The Suffering Griselda in The Clerk's Tale Essay

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In Geoffrey Chaucer's "The Clerk's Tale," from The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer describes a "perfect wife." This wife, Griselda, is totally submissive to her husband, and seems to have no regrets or remorse for anything he makes her do. Griselda's husband, Walter, puts her through many trials in order to test her dedication and loyalty to him. He takes away both of their children, telling her that he is going to have them killed. He then tells her that he is divorcing her and taking another bride. After this, he forces her to prepare the new bride for him. Through all of this, Griselda loves Walter without fail, meets his demands without any word of disapproval, and remains faithful.

This causes the reader to ask
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Griselda consents, and they are married. Griselda later has a daughter and son, both of whom Walter takes away leaving Griselda with the impression that they will be killed. He does this to make sure that Griselda is totally loyal to him. Griselda never complains or shows any loss of love for him.

Walter decides that Griselda should still be tested, and tells her that he is divorcing her. He then brings the children back. Griselda returns home to her father, and Walter pretends to get his new bride ready to marry, which is really his daughter. Griselda assists with the wedding preparations. Walter then decides that Griselda is truly loyal to him, and tells her the truth. They then live happily ever after.

It is probably easiest to see the comparison between Griselda and the biblical character of Job. It is easiest because Chaucer (or the clerk) makes mention of this comparison himself when he says: "Men speke of Job, and moost for his humblesse,/ As clerkes, whan hem list, koone wel endite,/ Namely of men, but as in soothfastnesse,/ Though clerkes preise wommen but a lite,/ Ther kan no man in humblesse hym acquite,/ As womman kan, ne kan been half sdo trewe/ As wommen been, but it be falle of new" (149). Everyone thinks of Job as a very humble man. This passage says that although Job is humble, Griselda has much more humility. Men rarely praise women when they
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