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An exploration of the Christian background of Geoffrey Chaucers the Millers Tale and The Legend of Lucretia Nicholas and Alisoun Lucresse and Tarquyn and not forgetting Absolon John the Carpenter and Colyton are the characters at the centre of two of Geoffrey Chaucers tales that are rich in their Christian and religious bases and innuendo The Millers Tale and The Legend of Lucretia though vastly different in tone The Millers Tale being a fabliaux and The Legend of Lucretia a tragic account of the rape and suicide of Lucresse are also very similar in many ways when looking at these tales from a Christian perspective and exploring their Christian background Yet how far should the study of the Christian bases of these tales and other Chaucerian and medieval literature be taken Is the Bible and Christianity peripheral to the themes of this literature or should it be considered central I agree with Robert Graybills assessment Since in the medieval view everything existed in the economy of God then everything must either be a manifestation of His glory and benevolence or a mockery of it A brief reading of these tales will help validate Graybills claim The Millers Tale raises moral questions about adultery lechery and avarice both from within the Church Absolon the Parish Clerk and outside it whereas The legend of Lucretia issues of guilt forgiveness pride and the spiritual perspective of suicide In order to explore these features from a Christian perspective then Gods all-embracing love must be taken into consideration since nothing can exist outside the boundaries of his control for there are no boundaries everything must reflect even negatively His providential caritas Chaucer lived in pre-reformation Catholic England where the doctrines of Heaven Hell and Purgatory in between were prevalent I will turn first to The Millers Tale where we see John a middle aged carpenter being fooled by Nicholas a student enabling him to sleep
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