Courtly Love In The Handmaid's Tale

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In modern society, general ideas are professed about love and what is acceptable to do while in love with someone. Similarly, around the time period when knights were prominent, there were a group of thirty-one rules that were referred to the rules of courtly love. The rules of courtly love were used as a general guideline to love, determining whether ones love was true or even permitted according to the standards of the time period. Although these rules were considered to exemplify the proper way to love, many characters throughout literature cease to abide by the standards of courtly love. More specifically, the rules of a lover must observe a two-year widowhood after his beloved’s death, a new love bring an old one to a finish and good …show more content…
Once it is declared that his fate is most likely death, the wife goes about her life and begins a new love with another prestigious knight while her husband is trapped within a werewolf body. Because of her decision to hastily acquire another love, she ultimately breaks the established rule concerning her expected widowhood. In the tale, besides the fact that she breaks this rule, she also does not embody the characteristics because she hid the clothes of her husband after he reveals his secret of being a Bisclavret. She does this knowing that his clothes are his only way back to reality and they are vital to his transformation, which does not signify the motives of a true love. The woman in “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” is the quintessence of a character that disregards the rules of courtly love. This woman openly expresses that she has wed five separate men since she was the age of twelve and she even states, “No word of what the number was to be, then why not marry two or even eight?” She goes on to tell the stories of her multiple husbands and after one of them dies she simply bids them …show more content…
This means that if one does not have a good character, then they are not worthy to possess love. Sally Jupiter is an example of a character that disregards this rule and goes after a person who does not personify good character. Sally Jupiter has a love for the Comedian, despite his character. The Comedian does not have good character because he attempts to rape Sally, impregnates a woman during the war and kills her, describes the world using a sadistic joke and overall has little regard to human life. Despite his actions, Sally goes back to the Comedian, after the attempted rape, and has a daughter with him. Sally ultimately breaks the rule concerning a lover with good character. Nicholas, a character from “The Miller’s Tale”, is also a character that breaks this rule of courtly love. Nicholas is a scholar that wishes to win the heart of Alison and devises a plan with her to fool her husband, allowing them to get away with one another. Even though Nicholas wants to love Alison, he is not worthy of her love because of his character. He is a jackanapes in many ways, which is revealed when he grabs Alison by the quim on their first meeting, wants to obtain the love of a married woman and ultimately lies to her husband in order to get away with Alison. On the other hand, Alison breaks this rule because of her character, making

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