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Marriage is an institution viewed upon in many different ways Some people believe it is a holy union of two people in order to reproduce On the other hand there are those who look at it as a social contract which often binds two people that are not necessarily right for each other In Geoffrey Chauchers The Canterbury Tales the view taken is that of the former Chaucher looks at marriage as an obligation that is almost always dominated by one of its two members as view proven in the Millers Tale the Shipmans Tale the Merchants Tale and the Wife of Baths Tale The Shipmans Tale exemplifies the sarcastic view of marriage taken by Chaucer Here his wife along with his cousin Sir John the monk cuckolds a noble merchant The merchant is completely trusting of his wife and his cousin but still they take advantage of him Money is the underlying theme in this tale First Sir John asks the merchant if hed contrive to lend him a hundred francs Chaucer 164 which would actually be used to seduce the merchants wife The merchant gladly loans him the money not knowing his cousin had ulterior motives Then the merchant leaves on a business trip and leaves his wife alone in their home along with the monk With the merchant never once questioning their honor the wife and the monk take advantage of his leave in order to consummate their relationship Although later the wife almost gets caught ultimately her husband never learns that his wife has lied in anyones arms all night Chaucer 165 that werent his and the merchant is seen as a blind fool The relationships in this tale are all defined at least in part in terms of finances The wife defines her relationship with her husband at the beginning in terms of his niggardliness and offers her body at the end in repayment of the hundred francs she
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