“The Man of Law’s Tale” 9/29

Chaucer’s “The Man of Law’s Tale” certainly diverted my expectations. From the description of the Man of Law in the “General Prologue,” I hardly expected a tale centered around religion. In the “General Prologue,” the narrator describes the Man of Law, saying, “Ther was also, ful riche of excellence . . . / Therto he koude endite and make a thyng / Ther koude no wight pynche at his writyng . . .” (311-326). The Man of Law is an educated and skilled writer. Surely, he can come up with a wonderful story. However, the Man of Law says the only story he has is one he heard from some merchants. I think it is interesting that he chooses not to tell an original story. It may reflect the nature of his character; he uses law and various related texts for his occupation. As a result, it can be said that the Man of Law uses outside resources for his personal benefit.

I also think it is interesting that in the tale, Sathan acts in the place of Fortune. The Man of Law says, “Sathan, that evere us waiteth to bigile, / Saugh of Custance al hire perfeccioun, / And caste anon how he myghte quite hir while . .” (582-584). Instead of Fortune’s wheel, where you may rise to good or fall to bad fortune, Sathan only exists to trick and harm. However, it only makes sense to have Sathan as a greater force because this tale is told in a Christian context.

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