Canterbury Tale(the Man of Law's Tale)

Topics: The Canterbury Tales, The Shipman's Tale, Geoffrey Chaucer Pages: 3 (761 words) Published: November 27, 2012
THE CANTERBURY TALES (The Man of Law's Tale)

 The Man of Law's Tale (also called The Lawyer's Tale) is the fifth of the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, written around 1387.

The Man of Law, also known as The Sergeant at Law, tells a Romance tale of a Christian princess named Custance (the modern form would be Constance) who is betrothed to the Syrian Sultan on condition that he convert to Christianity. The Sultan's mother connives to prevent this and has Constance set adrift on the sea. Her adventures and trials continue after she is shipwrecked on theNorthumberland coast. Northumberland is a pagan country where the King, Alla (based on Chaucer's understanding of the historical Ælla of Deira[1]) eventually converted to Christianity. Alla's evil mother intercepts and falsifies a letter between the couple, which results in Constance's being banished. Constance is forced to go to sea again and is found by a Senator of Rome. The Senator takes Constance (and her child) back to Italy to serve as a household servant. King Alla, still heartbroken over the loss of Constance, goes to Rome on a pilgrimage, and fortunately finds Constance. In the end the couple return to Northumberland. Alla dies a year later, and the baby boy becomes the King. -------------------------------------------------

The tale is based on a story within the Chronicles of Nicholas Trivet but the major theme in the tale, of an exiled princess uncorrupted by her suffering, was common in the literature of the time.[2] Her tale is also told in John Gower's Confessio Amantis, and both are similar to the verse Romance Emaré, and the cycle is generally known as the "Constance" cycle.[2] The oldest known variant of this particular type is Vitae duorum Offarum.[3] More distantly related forms of the persecuted heroine include Le Bone Florence of Rome, and Griselda.[4] An...
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