Theme Of Payback In The Prioress's Tale

1972 Words 8 Pages
Mae Corrigan
Mrs. Jacomme
Honors British Literature Period 8
23 November 2015
“Payback Appearing in The Canterbury Tales”
The reoccurring theme of payback is forever present throughout literature. In The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, there are multiple examples of vengeance and retaliation. Chaucer creates a frame story as twenty-nine pilgrims start their journey to the shrine of Saint Thomas á Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. A story telling competition commences between the pilgrims, and the reader is introduced to tales of romance, love, sorrow, and vulgarity. It is within these winding tales and the hectic pilgrimage that we witness payback through violence, lustful acts, money exchange, and the wishes of God.
The Knight, the most
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A young Christian boy sings O Alma Redemptoris, praising the Virgin Mary as he is walking through a Jewish town. Stan convinces the Jewish people that this young boy is disgracing their religion and that they need to kill him. They hire a ruthless murder that slits the throat of the young boy and carelessly tosses him into a privy drain. The boy 's mother is unable to find her son until Jesus points her towards his whereabouts and she hears him singing O Alma Redemptoris. Upon the discovery of the young suffering boy, the provost of the city orders all Jews to be hanged stating, “Evils shall meet the evils they deserve.” (175). Revenge is cast upon the Jews for the gruesome violence they had cast upon the young boy for singing a song praising the Virgin Mary. The child is named a martyr of the Christian faith and is buried in a marble …show more content…
Upon Melibee’s absence, his daughter has been brutally beaten by three men. Now, he is debating whether to fight violence with violence or to act in a different way. Dame Prudence, his wife, urges him to forgive the criminals when they are captured and returned before Melibee. “His enemies then return before Melibee, who forgives them utterly, but not before he has rebuked them severely and pointed out his own magnanimity. This is perhaps the only point he scores.” (186). Payback and revenge is not presented in this tale, the character chose a higher road to justice.
The Canterbury Tales constantly poses the question of morality, right and wrong. Throughout tales of affection, vulgarity, and grief the reader witnesses pay back. The famous quote, “An eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth,” describes the retaliation and revenge in The Canterbury Tales. Payback is also present during the pilgrimage to Canterbury. Throughout the novel immoral deeds and decisions most often receive pay back and rightfully earn it. As Chaucer has displayed, the significance of vengeance and retributions for one’s actions is that one will always get what is

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