The Portrayal And Function Of Courtly Romance Convention In Chaucer`s Canterbury Tales

1910 words - 8 pages

Tales’ summaries

The Wife of Bath’s Tale starts with a Prologue in which she gives an account of her colorful life with five husbands. The tale continues the main question of women’s desire for sovereignty over men. A young Knight rapes a maiden while she was returning home. As a punishment for his heinous act he has to discover within a year what women most desire. The Knight was searching in the whole country in search of the answer. At the end he promises to grant a wish to an ugly old hag in return for the right answer. When he has given the answer in court and secured his liberty, the old hug jumps up and demands that he marries her. The Knight begs her to reconsider and wish for ...view middle of the document...

The Franklin’s Tale recounts the story of Dorigen who is courted by Aurelius during her husband, Arveragus’, absence. She rejects his love and kiddingly says that he can have her if he can make all the rocks from the coastline vanish and thus make her husband’s return safe. In the meanwhile Arveragus returns from his trip and Dorigen is happily reunited with her husband. But Aurelius who still pines for her enlists the help of a magician and makes the rocks disappear. Dorigen is distraught when her condition has been met. Her husband insists that she must honor her promise. Arveragus’s nobility and Dorigen’s commitment to her husband move Aurelius. He releases Dorigen from her promise. Aurelius discovers that he does not have money to pay the magician and requests for more time. Upon learning the entire story the magician foregoes his fees and the tale ends with the Franklin’s appeal to the pilgrims to judge who is the most generous character.


Poet Geoffrey Chaucer was born in 1343 in London, England. He is believed to have attended the St. Paul’s Cathedral School, where he probably first became acquainted with the influential writing of Virgil and Ovid. The evidence of his life is from his career at the court and his diplomatic services. He entered the court really early still as a boy. In 1357, Chaucer became a public servant to Countess Elizabeth of Ulster, the Duke of Clarence’s wife. In 1359, he was captured and imprisoned until the following year. He participated in peace negotiations with France. Undertook a diplomatic missions in Genoa and Florence, which were a powerful stimulus to his literary activities. Because of the issues at the court he left from London, but in 1389 he has been appointed as Clerk of King’s work. He died in 1400 and was buried in Westminster, Abbey. The ‘Canterbury Tales’ is by far Chaucer’s best known and most acclaimed work. Initially Chaucer had planned for each of his characters to tell four stories a piece. The first two stories would be set as the character was on his/her way to Canterbury, and the second two were to take place as the character was heading home. Apparently, Chaucer’s goal of writing 120 stories was an overly ambitious one. In actuality, ‘The Canterbury Tales’ is made up of only 24 tales and rather abruptly ends before its characters even make it to Canterbury. The tales are fragmented and varied in order. The Canterbury Tales continues to be acknowledged for the beautiful rhythm of Chaucer’s language, and his characteristic use of clever, satirical wit.
Other works:
* ‘ The book of the Dutchess’ – dream allegory genre
* ‘ The House of fame’ – dream allegory genre
* ‘ The Parlament of Fowls’ – dream allegory about the meeting of all birds in St. Valentine’s Day to choose their soul mates
* ‘ The legend of a good woman’ – last dream allegory, unfinished collection of tales and the first use of decasyllabic couplets

Pic.1 Geoffrey Chaucer

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