Interconnections between Characters in the Canterbury Tales
There are numerous inter-connections between tales in The Canterbury Tales. There are also interconnections between characters across tales in the book. This could be attributed to the fact that there are themes that the author seeks to address in the book. These themes run throughout the book and are brought out by different characters within the book. Thus, whereas it may seem that there are interconnections between tales and characters within the book, it is part of a wider plot by Chaucer to bring out certain themes within the book. This paper explores some of the inter-connections between tales and characters within the book.
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer is one of the most complicated and extraordinary pieces of fictional art of its time. The story revolves around thirty pilgrims journeying to Becket’s Canterbury shrine. On their way, the pilgrims hold a contest of narrating tales with moral lessons for the rest of the pilgrims to draw. The person whose tale is judged to be the best is going to win a prize. The rest of the group will also benefit from the free entertainment provided. Thus The Canterbury Tales are not tales intended purely for entertainment purposes, there is a moral lesson to every story.
The youthful wife in Miller’s tale is very similar to the Wife of Bath in many aspects even as much as they appear to be very different in the in the beginning. The two women bring out the beliefs that are viewed as anti feminine in both tales in the time that Canterbury Tales were written by Chaucer although this is brought out in different ways. In Miller’s Tale, Alison the young wife has lots of passion for other men apart from her own husband. The Wife of Bath on the other hand has no shame whatsoever in displaying her multiple marriages. The Wife of Bath and Alison seem very different in the public view, they are completely similar inside.
The Miller’s Tale gives a hint in the beginning that things are not as they seem, Alison is described as a weasel in the beginning, in this it is implied that Alison can sleep with anyone other than her husband and it would not bother her in any way. Alison’s character is brought out as one who does not mind about her infidelity acts in the start of the tale but in the end she does not commit adultery with Nicholas but with only one man. Alison does not agree to every man who shows in her, Absolon for instance who is absolutely infatuated by Alison is totally dismissed and she further treats him very badly to dismiss him completely. This is brought out to show the reader that she is not who she is portrayed to be in the beginning of the tale.
The wife of Bath is not portrayed as an upstanding woman in the public eyes. She lets the public know that she has 5 husbands’ previously when she speaks to her audience and that she is looking forward to getting a sixth one soon. This is taken very negatively by the audience and is taken as something that is not accepted in their society. She goes ahead and tells the audience that the main reason why she marries is to get money. The Wife of Bath further tells the audience that she never value her husbands love as long as they were married since all she always wanted was his money and was content with the money. She proudly states the fact that she is proud of the fact that her husband used to feed from her own palms.
The wife of Bath tells her audience out rightly that she is not alone in what she does that all women do the same thing only that they do not come out and say as she had and they do not show it to the public. In her opinion, she told the audience that women are able to lie twice more than men as long as what they know what they are defending is good for them. She also told them that women are capable of victimizing their husband’s and taking advantage of them to a great extent especially those women who are ugly. She also explained that women usually control most of the factors in their marriage hence their ability to control their husband’s money. She told them that women mostly marry for money and if not for money they marry for sex since money and sex are the main attraction for women to get into marriage and without them they walk out. If money lacks in the marriage even sex will not be possible hence money being the most important thing in every marriage she explained.
The Wife of Bath explained that all women act like she does and they ought to act so or they will act that way in the near future no matter what. Alison in the tale hid her evil motives in the illusion of being whole while the Wife of Bath made all her life to be known to everyone. The Wife of Bath seemed to encourage all women to act as she does. Alison and The Wife of Bath are different when it comes to the public but in private they are totally similar in all ways.
The Tale of the wife of Bath and the Miller’s Tale seem to be in agreement concerning anti-feminist beliefs that prevailed in the mid ages. Both women in these two tales have disregard for their husbands. Alison, the woman in the Miller’s Tale, does not have respect for her husband. She commits adultery without caring about how her actions could affect their relationship. The Wife of bath on the other hand sees her numerous husbands as sources of money. The wife of Bath does not marry for anything else but money. Her disregard for men is also not just limited to drawing money for them, she also cheats on her husband. The Miller’s tale and the tale of the wife of Bath portray women as stubborn, deceitful and conniving. Women are also portrayed as promiscuous. They cannot get enough from their husbands and have to seek sexual gratification from other men which is hardly enough.
The reasons discussed above show close similarities between the wife of Bath’s tale and the Miller’s tale. Despite the fact that the experiences that bring out the similarities are markedly different, the effects of these experiences bring out common themes among the tales. One of the underlying themes brought out by the two tales is the roles that men and women played in society in the middle ages.
There is also a connection between the Miller’s tale, the tale of the wife of Bath and the Knight’s tale. The connection among these three tales is the role of women in society. The Knight’s Tale is one of courtliness and good moral behavior. However, under the surface there is a strong theme of evil women. The main character in the Knight’s Tale, Emily, captures and manipulates the hearts of unsuspecting young men. Once they are under her control, she manipulates them in a similar manner to the manipulation done by the women in the Miller’s tale and the tale of the wife of Bath.
The Wife of Bath’s tale and the Pardoner’s tale are not only the two most entertaining and morals lade tales within the book. Both stories as mentioned bring out the theme of morality in. Morality in the Wife of Bath’s tale is expressed through the goodness of the lowly or downtrodden in society. Towards the end of the tale, there is a clash between the protagonist and the antagonist of the story. It is only when the knight and the old woman come face to face that we clearly get the message of the wife of Bath. She teaches that gentleness does not come with one’s class but rather is a virtue that one consciously chooses to pursue. The wife goes further to say that class is earned and not something that one is born with. Despite the questionable character of the wife, she has some moral lesson to impart which she does quite well.
The wife comes out as an intelligent woman when talking about the sensibilities of her time. According to her, there are many reasons why it is better to be poor than to be rich. She gives an example of the Christian faith where God, who is the most powerful, lived a life of poverty while on earth.
The Pardoner’s Tale is also not short of moral lessons. The moral stance of this tale is that money is the root of all evil. The greed for money leads to a lot of ills among them two homicides. The Pardoner’s Tale is also quite entertaining. Irony is used in the tale to bring out humor. Upon stumbling on gold, the three men who find it are told by their leader that the treasure belongs to the trio referring to them as chaps. The irony is that the word chaps in the story is not used to mean that they are friends but rather the term refers to jaw bones. Unknown to the group, their leader is already planning to kill them and keep the wealth all to himself.
The pardoner also gives the story of three men who were looking for a man named death. In their search, the three men fin gold. One would not associate gold with death or anything sinister. Gold is instead associated with wealth, and a good life. However, the three men ironically meet their death as a result of the discovery of the gold. The three men meet the death that they have been searching from the beginning through the discovery of the gold.
The two tales have tragedies in common. Amid the tragedies, Chaucer manages to paint a picture of hope. For instance in the tale of the Wife’s Bath, the Knight gets away scot free with rape. This to a great extent is an injustice in the eyes of the reader.
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