Love's (and Law's) Illusions in Chaucer's Franklin's Tale.

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  • Author(s): Caldwell, Ellen M.1
  • Source:
    Studies in Philology. Spring2019, Vol. 116 Issue 2, p209-226. 18p.
  • Document Type:
    Literary Criticism
  • Additional Information
    • Subject Terms:
    • Abstract:
      Chaucer's story of Arveragus and Dorigen is filled with illusions. Through the machinations of an illusionist, a tregetour, Aurelius secures by false means his right to sleep with Dorigen. But the illusion that begins the story is that of dual sovereignty and freedom in the marriage of Dorigen and Arveragus. Because they violate a longstanding code of separating courtly love from marriage, violating the intent of the marriage vow, everything turns into illusion, because the marriage is based upon fraudulent claims that undermine sacrosanct rules of marital decorum. The couple overturns the social order, engendering a series of natural disorders that can be righted only by the reimposition of male authority in the marriage. Order is restored, however, at the expense of intent. That is, Dorigen never intended to act on her promise to sleep with Aurelius in exchange for the rock removal. The text explicitly states this, even though Aurelius deliberately (maliciously?) treats her words as if they expressed true intent. In the Franklin's Tale, Chaucer's central examination of illusion probes the nascent area of legal debate over mens rea, the privileging of motive or intent over act, articulated by English jurist Henry de Bracton's mid-thirteenth century De Legibus et Consuetudinibus Angliae. This essay will not only examine the illusion of the marriage but also connect it to the equally illusory claim that Dorigen's hasty promise to Aurelius carries as much weight as her marriage vow or of any consciously worded statement where word and intent match. Finally, the mercy shown to Dorigen will be assessed, not as the generous solution to Dorigen's waywardness but as an illusion that, like the law, pardons, but never exonerates, Dorigen and her unintended words. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
      Copyright of Studies in Philology is the property of University of North Carolina Press and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)
    • Author Affiliations:
      1California State University, Fullerton
    • ISSN:
      0039-3738
    • Accession Number:
      10.1353/sip.2019.0008
    • Accession Number:
      135826380
  • Citations
    • ABNT:
      CALDWELL, E. M. Love’s (and Law’s) Illusions in Chaucer’s Franklin’s Tale. Studies in Philology, [s. l.], v. 116, n. 2, p. 209–226, 2019. DOI 10.1353/sip.2019.0008. Disponível em: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=hlh&AN=135826380. Acesso em: 20 out. 2020.
    • AMA:
      Caldwell EM. Love’s (and Law’s) Illusions in Chaucer’s Franklin’s Tale. Studies in Philology. 2019;116(2):209-226. doi:10.1353/sip.2019.0008
    • APA:
      Caldwell, E. M. (2019). Love’s (and Law’s) Illusions in Chaucer’s Franklin’s Tale. Studies in Philology, 116(2), 209–226. https://doi.org/10.1353/sip.2019.0008
    • Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date:
      Caldwell, Ellen M. 2019. “Love’s (and Law’s) Illusions in Chaucer’s Franklin’s Tale.” Studies in Philology 116 (2): 209–26. doi:10.1353/sip.2019.0008.
    • Harvard:
      Caldwell, E. M. (2019) ‘Love’s (and Law’s) Illusions in Chaucer’s Franklin’s Tale’, Studies in Philology, 116(2), pp. 209–226. doi: 10.1353/sip.2019.0008.
    • Harvard: Australian:
      Caldwell, EM 2019, ‘Love’s (and Law’s) Illusions in Chaucer’s Franklin’s Tale’, Studies in Philology, vol. 116, no. 2, pp. 209–226, viewed 20 October 2020, .
    • MLA:
      Caldwell, Ellen M. “Love’s (and Law’s) Illusions in Chaucer’s Franklin’s Tale.” Studies in Philology, vol. 116, no. 2, Spring 2019, pp. 209–226. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1353/sip.2019.0008.
    • Chicago/Turabian: Humanities:
      Caldwell, Ellen M. “Love’s (and Law’s) Illusions in Chaucer’s Franklin’s Tale.” Studies in Philology 116, no. 2 (Spring 2019): 209–26. doi:10.1353/sip.2019.0008.
    • Vancouver/ICMJE:
      Caldwell EM. Love’s (and Law’s) Illusions in Chaucer’s Franklin’s Tale. Studies in Philology [Internet]. 2019 Spring [cited 2020 Oct 20];116(2):209–26. Available from: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=hlh&AN=135826380