Lais vs Canterbury Tales

Topics: Geoffrey Chaucer, Marriage, The Canterbury Tales Pages: 2 (645 words) Published: May 3, 2012
Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales and The Lais of Marie de France, written by Marie de France, contain a number of similarities. The two literary works are framed narratives, containing several small stores. Both were written in a similar time period with The Lais of Marie de France being written in the 12th century and The Canterbury Tales composed in the 14th century. More specifically, the Franklin’s Tale from The Canterbury Tales and the Eliduc from The Lais of Marie de France contain a handful of similar elements. The two tell the stories of seemingly fortified romances turned fowl after the husband leaves for an extended period of time. However, the two stories have a few differences, specifically the gender of the protagonist. In the Eliduc, the male character commits adultery while he is away from his homeland. In the Franklin’s Tale, however, the female character seeks extramarital affairs when her husband is away. Appropriately, the Eliduc’s protagonist is the male character and the Franklin’s Tale focuses more on the female character. The Eliduc and the Franklin’s Tale describe near identical stories about extramarital affairs, with the genders of the characters reversed. In the Eliduc, and the Franklin’s Tale, one can observe similarities between the two protagonists and between their spouses. In the opening lines of the two narratives, marriages are articulated to the reader. In the Eliduc, Eliduc “had wedded in his youth a noble lady of proud race and name” (31). It appears that Eliduc chose the person that he would marry and she consented to the wedding. She consented immediately, and he did not have to prove anything to his future wife. In the opening of his tale, the Franklin describes the marriage between Arviragus and Dorigen saying, “[Dorigen] did perform for [Arviagus] so she’d be won,/ for she’s among the fairest beneath the sun” (Franklin, 25–26). Arviragus finds Dorigen to be very special, but Dorigen may not have felt the same...

Cited: France, Marie de. The Lais of Marie de Franc. Trans. Glyn S. Burgess and Keith Busby. 1986. London: Penguin Classics, 1999. Print.
Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Selected Canterbury Tales. Trans. Sheila Fisher. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2011. Print.
Liukkonen, Petri, and Ari Pesonen. "Geoffrey Chaucer." Pegasus Kuusankosken kaupunginkirjasto, 2008. Web. 30 Mar. 2012. .
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