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Geoffrey Chaucer wrote The Canterbury Tales in the late 1400s. By gestating the thought of a pilgrim’s journey to Canterbury in which each character strives to state the best narrative, Chaucer smartly reveals a peculiar societal status of England during the clip. In this clip period, the position, function, and attitudes towards adult females was clearly different from that of today. Two narratives in Chaucer? s aggregation specifically address this topic: the Miller? s narrative and the Reeve? s narrative. The interplay between the narratives and characters further enhances the similar point of views these narratives have towards adult females.

In the Middle Ages, most adult females married and began raising kids shortly after making pubescence. They remained mostly indoors, holding no true opportunity to have a formal instruction or to keep economic or societal power. Husbands normally had full control of their married womans, frequently restricting their public lives to entirely the household ; & # 8220 ; a married woman. . . must delight her hubby and be wholly obedient to him, even when he is unfair and violent & # 8221 ; ( Blewitt 662 ) . In both the Miller? s and Reeve? s narratives Chaucer therefore presents the adult females of the family indoors in all cases. Alison of the Miller? s narrative lives in a bungalow entirely with her hubby John and Fly Nicholas, a bookman. Her implied function besides sexual intents includes be givening to house jobs, merely as the Miller? s married woman and girl in the Reeve? s narrative. The adult female? s exclusive intent as a married woman, though, comes of course as one of sexual intents. In Chaucer? s clip, & # 8220 ; . . . a married woman? s foremost responsibility was to supply her hubby with a inheritor, and she could be divorced if she were bare & # 8221 ; ( Rhinesmith 601 ) . The married woman must be good to her hubby and obey him, even when he may perpetrate unfavourable actions such as personal businesss.

With this cognition of adult females? s responsibilities in mediaeval times, Chaucer in these two narratives brings about the thoughts of protection and immorality. With work forces frequently go forthing the house to be given to their ain jobs, the adult females of the house have plentifulness of opportunities to & # 8220 ; play around & # 8221 ; with other work forces without their hubbies cognizing. John, the carpenter in the Miller? s narrative, invariably worries about his 18 year-old married woman, Alison. & # 8220 ; Jealous he was, & # 8221 ; the Miller tells us, & # 8220 ; and he kept her closely caged, for she was wild and immature, and he was old, and thought she would probably do him a cuckold. & # 8221 ; This protection of the adult female of the place analogues that of the Reeve? s narrative, in which Simon the Miller protects his married woman and girl, Molly, when he finds the arch Alan and John have slept with them. & # 8220 ; ? By holy God I? ll have your tripes for make bolding to dishonor my girl. . . , ? & # 8221 ; Simon exclaims. Full of fury, he attacks Alan as to prolong his protection for his women..

Immorality is discussed in the Miller? s and Reeve? s narratives in the sense that the adult females of both narratives have no true sense of unity. Both John and Simon exhibit some degree of restraint over Alison, Molly, and the Miller? s married woman, for & # 8220 ; restraint is recommended ( for adult females ) in respect to sexual behaviour & # 8221 ; ( Blewitt 662 ) . Fly Nicholas, who pays rent to remain with John and Alison, finds tha

T John often leaves the house for many yearss as portion of his occupation. Nicholas stands as the sliest character in both narratives, cognizing all of love, sexual chases, and star divination. He approaches Alison one twenty-four hours and catch her bitch, and after small opposition, Alison accepts the sexual base on balls. Alison than readily engages in sex with Nicholas, being assured that John will non happen out. She finds Nicholas immature and attractive, and approves of his sly program to lead on John, halting non one time to believe of the anguish she will shortly do her faithful and loving hubby. Another such discourtesy comes about when Alison openly sticks her “romp” out the window for Absolom to snog. Her overall character seems as one which has no shame.

To the same extent, the Miller? s married woman and girl, Molly, commit a similar offense of obscenity. John and Alan, angry at the fast one Simon has played on them, make up one’s mind to kip with Simon? s married woman and girl that really dark. In a most careful and wise mode, John gets Simon? s married woman into his bed, while Alan gets himself into the bed of Molly. Molly, merely as Alison, readily accepts Alan? s sexual offer, for Chaucer writes & # 8220 ; they shortly were one. & # 8221 ; John uses a different attack to acquire with Simon? s married woman, taking her to falsely believe his bed is really hers. He outright begins to hold his merriment, but once more the married woman believes it is her hubby who & # 8220 ; pushs like a lunatic, difficult and deep & # 8221 ; upon her. Though merely implied, there exists every bit much immorality in her actions as that of Molly and Alison. Having a kid who evidently has already passed through pubescence, Simon should be well older than John. Thus the Miller? s married woman must hold known the Simon was non having her pleasances, but instead a immature adult male who returned her pleasances in a manner in which she could non defy. If such immoral behaviours exist in Molly? s female parent, there stands no inquiry as to why Molly herself acts the same manner. Not merely does she disrespect her ain organic structure, but even worse her trueness towards her male parent. She confirms to Alan that her male parent bargains flour, and really reveals that he has taken some from them. Merely as Alison desecrated her love for Simon, Molly and her female parent did the same for the Simon.

In Chaucer? s The Canterbury Tales, the Miller? s and Reeve? s narratives parallel each other through their representations of adult females. In a period of clip when the overall mentality on adult females was different from today, Chaucer depicts the life of adult females as one filled with over-protection by the hubby or male parent, extended jobs entirely in the house, and self immorality. Alison, the Miller? s married woman and Molly all exhibit or trade with these features of mediaeval adult females. Through their actions The Canterbury Tales holds a clear position of one peculiar societal status of the clip, the corruption of adult females.


Blewitt, Ralph. The Middle Ages & # 8220 ; Courtesy Books & # 8221 ; Princeton ; Princeton Printing Press, 1993.

Chaucer, Geoffery. The Canterbury Tales New York ; Bantum Books, 1964.

Rhinesmith, Harvey. The Middle Ages & # 8220 ; Family, Western European & # 8221 ; Princeton ; Princeton Printing Press, 1993.

Siddharth Sura

C & A ; C English & # 8212 ; 1

March 25, 1997

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