Masculinity In The Canterbury Tales

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As a patriarchy, our society denotes men as the dominant group, and as a result, masculinity is intertwined with prestige and power. If men change their values or patterns, then society follows them. Within French nobility, the traditional masculinity of bodily strength, chivalry, and skillfulness was no longer enough to gain prestige and proper reputation. The French elite classes began to emphasize the need for gentlemanly and intellectual pursuits. King Charles the Wise hastened this change through the calculated increase of intellectuals in his court and his emphasis on the arts and learning. While the traditional masculine traits were still prominent, masculinity evolved into a wider, more intellectual mindset, and unfortunately …show more content…
Their military involvement and prowess are both praised, but the knight’s career was given much greater detail than the squire’s. Over half of description of the knight is about his prowess in battle and where he has fought. The squire, in comparison, has only two lines dedicated to his military actions. The squire’s masculinity is an extension of his father’s, but while the son was still focused on battle prowess, he goes past the expectation of the being a good knight towards the pursuit of the arts. The squire “could make songs and words …, Joust, and dance too, as well as sketch and write” (95-96). Furthermore, the squire and his generation were more concerned with their appearance, and garments became more extravagant and colorful, as shown by the squire’s embroidered gown. In contrast, the knight wore “a tunic of simple cloth” (Chaucer 75) stained by his journeys. The squire is praised for his beauty and his hair, while the knight’s looks are not even mentioned outside of his humble clothes. The squire still put emphasis on his eventual career, but his artistic talents of singing and writing outshined his goal of …show more content…
In her poem titled “The Letter of the God of Love”, Pizan defends women against clerks who write accusations against women and who put women in a negative light. The poem was partly a reaction to the popular acceptance of the slandering of women in the continuation of “The Romance of the Rose” by Jean de Meung and the Roman poet Ovid’s Art of Love. In Pizan’s poem, it is mentioned that certain men “lay blame to [women], composing tales in rhyme, in prose, in verse, in which they scorn their ways with words diverse” (Pizan 146-147). The two authors and other clerks falsely claim that women are “treacherous”, “false”, and “faithless” (147). According to Pizan, Ovid and Jean de Meung wrote entire pieces of literature dedicated to how men should trick women into loving them while not reciprocating the feeling of love. Pizan argues against their points by stating the ridiculousness of it because if women are “the fickle, foolish faithless lot that certain clerks maintain they are, then why must men pursuing them resort to schemes, to clever subterfuge, and trickery“

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