The Canterbury Tales Essay

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In the following essay, Harwood defends his assertion that "Chaucer was creating a human being" when constructing the character of the Wife of Bath.

The sad note some hear in the voice of the Wife of Bath can be interpreted as "die letzte Süsse in den schweren Wein," a hint of sourness showing that, with age, her deep enjoyments have begun to turn. From the viewpoint of those who understand the Wife as a stock character, this sad note, if not attributed to critical ingenuity, is assimilated to the Wife's type as a picturesque, individuating detail or as the bitter recognition, coming amidst our common celebration of the created world, that time holds us "green and dying." Her "allas!," then, would be "the song of the indestructibility of the people," "of the finite with the vulgar interstices and smells, which lies below all categories." However, to...

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This section contains 5,728 words
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The Canterbury Tales from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.