By William F. Woods

Chaucerian areas explores the have an effect on and the importance of area and position within the first six stories in Chaucer's Canterbury stories. fairly little has been written approximately area within the Canterbury stories, but the rewards for getting to this element of Chaucer's aesthetic are huge. area shows the possibility of attribute motion, improvement, and a extra profound expression of being. In those stories, characters inhabit a panorama and areas inside it that specific their internal existence. Emelye in her backyard, Palamon and Arcite within the grove--all occupy areas or locations that appear social future and person purpose. house and subjectivity swap as territories cave in to families, and the horizons of cognizance minimize to the middle of human rationale. such a lot impressive is the transformation of girls in position. Emelye, Alysoun, even Custance and the spouse of bathtub, stay in areas that specific their social and financial strength. they're in position, yet position can be in them: they merge in metaphor with the locations that categorical them, bringing the reader towards the practical, reflective adventure of the medieval topic.

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The argument has the effect of tempering the consolation, giving it an undertone of worldliness—philosophy as it is actually lived. The language reminds us that Theseus is a good rhetorician, aware of his audience and his need to reach them: “For it is proved by experience” (line 3001), he says, and “Wel may men knowe, but it be a fool” (line 3005). Nevertheless, the dominant effect is the sublime freedom of seeing the whole cosmos—“the fyr, the eyr, the water, and the lond”—extend before us, an order held “In certeyn boundes, that they may nat flee” (lines 2992–93).

As for the Amazons, they are led by one named for the horse that is the symbol of their freedom: Ypolita (“Horsewoman”), a woman both “fair” and “hardy,” which faintly suggests that she dwells beyond the periphery of what Athenians, and perhaps English dukes, would consider an appropriate lifestyle for a woman of the ruling class. Taken together, the Amazons and Thebans represent the kinds of social excess that do not belong in chivalric space. Athens being the center of this space, Scythia and Thebes are lawless outlying territories, while the Minotaur and the other animal motifs imply a blurring of the human image that threatens the humanity sheltered by chivalric space.

Lines 1772–78) As the kernel of his subsequent public address on love, lovers, and the tournament, Theseus’s “inner speech” is a humble but truer reflection of his identity 28 Chaucerian Spaces as prince. His appetite for hunting prevented Palamon and Arcite from killing each other (that was “destinee”), but it was his own “gentil” compassion for women (“pitee”), and consequently his mercy, that kept him from killing them. Aided by women’s emotions, Theseus has fought down the lion within his own heart, the “princely” anger that would prevent wise decisions, separating him from himself and from his body politic.

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