Such sorwe this lady to her took
That trewely I, which made this book,
Had swich pite and swich rowthe
To rede hir sorwe, that, by my trowthe,
I ferde the worse al the morwe
After, to thenken on her sorwe (95-100).
On line 13 "Always in point to falle a-doun" the narrator's delirium obviously mirrored Alcyone's swoon following her prayers "And fil a-swown as cold as stone" (123). Both the narrator and Alcyone bargained with pagan deities for rest, and within the dream both failed to recognize what the reader already knew: that a missing spouse was dead. The knight was also similar to Alcyone. His story, that of a faithful, grieving spouse was essentially the same as Alcyone's.
From the narrator's first description, the knight was immediately put in the role of courtly lover and poet. In that role he was physically "Of good mochel, and young therto, Of the age of four and twenty yeer, upon his berde but little heer" (454-56) and mentally- illustrated by his gentile manners and passive approach to the narrator- "He sayde, `I prey thee, be not wrooth, I herde thee not" (519-20) feminized. The initial voyeuristic "soothe to say he saw me nought" (460) meeting in the forest between the narrator and the knight was very interesting in light of the class discussion regarding what to do if you find a maid in the forest. What was Chaucer saying by placing the very feminine young boy alone in a very unmanly situation? Which brings to mind another question: How does the courtly lover evolve into a noble, benevolent husband?
After the knight firmly di...
... middle of paper ...
...f servitude "Al this I putte in his servage... And worship to my lady dere, `And this was longe, and many a yeer'" (769, 74-75). Similarly, John of Gaunt would have been, by the death of his Blanch, freed of certain responsibilities. Chaucer may have intended to offer consolation not because of the woman death but through her death, that is, death served to restabilize and delineate the role of the sexes. Clearly Chaucer's message was that effeminizing behavior did not become men; there was the hunt to rejoin "And with that worde, right anoon, They gan to strake forth" (1311-12), the steed to be mounted "This king gan quickly hoomward for to ryde" (1314-15), and the home to be returned to "A long castel with walles white" (1318). As dutifully as Alcyone died, the male characters, as well as John of Gaunt, were to dutifully carry on the divine gift of manhood.
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