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Chaucers The Canterbury Tales demonstrate many different attitudes toward and perceptions of marriage Some of these ideas are very traditional such as that discussed in the Franklins Tale and others are more liberal such as the marriages portrayed in the Millers and the Wife of Baths Tales While several of these tales are rather comical they do indeed give us a representation of the attitudes toward marriage at that time in history DW Robertson Jr calls marriage the solution to the problem of love the force which directs the will which is in turn the source of moral action Andrew 88 Marriage in Chaucers time meant a union between spirit and flesh and was thus part of the marriage between Christ and the Church 88 The Canterbury Tales show many abuses of this sacred bond as will be discussed below For example the Millers Tale is a story of adultery in which a lecherous clerk a vain clerk and an old husband whose outcome shows the consequences of their abuses of marriage including Nicholas interest in astrology and Absalons refusal to accept offerings from the ladies as well as the behaviors of both with regards to Alison Still Alison does what she wants she takes Nicholas because she wants to just as she ignores Absalon because she wants to Lines 3290-3295 of the Millers Tale show Alisons blatant disrespect for her marriage to Old John and her planned deceit That she hir love hym graunted atte laste And swoor hir ooth by seint Thomas of Kent That she wol been at his comandment Whan that she may hir leyser wel espie Myn housbonde is so ful of jalousie That but ye wayte wel and been privee On the contrary Alisons husband loved her more than his own life although he felt foolish for marrying her since she was so young and skittish This led him
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