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Canterbury Tales Paper - Essay Example

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Canterbury Tales Name: Course: Instructor: Date: Canterbury tales: An analysis of The Merchant and The Wife of Bath’s Tales. Introduction The wife of Bath’s tale and the Merchant’s tale are two tales among the tales classified under the marriage group tales of the Canterbury tales…
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Download file to see previous pages These tales address issues that are quite common in our current societies but people rarely notice. The merchant is an old man who is in search of love and at the same time does not want to admit that love is important in a marriage. On the other hand, the wife of Bath’s tale is about a woman who values the traditional values of love and courtship. She is obviously a very confident person and outspoken as well; she has been married five times and she seems well learned and very religious for she often quotes the scriptures. She is not amused by the trouble people go to in order to get marriage partners and stay in marriages. This paper will address different themes as they are depicted in both tales. According to her, marriage is some sort of slavery for women and she believes that experience is always the best teacher one could ever get. Chivalry Reading the wife of Bath’s tale one has to admire the wife’s chivalry; she often condemns others for what they do wrong and yet her morals are not that upright. She has been married five times and she could not mind a sixth one yet she talks about men like they are some sort of tool she owns trying to control them. She justifies her five marriages in her prologue saying that when God created man he told them to go and multiply. “But well I know and say, and do not lie, God bade us to increase and multiply; that worthy text can I well understand.” (Line 27-30) She is even amused by the coincidence of her story and that of the Samaritan woman who Jesus told that she had five men who were not her husbands. Her chivalry is so obvious when she criticizes King Solomon in another bid to justify her marriage to five husbands. She says… “Why should men speak of it reproachfully? Lo, there’s the wise old king Dan Solomon; I understand he had more wives than one; And now would God it were permitted me to be refreshed one half as oft as he! Which gift of God he had for all his wives! No man such that in his world lives. God knows, this noble king, it strikes my wit, Praise God that I have wedded five!”(Line 35-40) Her prologue seems to be an attempt to justify her actions and convince the readers that she is a good person. She rarely tries to hide the fact that she has made mistakes in her past and she is willing to admit that and move on without making any apologies. Medieval chivalry is not only depicted by the wife in her prologue but the knight in that tale is the most chivalrous person. His chivalrous character starts to show when he rapes the girl without giving it a second thought. He does not care what will happen when the story about the rape is out. His thrive is only for the moment and does not pause to give a thought to the consequences of his actions. He also promises the old hag a favour when he does not know what this favour will be (The Wife of Bath’s tale). In line (1060-61) she says “ Before the court, now, pray I now, you sir knight; Said she, that you may take me for your wife. ” His only thought at the moment he made the promise was to get the right answer that he can tell the queen because his time was up and he needed salvation from the impending danger. Courtly Love and marriage In both Wife of Bath’s tale and the Merchant tale, there is a lot of contrast on their view towards marriage and courtly love. Courtly love is basically characterised by the medieval times way of arranging marriages for children without the chance to have them fall in love and choose who to marry. An old ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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