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Are There Many Ways That Themes And Symbols Can Be Shown In Stories

Geoffrey Chaucer uses many different themes, symbols and styles in writing all of tales in The Canterbury Tales. By using these things, Geoffrey utilizes several specific symbols to illustrate various central themes. The characters in the tales make the same mistakes that ordinary people would make, and they receive the same or even worse consequences. One message that is portrayed is greed can make people to evil actions. An example of this is in “The Pardoner’s Tale,” when the three friends wind up killing each other because of their greed for the money.

The second message that is displayed is that one should be careful when meeting strangers and to be cautious of the sincerity of false flattery from those that one does not know. For example, in “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale,” Chanticleer falls for false flattery from Sir Russell Fox, but then he gets even with him when he to uses it to trick Sir Russell Fox. The third and last message that is shown is that reformation in a person can occur because of some type of punishment.

This theme occurs in ” The Wife of Bath,” in that the lady that the knight has to marry is old and ugly, but because of this punishment of having to marry her, he eventually starts to like her. As shown with the three friends in “The Pardoner’s Tale”, greed stabs friends in the back and deceives them into doing wrong. There are two occasions in which the three friends plot against each other so one may receive more money than the others may. First of all, the three friends find a collection of gold coins under a tree, which they decide should be theirs and they choose to try to take it.

They realize that they can not take the coins during the day because people will assume they are robbers. After figuring out a plan, one friend goes to town to get supplies for the others. While he is gone the two other friends talk and plot actions to occur when he returns. The one friend says to the other, ” You see that we are two, And two are twice as powerful as one. Now look; when he comes back, get up in fun To have a wrestle; then, as you attack, I’ll up and put my dagger through his back While you and he are struggling, as in game; Then draw your dagger too and do the same.

Then all this money will be ours to spend, Divided equally of course, dear friend. ” (Page 163 line 166-174) By them both agreeing to this, they believe that they will have more money to split between the two of them by killing the other one. This is proof that they are greedy because all three of them found the money and each one deserves their share of the money. Plus they are all friends with eachother and should be splitting the money, not trying to stab each other in the back in order for them to get more money. The next example showing how greed can deceive friends is portrayed when the friend goes into town.

As the other two were plotting a plan, so was the friend that went to town. However, none of them thought that the other friend would also be plotting kill them. He slyly says to himself, ” And so the Fiend, our common enemy, Was given power to put it in his thought That there was always poison to be bought, And that with poison he could kill his friends. To men in such a state the Devil sends Thoughts of this kind, and has a full permission To lure then on to sorrow and perdition, For this young man was utterly content To kill them both and never to repent. Page 164 line 186-195)

Although this plan may seem to be errorless because he is the only one to know, greed is the power that drives him into trying to complete this task. Unfortunately both the plans that the friends thought of both backfire because neither of them thought the other friend would be planning to kill them. When he gets back from town, they start to wrestle with him. While wrestling, they stab and kill him. Then to celebrate their victory, they drink the wine, which is really poison. Next both of them die and no one gets the money.

These killings would not have taken place had it not been the greed of all the friends because of the newfound money. In conclusion neither of the friends would have died if the money they found didn’t turn their friendship into greed. One should be careful when false flattery comes from those that one does not know well or at all. By using false flattery, one can get himself or herself into or out of trouble when meeting a new character which is shown in “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale”. There are two instances in which false flattery gets Chanticleer into and out of trouble.

The first of the two occasions that Chanticleer is able to get into trouble and escape it is when Sir Russell Fox tries to coax him into singing. During the day, Chanticleer dreams that while singing a fox grabs him and runs into the woods to eat him. He believed that the dream was just nothing because he knew that gas or an upset stomach would cause bad dreams. So Chanticleer took no note of the dream and didn’t believe it would happen to him. As Chanticleer was standing in the garden, something started to head towards him.

It was Sir Russell Fox trying to enter the garden. Once the roaster sees Sir Russell Fox coming over, Sir Russell Fox says “Truly I came to do no other thing Than just to lie and listen to you sing. You have as merry a voice as God has given To any angel in the courts of Heaven; To that you add a musical sense as strong As had Boethius who was skilled in song. There never was a singer I would rather Have heard at dawn than your respected father. All that he sang came welling from his soul And how he put his voice under control!

The pains he took to keep his eyes tight shut In concentration – then the tip-toe strut, The slender necks stretched out, the delicate beak! No singer could approach him in technique I’ve read the story in Burnel the Ass. ” (Page 153 lines 484-494) With the fox using some impressive words toward Chanticleer and his singing abilities, Chanticleer decides to sing for him. While singing the fox has a chance to seize Chanticleer when he sings, because whiling singing he closes his eyes like his father did.

As the fox uses more and more false flattery towards Chanticleer, he is less sacred and concentrates more on singing for Sir Russell Fox. While singing the fox snatches Chanticleer and runs away with him into the woods. Everyone panics and chases after the fox to try and get back Chanticleer. Another example of false flattery in ” The Nun’s Priest’s Tale” is when Chanticleer uses it to free himself from danger. The fox takes him into the forest so he can eat him. But before that happens, Chanticleer starts to convince Sir Russell Fox into doing something.

Chanticleer declares, ” Sir Fox, if I were you, as God’s My witness, I would round upon these clods And shout, ‘ Turn back, you saucy bumpkins all! A very pestilence upon you falls! Now that I have in safety reached the wood Do what you like, the cook is mine for good; I’ll eat him there in spite of every one. ” (Page 156 lines 593 -600) Now this time Chanticleer is able to use false flattery to get him out of the trouble. He tells the fox, he should mock the others by calling them names to make them even madder and to like rubbing it in their face.

By the fox believing this, he tries to talk and in trying to talk he opens his mouth. As Sir Russell Fox opens his mouth, Chanticleer quickly falls to the ground and runs to safety. If the fox had never opened his mouth, he would still have Chanticleer for his meal. Overall, false flattery can be used in two ways. It can be used as in Sir Russell Fox outsmarting Chanticleer into singing or as Chanticleer manipulating Sir Russell Fox into opening his mouth so Chanticleer can run away. Sometimes a punishment can lead to a result in a person improving him or herself.

The reformation or rehabilitation of a man can change from bad to good, as in ” The Wife of Bath. ” Through out the story the knight changes from bad when he first meets his wife until he changes into good when he lets her choice what she wants to be. As the story begins, the knight rapes a young lady and in doing so is sentenced to die or life in jail. But in order to let him live, the Queen tells him that he has one year to find what women desire the most and if he finds out he can have his life back. In trying to accomplish this task, many women tell him many different things that they want most.

When he comes to an old lady she promises to tell him what women want most as long as he does her a favor if it is in his power. The answer that she gives him is that women desire domination over their husbands. When the knight visits the Queen his answer is correct and the old lady asks for them to get married. The knight is in shock and does not believe what has just happened. In reply he sadly says, “Alas and woe is me! I know quite well that such was my promise. For the love of God ask for something else; take all my property and let my body go. No, my damnations!

Alas, that any of my birth should ever be so foully disgraced! But it was all for nothing; the end was this, that he was forced to accept the fact that he must needs wed her; and he took his old wife and went to bed. ” (Page 231) By the lady asking him to marry her he gets extremely upset and doesn’t want to fulfill her wish. His reasons are that she was old, ugly, and poor. The knight is the total opposite because none of these characteristics belong to him. However, no matter how much he dislikes her he still has to marry her. To the knight, marrying her would be a huge punishment.

Next, even though it was against his will, they still got married and after a while a problem comes up between them. She sees how unhappy he is and decides to give him two choices of what he wishes her to be. They are for her to be young, beautiful, and unfaithful or old, ugly, and honest. To these choices he replies, “My lady and my love, and wife so dear, I put myself under your wise control; you yourself choose which may be most pleasurable and most honorable to you and to me also. I don’t care which of the two I get; for whatever pleases you suffices for me. Page 239)

By now his personality values have changed because he has been with her for sometime now and has had really no choice in what he wants. But now she has given him the chance for her to become what ever he wants. Since he told her to pick which one she would rather be, he gave her what women desire most as in the domination over their husbands. He has gotten over the fact that she may not be the prettiest or the youngest but he still can love her. Since he has changed from when he has first meet her, he tells her that it is her decision because no matter what she may be or look like, he still can love her.

With him saying this, she decides to be a little of both. She will be honest, young, and beautiful. This makes the both of them very pleased to be with each other. In The Canterbury Tales, several themes are portrayed to show different themes, which Geoffrey tries to demonstrate. The theme and symbol from “The Pardoner’s Tale,” is that greed may convince people to do wrong, while at the same time, and be stabbing a friend in the back. Next, in “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale,” the theme is to be cautious and careful of the sincerity of flattery from those that one does not know.

Lastly, in “The Wife of Bath,” punishment can result in a person improving and redeeming himself or herself. Or they can also change from bad to good because of a certain punishment they have received. By using all these different types of writing in his stories, Chaucer tries to demonstrate themes and symbols, which a person may encounter in one’s life. Stories are used to show that symbols are ways to represent or show various themes in literature. Finally, throughout all these tales there are consequences for peoples actions, which means that no task shall ever get over looked.

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