The Wife of Bath begins her lengthy prologue by announcing that she has always followed the rule of experience rather than authority. Having already had five husbands "at the church door," she has experience enough to make her an expert. She sees nothing wrong with having had five husbands and cannot understand Jesus' rebuke to the woman at the well who also had five husbands.
Although some critics have argued that the resultant text should be approached as a collection of distinct pieces, most would agree that there are unifying components and that these include certain thematic strands. At the very least, the specific tales told by the pilgrims as they wend their way to Canterbury generally reflect their respective positions within medieval society as well as their personal characteristics.
The Knight's Tale, for example, is a high-toned chivalric romance appropriate to his station as a member of the nobility and to his character as a man of "troth and honor, freedom and courtesy" I, A, l.
As or more important, Chaucer employs the device of a narrative framework, the story of twenty-nine individuals committed to both a religious pilgrimage and to participation in a story-telling contest. Reinforced by exchanges between the contestants, shared motifs appear in their respective narrations.
Of these running themes, relations between men and women and, more specifically, the topic of marriage is the most prominent topic, but additional motifs, such as financial duplicity, unite groups of characters and run through several of their tales. In the General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, the poet establishes a shared motivation for the pilgrims as a natural urge for spiritual renewal.
He remarks that in England as in all of European Christendomwhen the "sweet showers of April fall. Ostensibly, Chaucer's pilgrims are united by a religious objective, to visit and worship at the shrine of the saint Thomas Beckett in Canterbury. Yet at the same time, the interaction among the pilgrims is animated by the far less serious impulse of playful social intercourse.
At the suggestion of the innkeeper Harry Bailey, a story-telling contest is organized among the convivial assembly of wayfarers who stop at his tavern. The essential spirit behind The Canterbury Tales is social and playful.
The pilgrims generally interact with each other in a light-hearted way as befits a group of people on a holiday or vacation excursion. Drawn from diverse vocations, each pilgrim has the opportunity to rub shoulders with those who are normally outside their particular sphere and rank. Under these circumstances, they are encouraged to talk freely about their own experiences and they assume considerable license in their choice of stories and the manner in which they are told.
Parody flourishes, and Chaucer even introduces an element of self-parody by including a character named "Geffrey" "Geoffrey the Pilgrim".
He turns out to be both a weak storyteller and an extremely poor judge of character, referring to the Shipman who is basically a pirate as "a good fellow" I, A, l. By contemporaneous standards, the group that gathers at Tabbard's Inn is a motley crew, a full cross-section of the fourteenth-century English middle-class, ranging in rank from the Knight to the Plowman while excluding members of the higher nobility and the lower rungs of the peasantry.
People in Chaucer's England were keenly aware of vocation and rank, and viewed them as necessary to social order. They divided their fellows into three broad groups—those who fight, those who pray and those who labor—each of which is represented in Chaucer's cast.
Among and within each group, moreover, vertical hierarchies discriminated between those of high and low estate. Individuals were expected to adhere to established roles and standards as expressed in both external behavior and their attitudes and values. It is in this context that the outward attire of the characters as depicted in the General Prologue takes on significance as an emblematic theme.
The clothes that each character wears are indicative of his conformity or non-conformity to the late medieval code that each person should dress according to his or her particular station in life. The Knight in his well-worn male, the Clerk of Oxford in his threadbare scholars robes, and the Parson in his simple vestments all display an adherence to regnant social mores.
On the other hand, the Prioress and the Monk, who would be expected to wear the plain, conservative garb of their clerical professions adorn themselves with attractive cloaks and fur-trimmed robes, suggesting a certain non-conformity to official standards.
The entire section is 1, words.The Canterbury Tales is the last of Geoffrey Chaucer's works, and he only finished 24 of an initially planned tales. The Canterbury Tales study guide contains a biography of Geoffrey Chaucer, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
Comprised of two dozen stories along with various prologues and epilogues, Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales displays extraordinary diversity in genre, source materials, and themes. Although some.
Canterbury Tales possible Essay topics. STUDY. PLAY. rhetorical analysis, allusion, setting, plot devices, and figures of speech. What are examples of themes in literary works?
the wife of bath speaks she says that nobility is not determined by title, but by the actions of man. Chaucer's Canterbury Tales Essay - Women in The Wife of Bath Words | 6 Pages. Women in Chaucer's The Wife of Bath Chaucer's "The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale" is a medieval legend that paints a portrait of strong women finding love and themselves in the direst of situations.
The Wife of Bath concludes with a plea that Christ send all women meek, young, and fresh husbands who will not outlive their wives. The Wife of Bath’s tale of the loathly lady who turns into a beautiful maid is a very common plot.
A summary of The Wife of Bath’s Tale in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of The Canterbury Tales and what it means.
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