Thursday, November 14, 2019

Dame Ragnell and Alisons Tale :: Canterbury Tales Essays

Dame Ragnell and Alison's Tale In Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, the Wife of Bath (Alison) teaches her audience what it is women most desire through her tale. The tale she tells resembles the tale of Dame Ragnell. These stories are analogies, perhaps both arising from a similar folk-tale source. Both stories are set in the magical Arthurian times when the fields and forests teemed with gnomes and unearthly creatures. Although both stories have the same moral and end on similar note, there are some vivid differences that we simply cannot overlook. It is very possible that Alison's tale is a custom tailored version of the Dame Ragnell story. The knight in "The Wife of Bath's Tale" is portrayed as a selfish hedonist whose behavior is anything but courteous. It seems as if Alison twists the story of Dame Ragnell to suit her own selfish needs and makes the point that "men are scum" for her tale begins with a noble knight of king Arthur's court raping a maiden: And so bifel it that King Arthour Hadde in his hous a lusty bacheler That on a day cam riding fro river, And happed that, alone as he was born, He sawgh a maide walking him biforn; Of which maide anoon, maugree hir heed, By very force he rafte hir maidenheed; Norton, 888-894. As a result of the knight's behavior, the queen gives the knight an ultimatum. He now must find "what thing it is that wommen most desiren" within a twelve months time frame (Norton, 911). Alison does not depict the knight in the nicest light. I guess she is the one "painting the lion" in this case. Unlike "The Wife of Bath's Tale," the story of Dame Ragnell portrays Sir Gawain as an exemplary hero who is loyal to his King beyond belief. Sir Gawain promises to marry the loathsome Dame Ragnell in order to save the King's life and illustrates his devotion to the king by following up on his promise. When King Arthur gives Gawain the horrific description of the foulest maiden ever seen by men and poses the question to Gawain, Sir Gawain's reaction is the quintessence of loyalty: 'Gawen, I met today with the foulest lady That evere I sawe sertenly. She said to me my life she wold save†¦ But first she wold thee to husbond have. Wherfor I am wo begon- Thus in my hart I make my mone.

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