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Chaucer, Ethics, and Gender$
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Alcuin Blamires

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199248674

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199248674.001.0001

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Problems of Patience and Equanimity: ‘The Franklin's Tale’, ‘The Clerk's Tale’, ‘The Nun's Priest's Tale’

Problems of Patience and Equanimity: ‘The Franklin's Tale’, ‘The Clerk's Tale’, ‘The Nun's Priest's Tale’

Chapter:
(p.152) 6 Problems of Patience and Equanimity: ‘The Franklin's Tale’, ‘The Clerk's Tale’, ‘The Nun's Priest's Tale’
Source:
Chaucer, Ethics, and Gender
Author(s):

Alcuin Blamires (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199248674.003.0007

This discussion links the odd-seeming ‘glad cheer’ ascribed to Arveragus at the crux of the Franklin’s Tale with strenuous Stoic aspiration to tolerant equanimity. Arveragus attempts an equanimity that contrasts provocatively with the heroine’s (and Aurelius’s) surging emotionalism. Chaucer’s interest in the ambivalent attraction of equanimity — never comfortably embraced within the Christian virtue of patience because equanimity seemed insensitive to a religion of zealous love — emerges again in Griselda in the Clerk’s Tale. Her robust patience is in creative tension with a gendered Christian virtue of humility. Since the converse of equanimity — which is fear — is another conflicted and gendered concept, its embodiment in Troilus and Criseyde and in the Nun’s Priest’s Tale, is explored.

Keywords:   emotionalism, patience, Griselda, humility, fear, Troilus and Criseyde

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