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attitudes of marriage in chaucers the canterbury tales

Chaucers The Canterbury Tales, demonstrate many different attitudes and perceptions Some of these ideas are very traditional, such as that illustrated in the Franklins Tale. On the other hand, other tales present a liberal view, such as the marriages portrayed in the Millers and The Wife of Baths tales. While several of these tales are rather comical, they do indeed depict the attitudes towards marriage at that time in history. D.W. Robertson, Jr. calls marriage "the solution to the problem of love, the force which directs the will which is in turn the source of moral action" (Robertson, 88). "Marriage in Chaucers time meant a union between spirit and flesh and was thus part of the marriage between Christ and the Church" (Bennett, 113). The Canterbury Tales show many abuses of this sacred bond, as will be discussed below.One example of corruption in marriage is The Millers Tale. This tale includes a lecherous clerk, a vain clerk, and an old man entangled in a web of deceit and adultery construed by a married women. It is obvious in this story that almost each of these characters show complete disregard to the institution of marriage. The two men, Nicholas and Absalon, both try to engage in adulterous affairs with Alison, the old mans wife. Both of the men are guilty of trying to seduce Alison, which shows their indifference towards the sanctions and laws of marriage. Still Alison, who should be the wiser, also breaks the laws of marriage. She takes Nicholas because she wants to, just as she ignores Absalon because she wants to. Lines 104-109 of the Millers Tale show Alisons blatant disrespect for her marriage to "Old John" and her planned deceit:"That she hir love hym graunted atte laste,And swoor hir ooth, by seint Thomas of KentThat she wol been at his commandment,Whan that she may hir leyser wel espie.Myn housbonde is so ful of jalousieThat but ye wayte wel and been privee"On the contrary, Alisons husband loved her mo...

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