Loyalty And Marriage In Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

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Geffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales introduces a group of pilgrims who gather to tell tales as they set forward on a pilgrimage. In the instance of the Wife of Bath many would argue that the Clerk’s Tale is provoked by the Wife’s offensive statements made towards him as he interrupts her tale. She claims that he has strongly prejudices views against women and his tale will only reflect those views. Therefore, the theme of sovereignty in marriage plays a forceful role in both the Clerk’s Tale and the Wife’s prologue, as both explore marital relations in which one gender triumphs over the other. Just as the Wife’s prologue demonstrates that a marriage in which one sex dominates another will eventually be destroyed as the Clerk’s Tale illustrates. Both tales eventually describe how domination and submission interferes in a marriage. Throughout the Clerk’s Tale, Walter’s desire to test Griselde’s loyalty is not condemned; however he does speak about the treatment imposed by an overbearing husband. He claims that the Wife of Bath dedicates her prologue also on the same issue in marriage. The Clerk goes on to describe Walter’s insensitive behavior: “O needles was she tempted in assay! / But wedded men ne knowe no mesure/When that they find a pacient creature.” 1 The…show more content…
Although the Clerk stresses Walter’s mistreatment, he is perhaps the only one who understands Griselde’s strengths as she demonstrate patience. Even more significant than her silence is her demeanor as Walter continues to dominate the marriage. For example, as Walter consistently is testing her devotion, she remains with the same ideals, that his will, is hers: “I have, quod she, “seyd thus and evere shal/ I wol nothing ne nyl nothing certain/ But as yow list” (IV. 645-647). Griselde’s thoughts seem to imply her submissive position in the marriage in order to please

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