The Pardoner's Tale
The Pardoners Tale is one of The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. In the order of the Tales, it comes after The Physicians Tale and before The Shipmans Tale, the Pardoner initiates his Prologue—briefly accounting his methods of conning people—and proceeds to tell a moral tale. The tale itself is an extended exemplum, setting out to kill Death, three young men encounter an Old Man who says that they will find him under a nearby tree. When they arrive they discover a hoard of treasure and decide to stay with it overnight to carry it away the following morning, the tale and prologue are primarily concerned with what the Pardoner says is his theme, Radix malorum est cupiditas. In the order of The Canterbury Tales, the Pardoners Prologue, the Physicians Tale is a harrowing tale about a judge who plots with a churl to abduct a beautiful young woman, rather than allow her to be raped, her father beheads her. The Host asks the Pardoner to telle us som mrythe or japes right anon, the pilgrims—aware of pardoners notoriety for telling lewd tales and in anticipation of hearing something objectionable—voice their desire for no ribaldry, but instead want a moral tale.
The prologue takes the form of a confession in the same manner as The Wife of Baths Prologue. However, rather than an apology for his vices, the Pardoner boasts of his duping of his victims, for whom he has nothing and he says that his theme—biblical text for a sermon—is Radix malorum est cupiditas. The Pardoner says to the pilgrims that by these tricks he has acquired a considerable sum of money. He goes on to relate how he stands like a clergy at the pulpit, against anyone that offends either him or other pardoners, he will stynge hym with my tonge smerte. The Pardoner explains that he offers many anecdotes to the lewed people. Yet, he concludes to the pilgrims, though he may be a ful vicious man, he can tell a moral tale, the tale is set in Flanders at an indeterminate time, and opens with three young men drinking and blaspheming in a tavern. The Pardoner condemns each of these tavern sins in turn—gluttony, gambling, the rioters hear a bell signalling a burial, their friend has been killed by a privee theef known as Death, who has killed a thousand others.
The men set out to them and kill Death. An old man they brusquely query tells them that he has asked Death to take him but has failed and he says they can find death at the foot of an oak tree. When the men arrive at the tree, they find a large amount of gold coins and they decide to sleep at the oak tree over night, so they can take the coins in the morning. The three men draw straws to see who among them should fetch wine and food while the two wait under the tree. The youngest of the three men draws the shortest straw and departs, while he is away, the two plot to overpower and stab him upon his return
The Cook's Tale
Geoffrey Chaucer presumably never finished The Cooks Tale and it breaks off after 58 lines, although some scholars argue that Chaucer deliberately left the tale unfinished. The story starts telling of an apprentice named Perkyn who is fond of drinking and dancing, Perkyn is released by his master and moves in with a friend who loves to drink, and whose wife is a prostitute. The tale continues the general trend of the preceding tales—the Knights, the Millers. In 25 of The Canterbury Tales MSS the Cooks unfinished tale is followed by the anonymous Tale of Gamelyn, Skeat argued instead that Chaucer intended the tale for the Yeoman, who would presumably be more interested in a tale of country life. The Host calls upon the Cook for another tale, but he is too drunk and, after he falls from his horse and is helped back up, the Manciple tells a tale. The Cook starts by cog on the Reeves tale and then, after a reference to Solomon, the host invites the cook to tell his tale. Chaucer’s special manuscript words Read The Cooks Tale with interlinear translation Modern Translation of The Cooks Tale, the Tale of Gamelyn, From the Harleian Ms.
No.7334 The Cooks Tale – a plain-English retelling for non-scholars
The Knight's Tale
The Knights Tale is the first tale from Geoffrey Chaucers The Canterbury Tales. The story introduces various typical aspects of such as courtly love. The story is written in iambic pentameter end-rhymed couplets, the epic poem Teseida by Giovanni Boccaccio is the source of the tale, although Chaucer makes many significant diversions from that poem. The Teseida has 9,896 lines in twelve books, while The Knights Tale has only 2,250 lines—though it is one of the longer poems in the Tales. The tale is considered a romance, yet it is markedly different from either the English or French traditions of such tales. For instance, there is the inclusion of philosophical themes—mainly of the contained in the Consolation of Philosophy of Boethius—astrological references. The following tale by the Miller involves the conflict between two men over a woman. It is an antithesis to the Knights, with none of the nobility or heritage of classical mythology, but is instead rollicking, comedic. Two cousins and knights and Arcite, are captured and imprisoned by Theseus, duke of Athens and their cell is in the tower of Theseus castle, with a window which overlooks his palace garden.
The imprisoned Palamon wakes early one morning in May and catches sight of Princess Emily and he instantly falls in love with her, his moan is heard by Arcite, who also wakes and sees Emily. He falls in love with her as well and this angers Palamon, who believes that he claimed her first. Arcite argues that he has the right to love Emily as well, the friendship between Palamon and Arcite quickly deteriorates over their competition for Emilys love. Palamon eventually escapes by drugging the jailer, while hiding in a grove, overhears Arcite singing about love and they begin to duel with each other over who should get Emily, but are thwarted by the arrival of Theseus. Theseus originally plans to sentence the two to death, but upon the protests of his wife and Emily, he decides to have them compete in a tournament instead. Palamon and Arcite are to gather 100 men apiece and to fight a mass judicial tournament, Theseus lays down rules for the tournament so that if any man becomes seriously injured, he must be dragged out of the battle and is no longer in combat.
Because of this, the story seems to claim at the end there were almost no deaths on either side. Although both Palamon and Arcite fight valiantly, Palamon is wounded by a sword thrust from one of Arcites men. Theseus declares the fight to be over, Arcite wins the battle, but following a divine intervention by Saturn, he is mortally wounded by his horse throwing him off and falling on him before he can claim Emily as his prize
The frame story leads readers from a first story into another, smaller one within it. The frame story may be used to allow readers to understand a part of the story and this is not however, to be mixed up with a narrative structure or character personality change. The earliest known frame stories are preserved on the ancient Egyptian Papyrus Westcar. This form gradually spread west through the centuries and became popular, giving rise to such classic frame tale collections as the One Thousand and One Nights, The Decameron, and Canterbury Tales. This format had flexibility in that various narrators could retain the stories they liked or understood, while dropping ones they didnt and this occurred particularly with One Thousand and One Nights, where different versions over the centuries have included different stories. A typical example of a story is One Thousand and One Nights. Many of Scheherazades tales are frame stories, such as Tale of Sindbad the Seaman and Sindbad the Landsman, extensive use of this device is found in Ovids Metamorphoses, where the stories nest several deep, to allow the inclusion of many different tales in one work.
Emily Brontës Wuthering Heights uses this device to tell the story of Heathcliff and Catherine. Her sister Anne uses this device in her epistolary novel The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, the main heroines diary is framed by the narrators story and letters. Mary Shelleys novel Frankenstein is another example of a book with multiple framed narratives. Frame stories have appeared in other media, such as comic books. Neil Gaimans comic book series The Sandman featured a story arc called Worlds End which consisted of frame stories, frame stories are often organized as a gathering of people in one place for the exchange of stories. Each character tells his or her tale, and the tale progresses in that manner. Sometimes only one exists, and in this case there might be different levels of distance between the reader and author. In this mode, the tale can become more fuzzy. Here the frame includes the world of the imagined Crayon, his stories, essentially, it is a frame story without a story to be framed. When there is a story, the frame story is used for other purposes – chiefly to position the readers attitude toward the tale.
One common one is to draw attention to the narrators unreliability, by explicitly making the narrator a character within the frame story, the writer distances himself from the narrator, he may characterize the narrator to cast doubt on his truthfulness
The Man of Law's Tale
The Man of Laws Tale is the fifth of the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, written around 1387. John Gowers Tale of Constance in Confessio Amantis tells the same story, Nicholas Trivets Les chronicles was a source for both authors. Constance is the daughter of the emperor in Rome, syrian merchants report her great beauty to the Sultan. A marriage contract is negotiated by her father which requires the Sultan, the Sultans mother, enraged that her son would turn his back on Islam, kills her son and the wedding party and has Constance set adrift on the sea. Her adventures and trials continue after she is shipwrecked on the Northumberland coast, the validity of her Christian faith is proved by two miracles. A blind man is healed by her companion Hermengyld, a wicked knight who wishes to seduce Constance murders Hermengyld and attempts to frame Constance using the bloody dagger. He perjures himself and is struck dead. Northumberland is a pagan country where the King, Alla converted to Christianity after learning of the two miracles.
Allas evil mother intercepts and falsifies letters between the Alla and his constable, which results in Constances being banished, Constance is forced to go to sea again but runs aground in Spain. A would-be rapist boards her ship but mysteriously falls overboard and she is found by a Senator of Rome. He is returning from a mission to Barberie where he revenged the slaughter of Christians by the Sultans mother, the Senator takes Constance back to Italy to serve as a household servant. King Alla, still heartbroken over the loss of Constance, goes to Rome on a pilgrimage, Alla dies a year later, and the baby boy becomes the King. The Man of Law is a judicious and dignified man, or, at least and he is a judge in the court of assizes, by letter of appointment from the king, and has many goods and robes. He can draw up a document, the narrator tells us. The Man of Law rides in informal, silk-adorned clothes, GP The tale is based on a story within the Chronicles of Nicholas Trivet but the major theme in the tale, of an exiled princess uncorrupted by her suffering, was common in the literature of the time.
Her tale is told in John Gowers Confessio Amantis. The oldest known variant of this type is Vitae duorum Offarum. More distantly related forms of the persecuted heroine include Le Bone Florence of Rome, an incident where Constance is framed for murder by a bloody dagger appears to be a direct borrowing from Crescentia
This stage of the development of the English language roughly followed the High to the Late Middle Ages. Middle English developed out of Late Old English, seeing many dramatic changes in its grammar and this largely forms the basis for Modern English spelling, although pronunciation has changed considerably since that time. Middle English was succeeded in England by the era of Early Modern English, by that time, a variant of the Northumbrian dialect was developing into the Scots language. During the Middle English period many Old English grammatical features were simplified or disappeared, noun and verb inflections were simplified, a process that included the reduction of most grammatical case distinctions. Middle English saw an adoption of Norman French vocabulary, especially in areas such as politics, law. Everyday English vocabulary remained mostly Germanic, with Old Norse influence becoming apparent, significant changes in pronunciation took place, especially for long vowels and diphthongs, which in the Middle English period began to undergo the Great Vowel Shift.
Little survives of early Middle English literature, most likely due to the Norman domination, poets wrote both in the vernacular and courtly English. It is popularly believed that William Shakespeare wrote in Middle English, the latter part of the 11th century was a period of transition from Late Old English to Early Middle English. The influence of Old Norse certainly helped move English from a synthetic language towards a more analytic or isolating word order and it was, after all, a salutary influence. The gain was greater than the loss, there was a gain in directness, in clarity, and in strength. The change to Old English from Old Norse was substantive, pervasive and it is most important to recognise that in many words the English and Scandinavian language differed chiefly in their inflectional elements. The body of the word was so nearly the same in the two languages only the endings would put obstacles in the way of mutual understanding. In the mixed population which existed in the Danelaw these endings must have led to confusion, tending gradually to become obscured.
This blending of peoples and languages resulted in simplifying English grammar. There are many Norman-derived terms relating to the cultures that arose in the 12th century. Sometimes, and particularly later, words were taken from Latin, giving such sets as kingly, French borrowings came from standard rather than Norman French, this leads to such cognate pairs as warden, guardian. The end of Anglo-Saxon rule did not, of course, change the language immediately, the general population would have spoken the same dialects as before the Conquest, these changed slowly until written records of them became available for study, which varies in different regions. Once the writing of Old English came to an end, Middle English had no standard language, Early Middle English has a largely Anglo-Saxon vocabulary, but a greatly simplified inflectional system
The Wife of Bath's Tale
The Wife of Baths Tale is among the best-known of Geoffrey Chaucers Canterbury Tales. He goes so far as to two sets of clothing for her in his General Prologue. The tale is often regarded as the first of the marriage group of tales, which includes the Clerks, the Merchants. A separation between tales that deal with issues and ones that deal with magical issues, as the Wife of Baths does, is favoured by some scholars. The tale is an example of the loathly lady motif, the oldest examples of which are the medieval Irish sovereignty myths such as Niall of the Nine Hostages. By tradition, any knight or noble found guilty of such a transgression, might be stripped of his name, heraldic title and rights, some have theorised that the Wifes tale may have been written to ease Chaucers guilty conscience. There was a Knight in King Arthurs time who raped a young maiden. King Arthur issues a decree that the Knight must be brought to justice, when the Knight is captured, he is condemned to death, but Queen Guinevere intercedes on his behalf and asks the King to allow her to pass judgment upon him.
Everywhere the knight goes he explains his predicament to the women he meets and asks their opinion, the answers range from fame and riches to play, or clothes, or sexual pleasure, or flattery, or freedom. When at last the time comes for him to return to the Court, outside a castle in the woods, he sees twenty-four maidens dancing and singing, but when he approaches they disappear as if by magic, and all that is left is an old hag. The Knight explains the problem to the hag, who is wise and may know the answer, with no other options left, the Knight agrees. Arriving at the court, he gives the answer that women most desire sovereignty over their husbands, the old hag explains to the court the deal she has struck with the Knight, and publicly requests his hand in marriage. Although aghast, he realizes he has no choice and eventually agrees. On their wedding night the hag is upset that he is repulsed by her in bed and she reminds him that her looks can be an asset—she will be a virtuous wife to him because no other men would desire her.
She asks him what he would prefer—an old ugly hag who is loyal, the Knight responds by saying that the choice is hers, an answer which pleases her greatly. Now that she has won power over him, she asks him to kiss her, the Knight turns to look at the hag again, but now finds a young and lovely woman. They live happily into old age together, the Wife of Baths Prologue both draws from and critiques the long medieval tradition of antifeminist texts. The simple fact that Alisoun is a widow who remarries more than once suggests a relationship with antifeminist traditions, further evidence of this can be found through Alisouns observation, “For hadde God commanded maydenhede, / Thanne hadde he dampned weddyng with the dede”
The Shipman's Tale
The Shipmans Tale is one of The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. It is in the form of a fabliau and tells the story of a merchant, his avaricious wife and her lover. Although similar stories can be found in Boccaccios Decameron, a frequent source for Chaucers tales, the story is a retelling of a folk tale. The tale tells of a merchant whose wife enjoys revelry and socialising, a young monk, who is very close friends with the merchant, comes to stay with them. After confessing that she not love her husband, the wife asks the monk for one hundred franks to pay her debts. When the merchant asks his wife about the money she says it is spent, instead of giving her husband the money back she says she will repay the debt in bed. Apart from a criticism of the clergy, a theme of Chaucers. Also the similar tales often end with both the wife and husband being conned but the addition of the wife, in turn, conning her husband seems to be Chaucers own embellishment. As the wife is tallying her debt in bed the story ends on a pun that we should all, God willing.
In the line he moot us clothe, and he moot us array, the changes give some insight into Chaucers development of the tales and the connections between them. In the BBC1 adaptation of The Shipmans Tale, the setting is an Indian family in modern England, the monks role is played by the merchants business partner who has come from India to set up a shop in England. The wife, beset by problems, sleeps with this man. The business partner breaks up with the wife, and she, feeling jilted, the merchant subsequently sends the other man back to India with a warning, and at the end he reaches across the bed to touch his wifes hand, a hint of possible reconciliation
The Prioress's Tale
The Prioresss Tale follows The Shipmans Tale in Geoffrey Chaucers The Canterbury Tales. Because of fragmentation of the manuscripts, it is impossible to tell where it comes in ordinal sequence, the General Prologue names the prioress as Madame Eglantine, and describes her impeccable table manners and soft-hearted ways. Her portrait suggests she is likely in religious life as a means of advancement, given her aristocratic manners. She maintains a secular lifestyle, including keeping lap dogs that she privileges over other people and her story is of a child martyr killed by Jews, a common theme in Medieval Christianity, and much criticism focuses on the tales antisemitism. The story begins with an invocation to the Virgin Mary, sets the scene in Asia, a seven-year-old school-boy, son of a widow, is brought up to revere Mary. He teaches himself the first verse of the popular Medieval hymn Alma Redemptoris Mater, though he does not understand the words and he begins to sing it every day as he walks to school through the Jews street.
Satan, That hath in Jewes heart his waspes nest, incites the Jews to murder the child and his mother searches for him and eventually finds his body, which begins miraculously to sing the Alma Redemptoris. The Christians call in the provost of the city, who has the Jews drawn by wild horses, the boy continues to sing throughout his Requiem Mass until the holy abbot of the community asks him why he is able to sing. He replies that although his throat is cut, he has had a vision in which Mary laid a grain on his tongue, the abbot removes the grain and he dies. The story ends with a mention of Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln, the story is an example of a class of stories, popular at the time, known as the miracles of the Virgin such as those by Gautier de Coincy. It blends elements of story of a pious child killed by the enemies of the faith. Matthew Arnold cited a stanza from the tale as the best of Chaucers poetry and my throte is kut unto my nekke boon, Seyde this child, and as by wey of kynde I sholde have dyed, ye, longe tyme agon.
But Jesu Crist, as ye in bookes fynde, Wil that his glorie laste and be in mynde, And for the worship of his Mooder deere Yet may I synge O Alma loude, the tale is related to various blood libel stories common at the time. One likely influence for the tale was the infamous 1255 murder of a boy in Lincoln who became known as Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln, Chaucers attitude toward the tale is less clear. The Prioress French accent is a sign of social climbing, yet her speech is modelled after the Stratford-at-Bow school and she makes her oaths by Seint Loy, the patron of, among others, goldsmiths. Her overzealousness to her pet dogs and to mice killed in traps is perhaps misdirected in a nun and she wears a brooch bearing the Virgilian motto Amor vincit omnia —a dubious maxim for a nun—which perhaps takes the place of a rosary and further illustrates her fascination with courtly love. Thus her portrayal as a character is not wholly positive, in fact, the language and structure of her prologue and tale have led many literary critics to argue that Chaucer is mocking the Prioress.
The Jews were banished from England in 1290, one hundred years before the tale was written and this means that the Jews are an even more distant and unfocused evil quality than is usual in such stories
The Clerk's Tale
The Clerks Tale is the first tale of Group E in Geoffrey Chaucers The Canterbury Tales. It is preceded by The Summoners Tale and followed by The Merchants Tale, the Clerk of Oxenford is a student of what would nowadays be considered philosophy or theology. He tells the tale of Griselda, a woman whose husband tests her loyalty in a series of cruel torments that recall the Biblical book of Job. The Clerks tale is about a marquis of Saluzzo in Piedmont in Italy named Walter and he assents and decides he will marry a peasant, named Griselda. Griselda is a girl, used to a life of pain and labour. After Griselda has borne him a daughter, Walter decides to test her loyalty and he sends an officer to take the baby, pretending it will be killed, but actually conveying it in secret to Bologna. Griselda, because of her promise, makes no protest at this, when she bears a son several years later, Walter again has him taken from her under identical circumstances. Finally, Walter determines one last test and he has a Papal bull of annulment forged which enables him to leave Griselda, and informs her that he intends to remarry.
As part of his deception, he employs Griselda to prepare the wedding for his new bride, meanwhile, he has brought the children from Bologna, and he presents his daughter as his intended wife. Eventually he informs Griselda of the deceit, who is overcome by joy at seeing her children alive, one of the characters created by Chaucer is the Oxford clerk, who is a student of philosophy. He is depicted as thin and impoverished, hard-working and wholly dedicated to his studies, the narrator claims that as a student in Italy he met Francis Petrarch at Padua from whom he heard the tale. The story of patient Griselda first appeared as the last chapter of Boccacios Decameron, in 1374, it was translated into Latin by Petrarch, who quotes the heroine, Griselda, as an exemplum of that most feminine of virtues, constancy. As far as Chaucer is concerned, critics think he used both Petrachs and de Mézièress texts, while managing to recapture Bocaccios opaque irony, anne Middleton is one of many scholars to discuss the relationship between Petrarchs original and Chaucers reworking of the tale.
Given the context of the Clerks tale, what lesson, if any, certainly Griselda appears as the antithesis to the Wife of Bath. The intrusive narrator comments on the foolishness of the husbands test, God woot and he hadde assayed hire ynogh bifore, And foond hire evere good, In the course of the narrative he seems to treat Griseldas story as an exemplum. He compares her to Job, and reminds his audience of the reputation of clerks for misogyny to emphasise the fact that Griseldas virtue is such as to disarm the most prejudiced. In conclusion he remarks that he did not tell the story to encourage wives to imitate Griselda, however the Clerks Tale is followed by an envoy, the tone of which is quite different. The irony is more in keeping with the clerks ethos but contradicts his former conclusion
The Tale of Gamelyn
The Tale of Gamelyn is a romance written in c.1350 in a dialect of Middle English, considered part of the Matter of England. The tale confronts the corruption of the law, illuminating a lack of moral and political consistency. There is no indication as to exactly this story takes place, given that the text itself has no place names. Though there is no known author, Geoffrey Chaucer had included the character of Gamelyn among his papers and it is thought to have been possible that he wanted to construct a version of it for use as the Cooks tale. The Tale of Gamelyn shares similarities with other stories from English literary and it is of particular interest for its similarities with the English ballad of the legendary outlaw Robin Hood. It was a source for Thomas Lodge’s prose romance Rosalynde, the Tale of Gamelyn is thought to provide a transition between the mid 14th century and the late 15th century world of early romances and Robin Hood ballads. The tale begins with Sir John of Boundys on his death bed, knowing the end is near, Sir John calls upon wise knights to assist him in dividing his land among his three sons.
He specifically mentions to give an amount of land to his son Gamelyn. However, the knights ignore his wishes and decide to all his estate to the two elder sons, excluding Gamelyn on the premise that he is too young. When the knights disclose their decision to Sir John, he is outraged, as time passes, Gamelyn realizes he’s fallen victim to foolery and that this deal with his brother is unbearably unfair. When Gamelyn confronts Johan about his injustice, A fight breaks out and this is Gamelyn’s opportunity to show his worth, for the winner will receive a ram and a ring of gold. Gamelyn overcomes this challenge and accepts his winnings, a surprised Johan panics, bolting the castle doors and locking Gamelyn out. Gamelyn proceeds to knock the door down and tell the servants that he has an abundance of wine and he enjoys this high rank for eight days, Johan finally retaliates. He commands the servants to bind Gamelyn in chains and have him stand for two days without any food or drink, Gamelyn grows quite weak and sickly, a servant in the house, Adam Spencer, becomes aware of Gamelyns struggling and decides to help him.
He brings him into a room, feeds him. He tells Gamelyn that Johan is holding a feast on Sunday and he purposes that Gamelyn should stand before them, while still bound in chains, and beg them to release him. The day of the feast comes and Gamelyn executes this plan, however, no one complies with his desperate request to be released. Gamelyn grows angry and violent, ripping off his chains and rushing into the hall in search of a weapon and he grabs a staff and begins viciously attacking the churchmen and battering them significantly
The Physician's Tale
The Physicians Tale is one of the Canterbury Tales written by Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century. This is a drama about the relationship between a daughter and her father and it is one of the earliest extant poems in English about such subjects. Most of the versions of the story focused on the cruel and arbitrary officials. Virginius, a nobleman of Rome, has a beautiful, fourteen-year-old daughter and she is spotted one day by a judge, Appius who decides he must have her and forms a plan. His accomplice, a churl by the name of Claudius, claims in court that Virginia is his run-away slave, Virginius goes home and tells his daughter he must kill her to protect her honour. She resigns herself to her fate and swoons, and he cuts her head off and he takes her head to the court and when Appius demands his execution for murder, the populace instead rises up and deposes the corrupt official. Appius kills himself in jail, but Virginius spares Claudius life, the long, and rather distracting, digression on governesses possibly alludes to a historical event and may serve to date it.
In 1386 Elizabeth, the daughter of John of Gaunt, eloped to France with John Hastings, the governess of Elizabeth was Katherine Swynford who was Gaunts mistress and wife. Chaucers very careful, mollifying words on the job and the virtues of governesses seem to be a very canny political move. The story is considered one of the tales, along with the Parsons tale. However, the fate of Virginius renders questionable the moral assertion at the storys end, the Host enjoys the tale and feels for the daughter but asks the Pardoner for a more merry tale. The Pardoner obliges and his tale has a similar but contrasting moral message, shakespeares Titus Andronicus pays homage to this tale. After Lavinia is raped and mutilated, her father Titus kills her and he compares himself to Virginius