Theme Of Payback In The Canterbury Tales

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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He remarks, “This drunken Miller we’ve had so much drool of,/ Told how a carpenter was made a fool of,/ Maybe to score off me, for I am one./ By y’r leave, I’ll pay him back before I’ve done In his own filthy words, you may expec’,” (108). The Reeve is heated and cross because the Miller chose to tell a story in which a carpenter is humiliated. Having formerly been a carpenter, the Reeve interprets this as an attack on his profession, and prepares to take-down the Miller. Also a fabliaux, the Reeve’s tale is just as distasteful and vulgar as the Miller’s tale. It is a revenge drama in which two clerks attempt to avenge the illegal deeds of Simpkin, a Miller. The Miller is a dishonest thief, who cheats the master of Cambridge shamelessly of corn and meal brought to him for grinding. The master falls deathly ill, and John and Alan, two students beg to go and teach the deceitful Miller a …show more content…
With Constance as a devout follower of God, the Sultan and his subjects had to convert to Christianity from Islam before he could marry her. The Sultaness, the Sultan 's mother, resolves that she would rather die than give up her religion. She states, “And I shall have a banquet organized/To pay the Sultan out, if he should touch.” (132). The Sultaness and her councilors to feign their baptism and slay the Christians at the wedding feast to pay back her traitor son for abandoning their religion. Lady Constance is left unscathed and is cast out upon the sea. The next example of revenge occurs when Constance denies the young knight’s advances and flirts. The young knight is then influenced by Satan to cruelly slit the throat of Hermengild and to place the knife in Constance’s bed, as to frame her for vengeance. As the young knight takes an oath, swearing that Constance was the murderer, God takes action on his sinfulness. The moment the young knight wrongfully swears the guilt of Constance, he is struck dead. A voice from above states, “Thou hast defamed the innocent and meek,/A daughter of the Church, before the King;/Thus hast thou done, and yet I did not speak.” (142). The young knight receives payback from the hands of

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