Clerks tale

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British Literature

The Canterbury Tales: The Clerks Tale parts 4-6 analysis

In Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Clerks Tale”, the Clerk is essentially a bookworm from Oxford University with no social, political, or aristocratic aspirations. He is a thin man, constantly and deliberately neglecting his bodily needs in favor of knowledge (extremely happy doing so). Chaucer tells us that he is very poor due to the fact that he spends all of his money on books and scholarly texts, and that he is very withdrawn from society thanks to his learning obsession. It is said that he is respected by all participating in the pilgrimage. As we delve into the Clerk’s tale (parts 4-6), the Clerk begins with a story in which a king is trying to test his wife to see if she truly loves him. He explains that the Marquis has devised yet another ‘needless test’ and is going to make his subservient wife, Griselda, give up her only son to be killed because he fears that the people do not approve of his marriage, and do not want a lowly air to the throne. After her son is ‘killed’ Griselda remains loyal to her husband. Following the Marquis’ taking of her son, he then told Griselda that he was to divorce her and marry another woman (which turned out to be his daughter). Griselda was saddened, but she still remained loyal to her husband. Finally, the Marquis asks Griselda to plan his new wedding for his new wife, she agrees, and in the end, the curtains come down and her children are revealed to her, and her husband expresses the love he has, and will always have for his one true wife, Griselda. From the get go of “The Clerks Tale”, it becomes apparent that Chaucer has an extensive knowledge of the biblical tales, and struggles to find meaning within said tales. Chaucer attempts to tackle these questions and perceived meanings not openly, but through his works in “The Clerks Tale” (Because lets face it, any open questioning of the bible in the middle ages was guaranteed social

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