The Canterbury Tales: The Merchant’s Tale - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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The Canterbury Tales: The Merchant’s Tale

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  1. The Canterbury Tales:The Merchant’s Tale Gianna Romero February 7, 2011

  2. Overview • Story of adultery • January, a blind old knight, wants to get married • He marries a young woman named May • May cheats on him with January’s squire, Damian • January catches them, but May convinces him it’s not true • The two continue life as a married couple

  3. Characters: January • January is a knight who is about sixty years old • January is blind • Lived a life of loose relationships • Very wealthy • Has two brothers • Deeply in love with his wife, May

  4. Characters: May • Young woman who marries January • Isn’t impressed by January’s passionate advances • Eventually falls for Damian • Very clever • Cheats with Damian and still manages to keep January

  5. Characters: Damian • Young squire of January • Completely in love with May, even before the marriage • Has a close relationship with January • Cheats with May

  6. Characters: Placebo and Justinus • The brothers of January • Placebo is a courtier • Justinus has a wife • Apparently doesn’t enjoy life as a married man • Placebo supports January’s desires to marry • Justinus doesn’t support January’s decision

  7. Plot • The merchant starts by introducing different views on marriage • He thinks marriage is a blessing • Others think marriage is a waste • Makes references to Biblical women who show the positive side of marriage

  8. Plot (cont.) • January is introduced • Wants a solid, holy relationship • Calls his friends to tell them about his desire • His friends have mixed feelings about this • Among his friends are Placebo and Justinus • Placebo says that January is wise enough to make his own decisions and thinks the marriage is a good idea • Justinusdoesn’t approve of January’s sudden decision • More thought should be put into marrying a young woman • In the end, everyone else agrees that January should get married

  9. Plot (cont.) • At first, January has a hard time choosing a wife • Eventually sets his heart on a young woman named May • He gathers his friends again to tell them the news • January is afraid he might enjoy his marriage too much • He thinks this might stop him from getting to heaven • Justinus mockingly gives him solutions to this • He suggests January repents for this before dying • January might not actually enjoy the marriage at all • Placebo and Justinus go out to arrange the marriage

  10. Plot (cont.) • January and May have a joyous wedding • The merchant introduces Damian the squire • Damian harbors very intense feelings for May • That night, January and May consummate their marriage • May isn’t impressed • Eventually, January realizes Damian hasn’t visited them yet • The other squires tell January that Damian is sick • January suggests that May should go visit Damian • Damian gives May a small purse before she leaves • Contains a letter explaining his feelings towards her • Tells her not to share it with anyone

  11. Plot (cont.) • May secretly reads the letter and disposes of it afterwards • She ends up falling in love with Damian as well • May comes up with a plan to meet with Damian • This plan is put into action one day in January’s garden • Damian hides in the pear tree of the garden • After talking and strolling, May decides she is hungry and wants a pear • January boosts her up to the tree, where Damian hoists her up • Damian and May get intimate in the tree

  12. Plot (cont.) • The god Pluto sees this and feels bad for January • Pluto restores January’s eyesight • January is extremely angry when he sees May and Damian • May tells January that he’s mistaken • Claims she was told that she could correct January’s eyesight by struggling with a man in a tree • January continues to insist that he clearly sees May and Damian in the tree • She manages to convince him that the “cure” isn’t working and that he’s wrong • January believes her, and the two return to their home