An Analyis of the Conventions of Courtly Love Within the Miller's Tale and Morte Darthur

1849 Words Mar 24th, 2013 8 Pages
An Analyis of the Conventions of Courtly Love Within The Miller's Tale and Morte Darthur While both “Morte Darthur” and “The Miller's Tale” display some characteristics of a satirical approach in which human vices are attacked in a whimsical manner through irony, comedy, and folly, they are actually quite different in their literary genre and style. “Morte Darthur”, an adventurous tale with an imaginary setting that perfectly idealizes the chivalrous knight-hero and his noble deeds done for the love of his lady, is a classic example of a tragic medieval romance. A fabliau, of which “The Miller's Tale” is an example, takes a comical approach with the typically large cast of colorful characters: the blissfully ignorant husband, the …show more content…
Within these works, neither female character feels a marital commitment, yet both feel a strong commitment to their lovers: Guinevere to Sir Lancelot, and Alison to “Nicholas, this hende whom she loveth so” (Chaucer 245). Sir Lancelot's commitment is also to his lover instead of his employer, who also happens to be his lover's husband. It is important to note that "lovers" in both “Morte Darttur” and “The Miller's Tale” did not necessarily refer to sexual partners, “for love at that time was not as love is nowadays” (Malory 442), but to the emotional connection between two people. At the time marriage was either an institution of convenience or a strategy used to increase familial ties within the nobility and ruling classes; it almost never had anything to do with personal choice or love. In fact, courtly love was typically not practiced within a marriage. Instead it provided a means for people to feel and express the love that was missing in their marriages, while holding on to the financial and social advantages that the marital relationship provided. Courtly lovers had secret, lustful trysts which tended to escalate into a mental and sometimes physical affair. However, it was expected that once an affair began, the lovers would be fully committed to one another, as Capellano expressly stated, “No one can be bound by a double love.” Malory especially uses commitment to
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