Contradictions in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales Essay

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Contradictions in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales There is no question that contradictory values make up a major component of The Canterbury Tales. Fate vs. Fortuna, knowledge vs. experience and love vs. hate all embody Chaucer's famous work. These contrasting themes are an integral part of the complexity and sophistication of the book, as they provide for an ironic dichotomy to the creative plot development and undermine the superficial assumptions that might be made. The combination of completely contradictory motifs leads to the unusual stories and outcomes that come to play out in the tales. And these outcomes draw focus on the larger universal issues that in many cases transcend the boundaries of vernacular periods to all of…show more content…
In the debate, a number of different options have emerged. Some, like medieval author Paul Ruggiers, argue that it is impossible to determine the Prioress?s attitude and that, ?we must be satisfied with ambiguity.? Others like writer Victoria Wickham argue the most popular belief, that the Prioress?s bigotry is without question and readers should be more concerned about the degree rather than the fact itself. But there is another possibility. Edwards and Spector, two prominent medieval scholars, put aside the issue of racism temporarily and instead offer an alternative interpretation on the very nature of Chaucer?s love-hate contradiction in the Prioress?s tale. They argue that the love vs. hate contradiction is not dependent on outside forces, but is actually an internal conflict within the Prioress herself. Consequently, the individuals and subsequent groups in her tale are not specific characters but culturally influenced manifestations representing separate issues. In this way her personality becomes the allegory of her tale, making specific references within her story irrelevant to her true attitude. In this writer?s opinion, popular attitudes on the nature of the love-hate contradiction in the Prioress?s tale are wrong; Edwards and Stevens help prove this. Rather than considering the most obvious stand-alone factors of love and hate in the story, specifically the description of the Prioress and her affinity for Christianity vs. the evil
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