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About The Canterbury Tales:|
Geoffrey Chaucer wrote The Canterbury Tales, a collection of stories in a frame story, between 1387 and 1400. It is the story of a group of thirty people who travel as pilgrims to Canterbury (England). The pilgrims, who come from all layers of society, tell stories to each other to kill time while they travel to Canterbury. He never finished his enormous project and even the completed tales were not finally revised. Scholars are uncertain about the order of the tales. As the printing press had yet to be invented when Chaucer wrote his works, The Canterbury Tales has been passed down in several handwritten manuscripts.
About The Franklin's Prologue and Tale:
In the prologue, the Franklin apologizes for his uneducated language. The Franklin's Tale is about a knight called Arviragus who is married with a lady called Dorigen. The spouses are equal in their marriage, which is a boundary condition for love. So neither of them is master or servant to the other and they have a happy married life. Arviragus is sent away to work in Britain leaving Dorigen at home mourning for his absence. Her friends distract her with walks and parties, but Dorigen remains in fear of the black rocks near the shore. She fears that her husband will crash with his ship on his way back home.
During Arviragus' absence, a squire called Aurelius attempts to court Dorigen. She refuses adultary and thinks to get rid of him by demanding something apparently impossible, which is the vanishing of the grisly black rocks. However Aurelius finds a clerk who is educated in the sciences of illusion and magic. Aurelius and the clerk agree that the clerk will remove the black rocks from the shore for a thousand pounds. After Aurelius has performed the impossible, Dorigen is faced with a major dilemma: either being faithfull to her husband and break her promise or being unfaithfull to her husband and keep her promise.
Dorigen tells her husband Arviragus about her promise to Aurelius. So what to do now? Arviragus sends his wife to Aurelius, because keeping a promise is the most important thing. Dorigen goes to Aurelius and tells him that her husband has sent her to fulfill her promise. Aurelius dismisses Dorigen saying that a squire can be as honourable as a knight. After dismissing Dorigen Aurelius goes to the clerk for the payment of thousand pounds. Aurelius tells the clerk what has happened. The clerk remits Aurelius from his debt saying that clerks can be honourable too. The story ends with a question: whom of the characters in The Franklin's Tale is the most honourable person?
The Franklin's Tale has somekind of a happy end, because nobody gets dishonoured. However, a rash promise is a still a promise. Think about and choose your words carefully before saying something regrettable.
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