Symkyn's Sexuality In Chaucer

1834 Words 8 Pages
Further in the tale poet Chaucer damages Symkyn’s dream of passing on this noble lineage when Aleyn takes Malyne’s virginity. From their initial meeting Symkyn already has a preconceived notion about the scholars and their lack of noble status believing they are poor because they receive no financial support from the college (Benson 850). In other words, Symkyn does not care about the fact that his daughter actually had sex but it’s who she had it with that angers Symkyn the most (852). After Symkyn’s discovery of Malyne’s sexual acts his reaction is not to inquire about the well-being of his daughter, instead he only cares about the fact that a lower class citizen had the nerve to take Malyne’s virginity, “Who dorste be so boold to disparage …show more content…
Her grandfather, the town parson, is in control of her future which delights Symkyn. The parson expects only the best for Malyne regardless of how she feels, “In purpos was to maken hire his heir, / Bothe of his catel and his mesuage, / And straunge he made it of hir marriage” (Chaucer 3978-3980). Malyne has no say in who she marries since her grandfather is making the decisions for her by dictating the path her future will take. His vision for her is how Malyne’s problems initially begin. Since lineage is so important to the parson and Symkyn, it makes her an obvious target. If the parson or Symkyn happens to offend anyone or act dishonestly the best revenge is to go after Malyne or Symkyn’s wife. Therefore, if Malyne’s grandfather had not taken such measures to place such high value on Malyne’s future, she would not be placed in this compromising situation. Plummer argues this point further, “The grandfather’s blessing has in effect become a curse…so that the most guilty party, the parson, suffers least, and the least guilty party suffers most” (57). The blame for Malyne’s unfortunate circumstances lays on her grandfather, the parson, and her father, Symkyn. This unofficially grants Aleyn the ability to debase her in order to seek retribution for Symkyn’s illegal act. These two separate situations of ownership, the parson and Symkyn, show how Malyne does not control her own life or have a voice further …show more content…
Malyne says goodbye to Aleyn as if she were talking to a lover, “‘Now, deere lemman,’ quod she, ‘go, far weel!’” (Chaucer 4240). This poses the question as to whether or not Malyne was sexually active in the past. Kohanski confronts Chaucer’s decision to leave this information out, “It would have been an easy matter for Chaucer to make some remark on Malyne’s sexual habits outright, had he wanted to…But he does not…and leaves the burden of interpretation on the reader” (230). In other words, it is the readers’ decision to figure out if Malyne’s maidenhood was intact prior to her encounter with Aleyn. In reference to Symkyn’s wife, she is apparently enjoying her time with John, “So myrie a fit ne hadde she nat ful yore” (4230). Regardless of Chaucer’s plot choices, by removing the question as to whether or not consent was given, their wishes or desires are not taken into consideration. The scholar’s intention throughout this entire experience is to recoup what was taken from them, “For, John, ther is a lawe that says thus: / That gif a man in a point be agreved, / That in another he sal be releved” (4180-4182). Allman and Hanks Jr. explain, “The Reeve’s postulation of sexual intercourse as a perfect instrument of revenge is proved, if not

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