The story of Januarie's marriage to May and her subsequent infidelity with Damyan allows for not only Chaucer's view of marriage to come through, but also includes the opinions of contemporary writers. Chaucer allows his views to be made known as the narrator and his views could also be said to infiltrate the speeches of the Merchant. Justinus and Placebo's views are also accounted for as the fictional characters also air their opinions on the institution of marriage. In this way, Chaucer has allowed for a fair deal of discussion of marriage.
Chaucer places the character of Januarie in Pavia, which has a reputation for brothels. In this somewhat uncouth place, Januarie is in a self-imposed race against time to find a wife. At 60 years old, Januarie is getting married simply because he feels that he should before he dies and believes that, like St Paul says, to get married purely in order to avoid sin, is perfectly reasonable. Januarie wants a wife of "warm wex" in order to be able to ply her to his own demands and needs. His friends would have liked to have advised Januarie further on his choice of wife, however there was no time. Januarie sees the marriage very much as a business transaction and he uses his friends to scour the land for suitable women as it is a quicker way of finding the best deal.
Like Januarie, Justinus is concerned with the economic ideals of the union. However he does have further concerns as to the age difference that will occur. He soon sees the possibility of infidelity on the wife's part. Unlike Januarie who quite simply requires a pretty face and a weak character, Justinus advises that the woman should have "Mo goode thewes than ...
... middle of paper ...
...nfidelity is wrong. The Merchant says little about the business like manner in which the marriage took place, but has more to say about the untrustworthy nature of women, his cynicism from his own relationships showing through his occasional selections of Biblical references to deceitful women such as Rebecca and Judith. The Tale's own deceitful woman, May, yearns for a more emotional relationship and believes that she finds this with Damyan. However, he holds what appears to be a more typical male view of marriage. It is much more enjoyable to be a bachelor and to have no ties. May's only emotional links with him, such as the letters they exchange, have to be disposed of in the privy. The mercantile, unromantic nature of marriage seems to be prevalent in most men's minds as women cannot be trusted unless perhaps under some kind of bond other than purely spiritual.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Perceptions of Marriage in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales demonstrate many different attitudes toward and perceptions of marriage. Some of these ideas are very traditional, such as that discussed in the Franklin's Tale, and others are more liberal such as the marriages portrayed in the Miller's and the Wife of Bath's Tales. While several of these tales are rather comical, they do indeed give us a representation of the attitudes toward marriage at that time in history.... [tags: Canterbury Tales Essays Chaucer Papers]
1430 words (4.1 pages)
- Morals in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales When Chaucer wrote The Canterbury Tales, he had certain morals in mind. Chaucer usually dealt with one of the seven ?deadly. sins as well. The humorous Miller?s Tale is no exception. The Story is about a carpenter who marries a young beautiful woman who is much younger than him. The moral of the story is revealed in the second paragraph, when Chaucer, through the voice of the miller, notes of the carpenter, ?Being ignorant, he did not know of Cato?s advice that a man should marry a woman similar to him?.... [tags: Papers Chaucer Miller's Tale Essays]
748 words (2.1 pages)
- Passive Women in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. One argument that reigns supreme when considering Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales is whether or not there is an element of anti-feminism within the text. One thread that goes along with this is whether or not the women of The Canterbury Tales are passive within the tales told. This essay will explore the idea that the women found within the tales told by the pilgrims (The Knight’s Tale, The Miller’s Tale and The Wife of Bath’s Tale to name a few) are not passive at all, but rather influence the turn of events within the stories.... [tags: Chaucer Canterbury Tales Women Essays]
1476 words (4.2 pages)
- Effective Use of Menace in The Merchant's Tale Geoffrey Chaucer's "The Merchant's Tale" uses menace to reinforce many of the themes within the Tale and it is present in more areas than simply Januarie. There is menacing imagery adding tension to the Tale and the way in which the Tale is written often reiterates that. Menaces comes through more than plain threat, it is evident in such ideas as Januarie's inappropriate search for a wife. The way in which Januarie bases his search for a wife on concern for his own salvation and economic interests is menacing as it is a foreboding image for the rest of the marriage.... [tags: Merchant's Tale Essays]
792 words (2.3 pages)
- The Canterbury Tales is more than an amusing assortment of stories; it is an illustration of the society in which Geoffrey Chaucer lived. It portrays the culture and class system of the medieval ages in microcosm. Every strata of human life at the time were represented by the many characters whose tales are told. Each character’s basic human nature also plays a role in their stories, and each one has within them the strengths and weaknesses that make up all of humanity. Each character exemplifies their life and reputation through the stories they tell.... [tags: The Canterbury Tales Essays]
1322 words (3.8 pages)
- Comparing the Miller's Tale and the Reeve's Tale In the conclusion between the Miller's Tale and the Reeve's Tale, the Reeve's Tale is far more insulting and malicious and convincingly closer to the true definition of quiting, then the Miller's Tale. The Reeve's Tale defines what trickery and evildoing and cuckolding is. The Miller's Tale is more of a tale dealing with a form of black 'humor and slapstick comedy, rather than a succession of put-downs which occurred in the Reeve's Tale.... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
512 words (1.5 pages)
- In a significant number of his tales Chaucer uses the comic genre of fabliaux, which are short, typically anti-intellectual, indecent tales of bourgeois or low life. The plot usually involves an older husband who is cuckholded by a younger man whom (often) the older man has himself brought into the house, and his often younger wife. The Miller, the Reve, the Merchant and the Wife of Bath all tell tales which are essentially amoral - in fitting with the genre; tales which would not have been acceptable had they been written in an aristocratic setting, but which were accepted as suitable depictions of lower class life.... [tags: European Literature]
1954 words (5.6 pages)
- Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales demonstrate many different attitudes toward and perceptions of marriage. Some of these ideas are more liberal thought such as the marriages portrayed in the Wife of Bath, the Clerk’s and Merchant’s Tales. Then there are those tales that are very traditional, such as that discussed in the Franklin's and the Squire’s tales. And lastly there is a tales of that of the Friar and the Summoner which aren’t really involved with marriage but are in the middle of the marriage group to show the fighting between two men and to prove the Wife of bath right.... [tags: essays research papers]
2642 words (7.5 pages)
- The only two women most significant and described in great detail in The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer who provide the greatest insight into contemporary medieval society are the Wife of Bath and the Prioress. These two women appear similar in the General Prologue of the poem but, as we see through their tales, they are quite unique women and most importantly very different from one another. By examining both the Wife of Bath and the Prioress's tales, we are able to see the stark contrast between their social standards and behavior.... [tags: The Canterbury Tales Essays]
900 words (2.6 pages)
- The Miller's Tale The Miller’s Tale is in the form of fabliaux, which is part of the oral tradition of storytelling, which was very popular among the lower classes in the medieval times. Prominently bawdy and satirizing in content, fabliaux commonly told the story of a bourgeois husband who is cuckolded by his young wife. Fabliaux brings a great contrast to the likes of the courtly love tales such as the Knight’s Tale, thus it reflects Chaucer’s social and literary experience.... [tags: Papers Fabliaux Storytelling]
1113 words (3.2 pages)