The Lawyer's Prologue by Geoffrey Chaucer
In, “The Lawyer’s Prologue”, by Geoffrey Chaucer, Chaucer mixes and tries to differ
himself in telling the story, by making it seem that the tale is being told between the actual
author and the narrator, by giving the lawyer some critical reference to Chaucer. Chaucer is
writing this trying to show as if the lawyer were to be telling the tale, and not Chaucer him
self. The majority of what the Lawyer says is not important or not of significance with the
story. The Lawyer is portrayed as dignified and formal, addressing the diverse crowd as if he
were speaking to the court.
Introduction to The Lawyer’s Prologue
The host speaks to the rest of the travelers, telling them that they can regain lost
property but not lost time. The host suggests that the lawyer tell the next tale, and he agrees
to do so, because he does not want to break his promises. He also says that the people should
keep the laws they give to other people. The host refers to Chaucer who works shallow and
writes poorly, but at the least he does not write of tales of lust. The Lawyer prepares to tell of
a tale which will include poverty, and talks of it in an affectionate and formal way.
The Lawyer’s Tale
In Syria there was a company of wealthy traders who made a journey to Rome. After
a certain time there encountered Constance the emperor’s daughter, who was famous for her
goodness and beauty. When the merchants returned to Syria, they reported to the Sultan what
they had seen; the Sultan was immediately filled with lust for this Constance. The Sultan met with his advisors and told them of what he was told and his intentions. They could find no
way for the Sultan to marry Constance. The Sultan is a Moslem, and Constance a Christian,
for no emperor would allow his daughter to marry a Moslem. The Sultan then decided to
convert to Christianity in a heavy intent to marry this beauty. With this in change, the em
peror gave Constance away to the Sultan for he was full of joy, but Constance left in sorrow
for she did not wish to live in a foreign country. She understands the connection with a
women being made to be a man’s subject, and lives on with her life. This tale commends the
sacrifice and honor of Constance the daughter of the Roman Emperor who will suffer a num
ber of injustices during the years to come for her with the Sultan. It is a religious tale which
does not reach for the subtlety of allegory. Constance depends on her religious faith for her
survival throughout her life with the Sultan. The people who do not share the Christian faith
with her are evil and cruel to her. This tale takes a small view into humanity in which Chris
tianity represents clean purity and any other religious tradition is evil.
Her virtue and honor differ from her devotion to Christian principles, while...