narwe in cage" when she is lively and a creature of appetites that must be satisfied. The Miller suggests that John deserves to be cuckolded
The Friar Portrait
The Friar Portrait The Friar Portrait Chaucer's portrait of the Friar as one of a self indulgent man who commits various sins and applies his entire existence to the pursuit of attaining profit. Not only does it describe his morally corrupt nature but also the Friars lack of commitment to the principles of his profession. He is a "wantowne" which means that the Friar is sociable. However, the word also implies that he may be a wanton which would portray him as sexually promiscuous. These are not characteristics that befit a religious man as he is mean to be simplistic and his main aim in life should be to preach rather than socialise or be sexually promiscuous. He is a "limitour" which means that he is licensed to beg within a certain area. Chaucer uses irony as he states that the Friar is a "ful solempne man" which implies that the Friar is a most impressive man. The irony of this comes out in the next lines as Chaucer states that while hearing confessions the Friar gave the best pardon to those who contributed the maximum amount of money. This indicates the Friars concern for profit and shows his moral corruptness as he uses his status in society to receive benefits rather than doing his actual job which is to preach and to be faithful and follow the Catholic religion. Instead the Friar uses religion for personal gains and is actually unreligious as he commits such sin.
Is Absolon to be mocked or pitied?
Is Absolon to be Mocked or Pitied? How far does Chaucer guide our view? Absolon is a parish clerk and is introduced as a failed courtly lover. We see how he takes great pride in his appearance, so as to impress the women of the area. We see Absolon as a feminine character and there are contrasts drawn between Nicholas and the Miller and himself. Chaucer presents Absolon as a foolish character. I feel that as a reader you mock Absolon as he appears very differently to men of the time. We see this through his vanity, his hair is described as 'strouted as a fanne'. This suggests that Absolon takes a great pride in his hair and this is further suggested as we are told 'gold it shoon'. This suggests that Absolon frequently washes his hair which would be an act associated with the women of the time. Absolon's biblical namesake also was proud of his hair and he to is shown to be a fool. It was because of his vanity and need to have long hair that Absolon's namesake was killed. I sense that there is a connection which can be established in the downfall of these characters and their vanity. Absolon is mocked because of his hair and attention to detail in his appearance and therefore he is not taken seriously ending in his final embarrassment at the window. We are also told of Absolon's shoes which are 'Poules window carven on his shoes'. This shows us that Absolon has a reasonable
'Merchant's Tale - Marriage'
To what extent do you agree that The Merchant's Prologue and Tale is merely a cynical attack on marriage? Geoffrey Chaucer's presentation of marriage throughout The Canterbury Tales is, indeed, varied, abstract and supplemented by dispute over the sincerity of specific works. This literary inconsistency is strongly evident in The Merchant's Tale, making it essential to address the disparity of its message on the topic of marriage. It could initially be assumed that the poem is not solely a cynical attack on marriage; Chaucer offers a somewhat objective overview of the issue, purveyed by the obvious difference in opinion of its characters, for example; the merchant in the prologue - 'we wedded men live in sorwe and care'1 - and Januarie's opinion - 'in this world it [marriage] is a paradis'2 - or the differing judgements of both Justinus - 'it is no childes pley'3 - and Placebo - 'Dooth now in this matiere right as yow leste'4 - after Januarie's consultation with them. By addressing the fact that the message fluctuates it could be argued that Chaucer offers multiple compatible interpretations. Should we interpret the opinion of Placebo in the same way as we should Justinus, or do the subsequent events of the Tale prove to us that we should primarily concern ourselves with the view of the more reasoned, objective character - the name 'Justinus' implies a judicial figure?
A sinister exploration of the nature of evil Discuss Chaucers poetic methods in presenting evil in the pardoners prologue and tale in the light of this comment.
(a) 'A sinister exploration of the nature of evil' Discuss Chaucer's poetic methods in presenting evil in the pardoner's prologue and tale in the light of this comment. In Chaucer's time, the nature of evil related to any committing of the 7 deadly sins, consisting of greed, pride, blasphemy, sloth, avarice, wrath, lust and envy. The pardoner's prologue and tale is comprised of many of these sins, the pardoner himself demonstrating the majority. Other characters, such as the 3 rioters also embody many of these sins. This essay will explore these characters as well as their evil natures and formulate an opinion how Chaucer presents evil in the pardoner's prologue and tale. The pardoner's evil nature is initiated from his physical description in the general prologue. He is described as having hair as yelow as wex and hood we wered noon - a description immediately illustrating him as a rule breaker, as for most clergymen it was assumed they would cover their hair. In addition to this, he is described as having such glaryng eyen. In the medieval times, this amounted to the suggestion of evil; therefore, Chaucer has constructed the pardoner in such a way to ambiguously imply he may be somewhat evil. Critics, such as Spearing, have noted that the pardoner's repellent outer appearance reflects his inner corruption. The description of his fake relics, such as the sayle that saint
Considering in detail one or two passages, explore the significance of magic in The Franklins Tale.
Considering in detail one or two passages, explore the significance of magic in 'The Franklin's Tale.' You must * Look closely at effects of language and imagery; * Show that the relationship of the chosen passage(s) to the methods and themes of the tale as a whole Without Magic, the Franklin's Tale would have never unfurled in the way it does. The whole fact that Dorigen wants the rocks to 'disappear' suggests a magical element, and because the magic is successfully worked, this causes Arveragus to submit his wife to another man, permitting them to love each other. Magic is significant in The Franklin's Tale, because if Aurelius had never succeeded in making the rocks disappear then Dorigen would have never had to be unfaithful to her husband. Chaucer links this underlying theme of magic with the theme of courtly love, and he employs metaphor and setting as mechanisms to condemn the fictions of courtly literature. More specifically, he reveals the dangerous power of literary texts to create and scatter harmful ideas of courtly love. I will consider lines 507-536, to explore, primarily, the use of magic, and integrate it with other themes such as courtly love. Line 507 opens up in a sombre mood, telling the reader that 'they dede were' about the brother's former companions. The deaths of all these old friends can be taken as a warning of being immersed into a world of
The Triangulation of Love in The Knights Tale
Jaime Korman 1/3/11 The Triangulation of Love in “The Knight’s Tale” In “The Knight’s Tale,” the first story of The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer uses the triangle to investigate the abstract complexity of life’s most powerful emotion—love. Since “love is law unto itself,” it can be a challenge to examine its erratic nuances critically. Yet Chaucer, through the symbolic geometry of a triangle, masterfully establishes a narrative structure based on the simultaneous balance and tension between the conflicted lovers, Palamon, Arcite and Emily. Palamon and Arcite’s relationship forms the base of the triangle. The two men are inextricably bonded by their origin and fate and dearly love one another, in a brotherly way. Until their paths diverge, Palamon and Arcite are treated as identical characters. Half dead from an attack by Duke Theseus, they are rescued from a pile of bodies, only to be imprisoned in a tower next to Theseus’ garden. Their undifferentiated personalities and unquestioned loyalty to one another form the original strong and stable foundation of the triangle. Palamon and Arcite’s first vision of Emily instantly creates the third point of the love triangle and completely restructures the geometry of the story. This love at first sight brings a new dimensionality to the relationship and individuality of Arcite and Palamon.