Friday, February 19, 2016
Oh God(s) Above
In the Miller and Franklin's tale, the reader sees differing levels of success from the proposed suitors, regardless of initial marital ties. When analyzing the texts, the reader finds differing spiritual emphases in each which may reflect the suitor's likelihood for success. In the Franklin's tale, the Aurelius relies on witchcraft and magic to gain the love of Dorigen. Aurelius is asked to accomplish the task to "remoeve alle the rokkes, stoon by stoon, / That they ne lette ship ne boot to goon" (Chaucer, 993-994). Though a seemingly impossible task, Aurelius is able to accomplish the job with the help of witchcraft and promises to recompense the magician with 1000 pounds if he can accomplish the task. Though the deed is accomplished, Dorigen still refuses his advances and nearly commits suicide instead of accepting his love. Though Aurelius accomplishes the task, he does not do so of his own accord and must rely on sorcery to finish the task. Textually, the Franklin's Tale has a much more abundant use of greek and ancient religious figures. Dorigen is described as a "servant to Venus" (937) and the actions of the two are compared to those of "Ekko / For Narcisus" (951-952), two other characters of Greek Mythology. Aurelius even goes as far as to mention "Appollo, god and governour / Of every plaunte, herbe, tree, and flour" (1031-32) instead of emphasizing the Christian God. It seems his reliance on magic and older traditions makes it more difficult to acquire Dorigen's love despite the fact "That fressher was and holyer of array / As to my doom, than is the month of May. / he syngeth, daunceth, passynge any man" (927-929). Aurelius is quite the catch, but does nothing himself to try to attain the love of Dorigen. Nicholas, on the other hand, uses his only faculties to gain the attraction of Allison, even though those skills were of trickery and beguiling. One also sees a much greater emphasis on the Christian God in this tale even convincing Allison's husband John that a flood similar to Noah's would strike. Though Nicholas is an astrologist and seeker of the stars, there is greater emphasis in this tale on Nicholas using his own strengths to keep the attraction of the carpenter's wife. Though not done honorably, it seems that by working through one's own skill under the Christian God is more successful than using magic and the gods of the ancients to steal the love of a fair maiden.