Examining The Clash Between Divergent Values English Literature Essay Free Essay

There is no inquiry that contradictory values make up a major constituent of The Canterbury Tales. Fate vs. Fortuna, cognition vs. experience and love vs. detest all embody Chaucer ‘s celebrated work. These contrasting subjects are an built-in portion of the complexness and edification of the book, as they provide for an dry scene to the originative secret plan development and undermine the superficial premises that might be made. The combination of wholly contradictory motives leads to the unusual narratives and results that come to play out in the narratives. These results draw focal point on the larger cosmopolitan issues that in many instances transcend the clip difference between modern times and when the narratives were written. That is the kernel and success of the narratives ; their subjects are cosmopolitan and their sarcasm is still applicable today.

His small pharynx and cast him in a pit/ I say/ into a privy-drain ( Chaucer 190 ) . While most would hold that this narrative represents a love vs. hatred contrast, modern-day bookmans and authors conflict over the exact nature of the Prioress ‘s relationship to the hatred that her tale speaks on. In the argument, a figure of different options have emerged. Some, like mediaeval writer Paul Ruggiers, argue that it is impossible to find the Prioress ‘s attitude and that, “ we must be satisfied with ambiguity. ” Others like author Victoria Wickham argue the most popular belief, that the Prioress? s dogmatism is without inquiry and readers should be more concerned about the grade instead than the fact itself. But there is another possibility. Edwards and Spector, two outstanding medieval bookmans, put aside the issue of racism temporarily and alternatively offer an alternate reading on the very nature of Chaucer ‘s love-hate contradiction in the Prioress ‘s narrative. They argue that the love vs. hatred contradiction is non dependent on outside forces, but is really an internal struggle within the Prioress herself. Consequently, the persons and subsequent groups in her narrative are non specific characters but culturally influenced manifestations stand foring separate issues. In this manner her personality becomes the fable of her narrative, doing specific mentions within her narrative irrelevant to her true attitude.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

In my sentiment, popular attitudes on the nature of the love-hate contradiction in the Prioress ‘s narrative are incorrect ; Edwards and Stevens help turn out this. Rather than sing the most obvious stand-alone factors of love and hatred in the narrative, specifically the description of the Prioress and her affinity for Christianity vs. the evil association and actions of the “ Jewry ” critical readers and bookmans should see the elements which straight connect the two really different subjects. There is nil incorrect with close analysis of the Prioress, but utilizing it as an component of love and comparing it to a separate and wholly unrelated component in the narrative is unlogical and inconsistent with Chaucer ‘s other love vs. hatred illustrations. Ultimately, this 2nd analysis or “ re-analysis ” besides proves the Prioress inexperienced person of racism which becomes inappropriate to her existent feelings. And the entire merchandise becomes the true love-hate contradiction in the Prioress ‘s Tale.

In footings of the historical context for literature provisioning the love-hate contradiction, there are many illustrations in history get downing with Genesis 9:6: “ Whoso sheddeth adult male ‘s blood, by adult male shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he adult male. ” The transition is a disapprobation of slaying, an inevitable side-effect of hatred. The relationship appears once more in Plato ‘s duologues and Aristotle ‘s Rhetoric ( book 2 chapter 13 ) . Post-Chaucer, Shakespeare utilized the subject throughout his authorship, including Romeo and Juliet, Othello and others, with the whole secret plan go arounding around a love-hate contradiction

Of class Chaucer is besides non a dabbler to the love-hate contradiction and it can be found in many of his ain narratives. The relationships of the Wife of Bath, the characters of the Clerk? s Tale and the hapless terminal to the Summoner in the Friar? s Tale all demonstrate forms of love and hatred. Each illustration of the relationship in Chaucer? s work has a similar construction. In The Knight? s Tale for illustration, hatred is manifest through Arcite and Palamon, who in this instance direct it at each other. And love is besides manifest through Arcite in Palamon, each directing it toward Emily.

? To love my lady, whom I love and serve

And of all time shall, till decease cut my bosom? s service

No, false Arcite! That you shall ne’er make!

I love her first and told me fried to you ( Chaucer 50 ) . ?

In the Miller? s narrative, hatred is directed at Absalon by Alison but meanwhile Absalon loves Alison. In every state of affairs, love and detest are non based on random aspects of the narrative ; they each are logically connected through a relevant intermediary, such as a chief character or topic.

This of import facet is exactly what is neglected by traditional analysis of the Prioress? s narrative. There is no logical connexion for the Prioress? s hatred of the Jews. Her ain General Prologue description shows her to be sort and gentle. Even in the face of Chaucer? s irony of her mode, there is still no ground or account as to why she should detest Judaic people. One might reason that her intense devotedness to Christianity might convey her to the point of hatred at those who have different beliefs. but once more, her ain description demonstrates that she is less spiritual than blue: ? Her facial characteristics are stereotyped blue 1s ; the prayer beads of coral with green bangle which she wears about her arm is a ladylike adornment? ( Howard 99 ) ? There could be an limitless figure of fanciful grounds why she should detest Jews, but there is no logical connexion made in the narrative to back up it and is merely non consistent with Chaucer? s other plants. There is clearly a lack in the love-hate contradiction of the Prioress? s narrative.

It might be argued that there is already a connexion between love and hatred in the Prioress? s narrative. If the Prioress herself is ignored all together and the focal point is placed on the male child, than it seems like there should be a relationship. But while this may be true, such a focal point would be useless in seeking to spot the ambiguities and contradictions within the Prioress, who is a cryptic character.

What is precisely the definition of the Prioress? s personality? In order to understand her it is of import to look at the spiritual life style in the Middle Ages. In mediaeval society, adult females were forced to either marry or fall in a convent. Those who sought a echt religious connexion, those who wanted the quiet life style and those who wanted an instruction when few had the option would fall in a convent. The Abbess most likely joined for grounds other than personal penchant as it seems clear that she does non bask the spiritual life style. The lady, who walks with an cortege, nowadayss good manners, attentions for animate beings which are out to nuns and holds a doubtful Gallic speech pattern seems to be the topic of changeless ambiguity. ? ? her storybook eyes and nose and her smiling, ? simple and coy, ? topped by the visibly high brow, her careful attending to dress, obsessed with cleanliness, her pleated wimple, her fancy beads? ( Ruggiers 75 ) ? Initially, she seems to be a animal of genteel immaculateness, yet clearly there is some room for reading on Chaucer? s exact purposes. The Prioress? s jewellery nowadayss one such interesting ambiguity: ? Most questionable of all is her broach. If munificent and dearly-won vesture was forbidden to the nun, all the more was jewellery ( Hallissy 3 ) . ? Possibly the most important or at least celebrated accoutrement is her broach with the words, ? Amor Vincit Omnia, ? or? Love Conquers All. ? The inquiry of whether it refers to a religious love or an Earthly love seems to strike at the bosom of the Prioress? s ambiguity. She conflicts in her responsibilities as a nun and her desires as a individual. While there is disagreement among bookmans about the of import particular inside informations, most agree on at least two points about her general description. First, she is described as guiltless or naA?ve in respects to secular affairs: ? The Prioress tells a narrative which she believes is idealistic-she is certain she is stating a narrative about artlessness and pureness and doesn? Ts have any impression that her sentimental legenda involves a barbarous persecution which the church had, at least officially, condemned ( Howard 270 ) . ? Second, she is socially witting and presents an air of self-respect. Such self-respect is discernible in the prologue to her narrative where she attempts to do up for the calumniatory debasement of the Monk and subsequent spiritual figures in the Shipman? s Tale. In making so she preserves that component of self-respect which is a strong portion of her character and gives the reader further apprehension of the devotedness and scruples which pervade her personality. She tries to justify the spiritual life style, tarnished by some of the pilgrims? narratives and the Host? s amusing aversion toward monastics.

? ? and what? s more

Into his married woman? s goon excessively! Well, close your door

Against all monastics! ( Chaucer 186 ) ?

Her societal scruples is represented through the blue character of her characteristics and manner. More over, Chaucer helps construct this image by utilizing linguistic communication to propose that the Friar is to the Monk and Prioress, as the Squire would be to the Knight. It is no accident that Chaucer uses the same phrase for both Squire and Friar, ? Curteis he was and lowly of servis. ? The Prioress accepts her higher position with self-respect and religion.

The last point about the general description of the Prioress, sing her maternal nature, has been capable to strong argument. Many bookmans and most popular sentiment are in favour of the thought that she seems to incarnate the qualities of maternity through the illustrations of her nurturing and caring for little animate beings. This theory has a batch of endorsing behind it since even her narrative focuses on a immature male child being cared for by the Virgin Mary. Prominent Chaucerian bookman Paul E Beichner wrote in 1979, ? ? by intrusting simple piousnesss to a kid, be arousing the extreme poignancy from the spectacle of a bereft female parent, Chaucer corroborates at one and the same clip our dimly felt strong beliefs about religious and domestic dealingss ( Beichner 157 ) . ? The suggestion being that the Prioress? s given maternal features provide for extra symbolism that Chaucer would hold of course sought to further prosecute the reader. But while this would certainly be on the degree of Chaucer? s sophisticated poetry, it may non needfully be the right option. The? Thwarted Motherhood Theory, ? seems to give merely a partial reply, establishing its support merely on the Prioress? s affinity for little kids and animate beings. Yet one important component is losing, as Edwards and Spector note: ? For in her supplication, the Prioress decidedly adopts the perspective non of a female parent, but of a kid, with maternity relegated to the fostering Virgin Mother, whose counsel and strength Eglentine beseeches ( Edwards, Spector 220 ) . ? As the writers go on to state, analyzing the supplication at the beginning of her narrative reconciles the reverses in the Prioress? s description. The confusing ambiguities of the Prioress can be understood under this new visible radiation of the kid relationship, instead than maternal. The Prioress represents herself as the kid in her narrative. The new theory reveals the Abbess to be urgently seeking for counsel to assist her balance the religious vs. the Earthly love that equivocally plagues her image. In this hunt, she calls out to the Virgin Mary for aid, as seen in her supplication. The strength of this statement lies in the fact that it is straight corroborated by the Prioress? s ain words in the supplication. By correlating her General Prologue to the narrative, a more complete image can be envisioned.

A common expostulation made by Chaucerian bookmans is that to take such a place requires that one combine both the General Prologue and the narrative itself, something many believe to be incorrect. This option seems counter-intuitive ab initio, but does hold some cogency as put Forth by John Lawlor who thought that without dividing the narrative from the prologue we will: ? view sullenly any essay into that commonest of medieval manners, the hapless ( Lawlor 131 ) . ? Basically, Lawlor believes that it is necessary to divide the narrative from the prologue in order to take any contemporary biass from impacting the reading of either one. But Lawlor? s attack besides does non let the reader to see the big-picture, something perfectly important when reexamining the Prioress? s narrative. As Edward Kelly describes: ? in order to more to the full appreciate the poet? s art of creative activity, it is necessary to see the description in the General Prologue as artistically functional in understanding the narrative ( Edwards, Spector 219 ) . ? Sing the wide range of the Prioress? s narrative, it seems that Kelly? s attack of uniting the General Prologue and Tale is most advantageous.

Having discussed the relationship of love vs. hatred and the Prioress? s General Prologue connexion to her narrative, the inquiry of how one can accommodate the ferociousness of the narrative itself still remains. The love-hate contrast as presented in the Prioress? s narrative has been redefined, with the Prioress as the kid, but its exact nature has non been. With regard to the new decisions, how does the love-hate contradiction play out?

If one is willing to accept that the Prioress embodies the spirit of the kid in her narrative and that a love-hate relationship must use an intermediary that is relevant to the description, than it follows that the true love-hate contrast applies to the Prioress merely. Edwards and Spector point to the last stanza of her initial supplication:

? ? But as a kid of twelf month oold, or lesse,

Than kan unnethes any word expresse,

Ryght so menu I, and hence I yow preye

Gydeth my vocal that I shal of yow seye ( Chaucer 187 ) . ?

Here the Prioress associates herself with a kid, puting herself at the clemency of the Virgin Mary. ? The simple, faithful kid becomes the depository of her ain simple, childlike religion ( Edwards, Spector 221 ) . ? Both the nun and the kid portion many similar features. They both develop a strong devotedness to Mary and see ardor as a replacement for any important apprehension. The nun? s exposure comes through on the kid every bit good. The Prioress references her? childlike? failing in prolonging her vocal, which becomes manifest on the male child when his pharynx is cut and he can non sing. Eglentine prays that the virgin will assist steer her vocal, merely as she does with the immature male child in the narrative. Even the intervention of the male child? s organic structure recalls the Prioress who is obsessed with cleanliness. It was non random that Chaucer had the male child tossed into a cloaca, stand foring licking at the custodies of the forces of befoulment and foulness, precisely what the Prioress despises most.

However, the issue of the Prioress Tale? s dogmatism is still unsolved. D.W. Robertson, writer of A Preface to Chaucer, suggests that the narrative, like much of the portrayal, returns by an anticlimax. It raises the outlooks of the reader by mentioning to scruples, charity and commiseration, and so descends into the antonym, through elusive sarcasm in the prologue and flooring lewdness in the narrative. The reader is non ready for the dogmatism in her narrative after reading the General Prologue. Alternatively, the Prioress is described as guiltless, loving and child-like. In her narrative, nevertheless, it still seems as if she implicitly approves of the Acts of the Apostless of anguish directed against the Jews. Why else would they be portrayed as immorality? Such a job requires a reappraisal of the context in which the narrative was written.

It is more than merely interesting that early twentieth century critics did non even advert the Jews when looking at the Prioress? s Tale. Before the holocaust there was really small attending paid on the Jews in the narrative. Sing how people felt in the early portion of this century, it seems difficult to believe that Chaucer felt any otherwise. Albert Friedman, writer of, The Prioress? s Tale and Chaucer? s Anti-semitism, believes that it is foolish to anticipate Chaucer to hold been above the narrow beliefs of his age when broadmindedness was even impossible 500 old ages subsequently. Hebrews were resented for their advantages in money loaning operations and control of huge sums of capital as feudal-loyalty was transforming into money as a agency of commanding land. After a series of differences, including the slaughter of 150 Judaic persons over a difference over Judaic admittance rights to certain events, they were eventually expelled from England in 1290. However, as described by Chaucerian bookman Jill Mann, a general hostility toward Jews in the medieval ages is oversimplified ; there were in fact many cases, as documented and verified by outstanding Judaic historiographers where common cooperation did occur. It is difficult to spot whether Chaucer was truly a bigot or non since narrations are told from changing positions and are full of sarcasm that cloud the writer? s original purposes. The lone manner to find Chaucer? s place on such a hard issue would be to analyze his personal life and without farther certification that would be impossible. However, to merely state that the Prioress engages in ill will toward Jews ignores the context in which that intolerance appears in her narrative and its map.

Basically, Jews in the narrative are non some targeted? bad-guys? as they would look to be in isolation.

? First of our enemies, the Serpent Satan shook

Those Judaic Black Marias that are his bristly nest,

Swelled up and said. ? O Hebrew people look ( Chaucer 190 ) . ?

Rather, by incarnating menaces to a kid? s artlessness, vernal immaculateness and

religion, the Jews are made to breed the really qualities despised by the Prioress. Consequently, they are representatives of religious and physical discoloration. The Abbess expresses her repulsive force for such things by utilizing the Jews, a convenient whipping boy at the clip, but non needfully assailing them specifically. Since the love-hate relationship is an allegorical connexion to the kid in the Prioress? s narrative, there can be no specific characters or groups. Everything serves as a representation of a wider issue. The immature male child being murdered and discarded in a cloaca does non stand as an onslaught on Jews, but as an onslaught on the values of cleanliness which the Prioress espouses. In a sense, the theory proposed by Edwards and Spector builds up the narrative to go more of a dream for the Prioress.

Some might reason that despite the re-analysis of the subjects of the narrative, the really fact that the Prioress uses the Jews, irrespective of their representation, as items of immorality ; she must be inherently prejudice. But that argument proves weak against an correspondent state of affairs in which a individual dreams of some violent act. This does non turn out that the dreamer is, in fact violent. Alternatively, the act stands more likely to stand for thought or struggle instead than a specific sort.

This in bend reveals the mirror-like facet of the Prioress? s narrative. The sentiment which she showers on the male child, this thought of loving approbation to a character which embodies many of her ain qualities is in the terminal, a love for ego. Such a decision is consistent with the thought that the male child represents the Prioress. Therefore her love can be said to be misdirected, further stressing her contradictory nature. Yet many of the personality ambiguities have been settled, go forthing merely the cardinal Chaucerian application of love vs. hatred. The connection of both personal and religious love creates congruity from the ambiguity seen in the General Prologue and it shows Chaucer? s superb submerging of the adult female within the spiritual figure. In consequence, the Prioress has her ain existent qualities vindicated by holding Mary reward the kid in her narrative, and in making so, herself every bit good. Mary? s love, when associated with the Prioress, redeems the nun. And here emerges the love-hate contradiction in the Prioress? s narrative ; a love for ego, contrasted with a hatred or fright of the loss of self-respect and artlessness, the really values which are most obvious from the General Prologue.

Looking at how Chaucer? s value contradiction of love vs. hatred speaks to the larger issue of humanity, it seems to stand for the internal battle within all people to accommodate the utmost polarized facets of personality. Under this visible radiation, the Prioress? s ambiguities are non so unusual. We all embody a similar struggle between our desires and our disfavors and this changeless battle to get the better of enticement in the face of responsibility makes us who we are as a individual. Chaucer recognizes this and employs it to demo the contrasting subject in The Canterbury Tales. ? Re-analysis? of the Prioress? s love vs. hatred contradictions proves that the Prioress is less cryptic than first idea. It is merely a re-evaluation of a ill evaluated subject in the narrative that reveals the true nature of the Prioress and her moral contrasts. It is surely clear that Geoffrey Chaucer was an improbably gifted author, and his accomplishments for subtly and nicety was consummate. However, as one delves deeper and deeper into inside informations of fictional work, the possibilities for originative heads to happen connexions or forms additions. One pecking inquiry remains ; at what point does the critical reader Begin to put on the line going more elusive than the writer?

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *