CANTERBURY TALES--THE MARRIAGE ARGUMENT         

[Cross-references included at the bottom of the page]

 

323. HODGE, JAMES L. "The Marriage Group: Precarious Equilibrium." English Studies 46 (1965):289-300.

Argues for the "inconclusiveness" of the Marriage Group by extending it to include the Squire's and Shipman's tales as commentaries on the Merchant's, by assessing the importance of illusion in the Franklin's Tale, and by identifying the tendencies of the involved tales to cancel one another. No one tale embodies Chaucer's "answer" to the question of marriage.

324. KASKE, R.E. "Chaucer's Marriage Group." In Chaucer the Love Poet. Edited by Jerome Mitchell and William Provost. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1973, pp, 45-66.

Reads the Marriage Group as a cogent sequence within the Canterbury Tales which addresses two issues: male vs. female sovereignty in marriage and the place of sex in marriage. Wife of Bath's Prologue introduces the themes and her tale presents them in an "archetypal" women's view. Clerk's Tale presents a "clerk's-eye view." The Merchant addressess both issues ironically, and the Franklin idealistically.

325. KITTREDGE, GEORGE LYMAN. "Chaucer's Discussion of Marriage." Modern Philology 9 (1912):435-67. Reprinted in Chaucer: Modern Essays in Criticism, ed. by Edward Wagenknecht (London: Oxford University Press, 1959), pp. 188-215; Chaucer Criticism, Volume I: "The Canterbury Tales". ed. by Richard J. Schoeck and Jerome Taylor (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1960), pp. 139-59; Chaucer--"The Canterbury Tales": A Casebook, ed. by J.J. Anderson (London: Macmillan, 1974), pp. 61- 92.

Establishes the outlines of the Marriage Argument of Canterbury Tales, first suggested by Hammond (entry 45), by demonstrating the dramatic and thematic interrelations among the prologues and tales of the Wife of Bath, Clerk, Merchant, and Franklin. Verbal echoes, direct references, and thematic opposition indicate an ongoing argument among the pilgrims about the nature of marriage: the Wife's heretical assertion of female sovereignty, the Clerk's studied, orthodox response, the Merchant's personal bitterness, and the Franklin's idealized solution--mutual freedom of the spouses.

326. MURTAUGH, DANIEL M. "Women and Geoffrey Chaucer." ELH: A Journal of English Literary History 38 (1971):473-92.

Compares Chaucer's Marriage Group to patristic anti-feminist traditions, arguing that fantasy, marriage, and the patristic view of women coalesce into a noble ideal. The Clerk's and Merchant's tales present contrasting, one-sided views of the battle of the sexes, while two different "patristic dilemmas" are rejected in the tales of the Wife and the Franklin respectively: the opposition of beauty and chastity, and the conflict between truth and chastity.

327. RICHMOND, VELMA BOURGEOIS. "Pacience in Adversitee: Chaucer's Presentation of Marriage." Viator 10 (1979):323-54.

Argues that the Marriage Group teaches concord as well as competition. The Wife's prologue and tale suggest that she has learned that selflessness is necessary to a successful marriage. In Clerk's Tale, Griselda's patience overcomes Walter's chauvinism. January and May are resolved at the end of Merchant's Tale, and the Franklin's focus on freedom embodies this persistent theme.

328. SILVIA, D[ANIEL] S. "Geoffrey Chaucer on the Subject of Men, Women, and Gentilesse." Revue des Langues Vivantes 33 (1967):228-36.

Accepts the "Bradshaw shift" and considers the Marriage Group as a sequence of tales from theTale of Melibee to Franklin's Tale, arguing that Melibee poses a marital ideal, that the following tales (excepting the "interludes" of the Monk and Friar/Summoner) take exception to the ideal. Franklin's Tale accounts for these exceptions and reasserts the ideal based on gentilesse.

See also entries 10, 54, 239, 254, 260, 262, 272, 345, 422, 488, 518-19, 523, 541, 554, 622.

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