Pride And Redemption In A Tale Tales And Geoffrey Chaucer's Tale

1780 Words 8 Pages
There is always a desire as a reader to be able to identify a hidden meaning in a tale or story, especially middle English literature. Geoffrey Chaucer and John Gower were two famous authors of that time and conveniently wrote tales that seem to relate to each other in many ways, and are opposite in many ways as well. Both tales have knights being asked to make a choice, one that will affect their knighthood as well as their future. Both tales have an old hag challenging the morals of the knights, but only one tale seems to have that quintessential fairy tale ending. It makes readers ponder on whether of not this has to do with the morals and the intentions of the authors, or if the different authors simply deemed it more fitting to bring the …show more content…
It is interesting to consider whether the authors are suggesting different morals by how they present their knights. Scholars suggest that in Gower’s tale there is a sort of redemptive evolution in the knight, and this is mirrored by Gowers personal morals. In the academic journal Nephilologus, author Walter S. Phelan writes on the myths and structures in Gowers tale of Floret stating “when Gower selects a story for his collection the tale itself is a stimulus arousing some associations which do not fit squarely into the cultural patterns which inform his whole collection, but rather involve his own personal associative responses”. With this perspective of Gowers writing and intentions it then leads to the question of whether or not the same can be said for Chaucer. Phelan writes, “I predict that the same procedure, applied to Chaucer’s version of the tale…revealing Chaucer’s personal associative responses”. With this information from scholars it is my conclusion that with the evident differences in Gower and Chaucer’s knights that the violations of the different authors should not be over looked. Gowers knight is sent on his quest to find what women most desire to escape his death sentence for killing another knight in battle, whereas Chaucer’s knight is sent on the same quest to escape his death sentence that was put in place by the queen for raping another …show more content…
Mostly Chaucer’s knight raping of a women is considered to be a very unknightly deed, so the question to be answered is why would Chaucer put a type of crime in his Wife of Baths Tale… One idea is the development of the knight as the story goes on. The knight is presented as a prideful young man who is despite to escape a death sentence for his un-chivalric actions. Be that as it may, there is no great character change or evolution seen in the knight. We read in the beginning of the story how the lusty and strong knight rapes a woman. When put on trial with the queen he is asked t to find the answer for what women most desire for his life to be spared. His saving grace is an old hag he oaths his life to before finding out what is the cost of her price. After he is released from his death sentence, the knight tries to beg his way out of marriage to the old hag rather than being faithful to his promise. Once in bed with the old hag he turns away from her in disgust rather than being faithful to his oath to her. In contrast the tale of Floret’s knight’s crime is not as much of a sanction and is significantly humbler about his punishment for his sins. The endings to these tale’s end similarly but one knight seems to be humbled by his experience with the old hag and the other does

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