Sunday, May 6, 2007

1387 to 1400 The Canterbury Tales

The Canterbury Tales
"Knight's Tale": Palamon, Arcite and Emily. Arcite wins battle, but dies, leaving Palamon to wed the lady.

"Miller's Tale": Nicholas convinces John, the miller, that the second flood is coming. He suspends three tubs from the ceiling. Alison offers her rump for Absolon to kiss. Absolon returns with a red-hot ppoker, scorches Nicholas's substitute rump. Nicholas yells for water. John thinks the flood has come, cuts loose his tub, which comes crashing to the ground.

"Reeve's Tale": Young scholars catch the miller cheating on their grain. They swive his wife and daughter and escape.

"Cook's Tale": Roger the Cook tells of Perkin, an apprentice too fond of dice and women. Unfinished.

"Man of Law's Tale": Constance represents the extreme degree of resignation. Evil mothers scheme against her. Finally, she is reunited with the king, her husband.

"Wife of Bath's Tale": What do women really want? Sovereignty over their husbands. Tale makes the point. Argues against virginity. Uses her life with five husbands as example of happy marriage if the wife has sovereignty. One of Arthur's knights ravishes a maid. Given a year to find out what women most desire. Hag offers answer if he will marry her. She offers haggishness and fidelity or beauty and cuckoldom. The knight lets her make the choice, thus giving her sovereignty. She becomes both beautiful and faithful.

"Friar's Tale": Friar and the Summoner. A true curse sends the Summoner to Hell.

"Summoner's Tale": Sick Thomas donates "gift" to be divided equally among the friars; discussion of how to divid the gift, a fart.

"Clerk's Tale": Patient Griselda. Marquis Walter marries, tests Griselda who submits to extremely harsh conditions. The Clerk's reply to the "Wife of Bath's Tale."

"Merchant's Tale": May, a young maiden, sports with a squire in a tree. Blind old husband January's sight is restored and he sees what is going on. May says she restored his sight by struggling with the man in a tree. January believes her.

"Squire's Tale": Medieval romance. Magical ring, brass horse, mirror, sword. Female falcon tells of desertion. Unfinished.

"Franklin's Tale": Dorigen, Averagus, Aurelius. Rash promise is forgiven.

"Physician's Tale": Judge lusts for Virginia. She accepts her father's decision to kill her. People revolt and the judge commits suicide.

"Pardoner's Tale": By stabbing and poison, three revelers find "Death" after plotting to kill each other for a pile of gold.

"Shipman's Tale": Monk borrows from miserly merchant and sleeps with the merchant's wife; he says he repaid wife who says she thought the money was a gift.

"Prioress's Tale": Christian boy singing hymn to Mary is slain by the Jews. Sings until his body is found and the murderers are hanged.

"Tale of Sir thopas": Parody of minstrel romances is interrupted by Host. Exemplary knight resolved to love no one but an elf-queen.

To be continued.

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