Women and love in chaucer

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Women and love in chaucer

For no effect of tyranny can sit more heavy on the Commonwealth, then this houshold unhappiness on the family. Love in marriage cannot live nor subsist, unless it be mutual; and where love cannot be, there can be left of wedlock nothing, but the empty husk of an outside matrimony; as undelightfull and unpleasing to God, as any other kind of hypocrisie.

Milton, Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, 2nd, Among unequals what society Can sort, what harmony or true delight? Here I think we will respond to the poetry more fully if we recall some basic points about marriage in Chaucer's period.

Marriage was primarily a transaction organized by males to serve economic and political ends, with the woman treated as a useful, child-bearing appendage to the land or goods being exchanged. Weddings were often arranged and sometimes solemnized when children were in their cradles.

Grown women could also be summarily married off. The former was written by a man of over sixty to his fifteen-year-old wife, and includes a host of exempla to show the woman her duties of unquestioning submission and minute attention to the husband's every need, while insisting she should love him devotedly.

The following is a representative illustration: Of domestic animals you shall see how that a greyhound or mastiff or little dog, whether it be on the road, or Women and love in chaucer table, or in bed, ever keepeth him close to the person from whom he taketh his food and leaveth all the others and is distant and shy with them; and if the dog is afar off, he always has his heart and his eye upon his master; even if his master whip him and throw stones at him, the dog followeth, wagging his tail and lying down before his master to appease him, and through rivers, through woods, through thieves and through battles followeth him.

This sentiment is perfectly conventional and it is worth noting how it lacks any reflexivity, how closed it is against any critical voice. Chaucer would subject this male voice of 'reason' to some profound poetic scrutiny, however complacently entrenched it was in his culture.

The Knight of the Tower demonstrates just how well entrenched it was, for he assumes that the best attitudes are utter subservience on the part of women and unquestioning domination on the part of men, supported by male aggression and physical violence towards women in a culture of discourse quite alien to self-criticism or reflexivity.

One typical example of the work's outlook is its account Page of a wife who answered her husband back: And so by her ryotte and ennoye she gat her a croked nose, moche evyll. Here, for instance, he does not look at his own language and wonder whether riot is a proper description for a wife answering her husband, or whether it might not more appropriately apply to a man beating up a woman, or even to an author who lauds such an action; he never questions the morality of the husband nor does he recall texts like St Paul's, 'Husbands, love your wives even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it' Eph.

In return, the man would abstain from violence towards the woman. Mention of St Paul may encourage readers to wonder whether Christian teaching about marriage significantly altered this situation.

Women and love in chaucer

The answer is that it offered no serious challenge to the situation outlined, and did much to sanctify these attitudes. Readers concerned to follow the theologians' ideas about marriage, love and sex are fortunate in having the fine study by J. What this demonstrates exhaustively is that orthodox Christian tradition consistently separated love both from sexuality and the primary purposes of marriage.

David Aers, "Chaucer: Love, Sex and Marriage"; critical study.

The failure occurred in a society whose mating customs made procreation, not love, the most prominent value of marriage. Page On top of the theological failure Noonan describes, we should also remember the very positive contribution orthodox Christian ideas made to the traditional downgrading and oppression of women celebrated by the Knight of the Tower or the Goodman of Paris.

The Wife of Bath has an excellent knowledge of the antifeminist tradition sponsored by the medieval church. As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of a woman comes from defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence; such as that of a south wind, which is moist.

With statements like this, backed up as objective doctrine by the church, went a web of traditional and vulgar forms of male double-think and double standards, from which we are still far from free. Before moving on to Chaucer's work we should acknowledge the existence of important counter-tendencies to the dominant ideologies and practices we have sketched.

Scholars such as J. Lazar have shown how the oppositions between fin' amors and marriage in earlier troubadour poetry were gradually superseded in courtly literature of northern France in the later twelfth century, a process involving transformation of both fin'amors and images of marriage.

The Wife of Bath's Tale - Wikipedia

The incorporation of passionate, noncoercive mutual and sexually vital love into marriage was a vision which obviously contradicted the power relations of the period and Page the dominant attitudes to marriage and women propagated by laymen and ecclesiastics alike. What Chretien did was to give form and voice to new aspirations very much in conflict with established realities.

Such art may even lead people to see themselves, their relationships and their culture in new ways.quotes from Geoffrey Chaucer: 'Patience is a conquering virtue.', 'The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.', and 'What is better than wisdom?

Woman. And what is better than a good woman? Nothing.'.

Women and love in chaucer

Women and Love In Chaucer Chaucer's opinion of women and his views on love are very prominently featured in his poetry.

Focusing on women, one must first examine the popular views concerning women during Chaucer's time. Girls and Love In Chaucer Chaucer's view of women as well as his views on love are very prominently featured in his poetry.

Focusing on girls, one must first analyze the popular views concerning girls during Chaucer. Chaucer's opinion of women and his views on love are very prominently featured in his poetry.

Courtly Love and Sexual Desire ThemeTracker

Focusing on women, one must first examine the popular views concerning women during Chaucer's time. Courtly love is the medieval concept of expressing admiration and love in a noble, chivalrous fashion.

This type of love exists outside marriage: true courtly love exists on a spiritual, idealized plane, and does not need to be physically consummated. Women and Love In Chaucer Chaucer's opinion of women and his views on love are very prominently featured in his poetry.

Focusing on women, one must first examine the popular views concerning women during Chaucer's time.

Geoffrey Chaucer Quotes (Author of The Canterbury Tales)