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A level English > Merchant Context > Flashcards

Flashcards in Merchant Context Deck (8):

Troilus & Criseyde

Acts as a segue between Malfi & Merchant.
Love is abject.
Perfect example of courtly love.
Physical love makes him sick.
Women are in power.


Courtly Love

De Amore
Descriptio (used by January).
“Burns with love” – reflects Damyan’s infatuation with May (poor lover).
Contemporary viewpoint.
Status conferred on women = God like.
Women are portrayed as physically above men.
Harp = Classical instrument in romances.


Lamentations of Mateolus

Matheolus was a 13th century French Cleric & Poet.
The Lamentations was an antifeminist work, arguing that marriage makes men’s lives miserable.
Its renowned infamy became a perfect tool for Christine de Pizan to kick of her defence for women in The Book of the City of Ladies (rare feminist view).
Matheolus uses satirisation to exaggerate the weaknesses of women & uses it to devalue marriage.
After he wrote The Lamentations, he wrote a second book titled ‘The Book of Gladness’, in which he apologised for ever having translated the original. He spoke of positivity surrounding women.
Gynocentric society.


Roman de la Rose

A courtly love song composed in French.
Written between 1200-1304.
Personification allegory.
Classic garden imagery.



The Garden of Eden – Proleptically Ironic.
Pilgrimage = Irreligious.
Marriage – a legal morally bound way for sex.
Chaucer, through the use of humour, dams religious ideas.


Theofraste & The Golden Book of Marriage

Theofraste is an economic viewpoint.
Draws in contradictions.
Ideological Standpoint.
Author of anti-feminist text.
The Merchant quotes from it.
Religious elements tp marriage.
Sex is either procreational or sinful.


Piers Plowman

Medieval test, an allegory for society.
Written as a dream poem.
Plowman vaguely represents Jesus.
Contrition forgets to weep.
Conscience must go on a pilgrimage – The Duchess wants to go on a pilgrimage in order to escape.
Debased & Devalued intentions.


Wife of Bath & Clerk's Tale

The Clerk’s Tale
The virtuous, low-born wife is tested in a series of horrendous ordeals. She’s rewarded for accepting & submitting. Advocates women’s passive obedience to their husbands. Although obedience is considered a virtue, a women should recognise its limit. Griselda is the paragon of an archetypal virtuous women; submissive & silent.

The Wife of Bath’s Tale
Women desire their husband’s willingness to yield sovereignty. The desires of women take precedence. God didn’t give her the gift of celibacy. The husband gets the bad end of the deal. The threat of women’s power is off-putting.

The most important sources of the Merchant’s Tale appear among the Canterbury Tales. The debate on marriage draws upon the Prologue of the Wife of Bath, which is cited by Justinus & January’s idea of a good wife is based of The Clerk’s Tale.