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"Canterbury Tales" By Geoffrey Chaucer. Essay

1721 words - 7 pages

Love is a very complicated matter and it is hard for one to tell when there is really true love. Geoffrey Chaucer portrays love, honor, and emotions in "The Franklins Tale," of The Canterbury Tales. The story explains the difference between love and honor and how hard it can be to tell them apart. Since the story takes place in medieval times there is the affect of courtly love and chivalry as well, which impacts the way characters react. Dorigen, Arvéragus, and Aurelius are faced with the choice between love and honor and Chaucer shows how important it is to choose carefully and realize what one values more.Aurelius, a "lusty squire" (Chaucer 414) who has loved Dorigen "best of any for two years" (Chaucer 414) is the "bad guy" in this story because he goes against the tradition at the time, courtly love, and tries to have an affair with a married woman. Dorigen, a beautiful lady who comes "from the kindred of so high a kind," (Chaucer 409) is faced with a serious decision between love and honor, which is bestowed on her by Aurelius. Arvéragus, a noble knight who is married to Dorigen, is also impacted and has to guide Dorigen. Aurelius "burned with love," (Chaucer 415) for Dorigen but was reluctant to tell her at first because it is against courtly love. He gets so desperate that he eventually lets it slip and tells her that, "A word from you can slay or save," (Chaucer 415) which puts Dorigen in an awkward position, knowing that what she says might kill him. Aurelius receives hope when Dorigen says that if he clears the coast of every stone then she will love him "more than any man on earth" (Chaucer 416). Although Dorigen is not serious, Aurelius knows that if he could accomplish this task then he will be able to have an affair with the women he loves. Aurelius obviously does not actually love her but his emotions and hormones are what is making him attracted because he just wants an affair. The problem with Aurelius is he is intervening in a happy marriage, which "Thou shalt not knowingly strive to break up a correct love affair that someone else is engaged in" (The Code of Chivalry and Courtly Love). Aurelius is a bad man because he is going against the tradition of the time and by him forcing Dorigen to have an affair with him will cause Dorigen's marriage to go downhill. At first, Aurelius tells Dorigen that she should "think before you break your word," (Chaucer 425) because he cleared the rocks and wants to have an affair with her like she promised. He later feels bad because he finds out that Arvéragus "would rather die in his distress" (Chaucer 432), of knowing that his wife had an affair, "Rather than that his wife should break her word" (Chaucer 432). The fact that Aurelius has mercy on Dorigen and tells her that she does not have to have an affair is admirable but one must not forget that he probably would have never done that if Arvéragus was still away and did not tell his wife anything. Aurelius...

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