The Clerk’s (Cleric’s) Tale for Thursday

Nice work in class today, seniors. You’ve eliminated 35 pages of Chaucer from your homework!

All that’s left for you to do for Thursday is to look over the story of Job (pronounce the “o” like “oh”) (here’s the text for those of you don’t have it Walter Griselda Job) and read the end of the Tale, also known as Chaucer’s envoy. Keep in mind that the speaker here (line 1142 until the end) is Chaucer himself speaking, not the Clerk.

In the comments, address the following:
-What is the allegory in the Clerk’s Tale? In other words, how is Walter and Griselda’s story allegorical to the story of Job?
-What is radical about Chaucer’s envoy? Why is this a pretty major piece of writing about women from the 1300s?

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14 thoughts on “The Clerk’s (Cleric’s) Tale for Thursday

  1. Walter and Griselda’s story is allegorical to Job due to the implications of their stories, their common themes, and the role of the characters in both stories. Walter is analogous to both God and the Devil, and Griselda is analogous to Job. God claimed Job to be a loyal Christian whom would never defy him nor curse his name. He identified Job as a “Perfect upright man” (Job 1:8). Griselda was categorized with many synonymous attributes, she is praised for the “virtuous beauty of her heart” (Chaucer 344), it also states “more often from the well than from the cask, she drank, and loving virtue, sought to please, by honest labour, not by idle ease.” Which suggests that she only drinks of water, thus her body is pure, and that she is a hard worker and will not do easy work. She was considered loyal, she not only trusted the judgment of her husband but was willing to adhere to his commands without hesitation, and without objection. God knew that Job had the conviction to do the same as Griselda. The trials both faced seemed to be separate in magnitude but equal in principal. Both of them were said to lose their children which both did. Job lost all that he had, but remained loyal. Griselda lost her children and a part of her dignity. Walter represents both the God and the Devil because he undertook the facilitation of the trials, as well as trusted in the steadfastness of his wife and her subservience to his word. Ultimately both were able to supersede their intrinsic objections to follow commands, or in Jobs case, remain convicted upon great loss. They both were rewarded for this loyalty afterwards by their respective “Gods”.
    This is a radical piece of writing because it advocated for matrimonial equality rather than patriarchy. Chaucer advised that wives not hold their tongue in subservience to their husbands, rather exalt the relevance, and importance of their opinions in a relationship and in its decisions. This is suggested when Chaucer writes “arch-wives stand up! Defend your boards and your bed!” (Chaucer 373). It also suggested that loyalty does not only lay within a woman’s ability to follow her husband’s word rather in her ability to stay true to the foundations and principals of their marriage. It also cautioned husbands to the limits of their commands and demands stating “husbands, be hardy not to assail the patience of your wives.”

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  2. Walter and Griselda’s Tale is similar to the story of Job because they both have a similar setting within the characters. The story of Job is about how God is constantly testing Job to see how faithful he is to the church and his religion. He is putting Job through many struggles. Walter, in this case, is God and Griselda is Job. Walter is trying to see if Griselda would be a faithful wife to him, by taking away her kids, starting a relationship with different women, and putting her through many different tasks.

    This is a major piece of writing about women in the 1300s because during this time, women had no control over anything. Men over looked them and did not believe that they should have no power or position at all. They were not considered as much. Chaucer is encouraging women to stand up for themselves and do everything that men said they could not do. In this example, Griselda should have stood up to Walter instead of taking in all of his tests for faith. It is not common for many people to say that, especially a man.

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  3. The allegory in Walter and Griselda’s tale is that sometimes you have to trust people instead of constantly testing them till there is nothing left to test. This story connects to the story of Job because they are both very similar. The story of Job is that Satan said the only reason that Job worships God is because God gave everyhing to Job so to test his loyalty Satan took verything away. After many test that left Job with nothing (no family, no shelter, no occupation) he still didn’t curse God, he stayed faithful and still prayed. In the end God gave him double what he had before for passing all the test and staying loyal. The story of Walter and Griselda is similar because Walter put Griselda through many horrible test to see if she will stay faithful in their marriage, in the end she did and all that suffering he put her through was basically pointless. In Chaucer’s envoy he tells women to stand up for themselves and not let men treat them like that. It is very radical to say back then because women were not even slighty equal to me. They saw women as servants or objects. So for Chaucer to tell women to stand up for themselves is very rare.

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  4. The allegory in the clerk’s tale is that no matter what the clerk does to his wife his wife will always stay faithful, even though they had a family. There both about staying faithful to what they love and griselda is about staying faithful to her family and husband. Then the job is about no matter the problem is he stays faithful to god. There both about being there no matter what happens and always keeping hope.
    Whats radical about chaucer’s envoy is that no matter what men or anybody tell you, your going to stay faithful to what you say no matter what others say. It powerful because he saw women as they can do anything a man can do back then and normally you don’t see that at all in the 1300’s. So for chaucer a normal man to see equality is super powerful. Which makes him somewhat of a feminist.

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  5. Allegories. Allegories everywhere. The clerk’s tale is an allegory because it was trying to use satire to represent the way women were being treated in this time. Based on the tale, Walter would try every test available to test Griselda of her loyalty. As all women probably did during this time, she followed every thing Walter said giving up her dignity and children in the process. Although she is rich again by the end of the tale, she actually really has nothing. Her children are given away anther dignity is lost. She was humiliated by every act and was even sent back into poverty.
    Similar to Job’s story, Job represents Griselda. Both Job and Griselda are like servants of their dominant partner. And God/Devil portraying Walter. Job listens and carries out all of his orders with no questions asked. Like Griselda, Job is repaid in being able to live a long life of family and riches. This is because they are tested on their loyalties and faithfulness to who they are serving.
    Chaucer’s writing is radical towards the 1300s because he is promoting women’s rights in a time where they were very limited. The allegory of The Clerk’s Tale is that women should stand up for themselves. Through all of the times that Griselda had to suffer, Chaucer tried to use as much sympathy as possible for the readers to understand what was wrong with society during this time. Knowing a mother’s love for her children, Chaucer mentions, “She loved her children best in every way… What more could one hard man bring into play. To test his wife’s wifehood, her steadfastness, As he persists with his hard-heartedness?” (Chaucer, 695). This allows the reader to favor and understand the treatment of women and possibly even advocate for equal women’s rights.

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  6. The allegory in the story of The Clerk, is a tricky one. Griselda was chosen by Walter to be his wife, and she must inevitably obey everything and anything Walter would want. I feel like the allegory could be, don’t believe in everything you are told. I understand that Griselda allowed everything to happen, and she did not have any choice (technically) to rebuttal, but the only way to stay alive was to be obedient. In the story of Job, it compares with Walter’s story because Satan, in Job 1:8 was asked by the Lord, if he would consider being his servant, the one who will avoid evil. In the Clerk’s tale, Walter asked Griselda to be his little wife, play toy, obedient one, and she agreed… and then she was stuck never showing any emotion with anything that ever happened especially with the children she conceived.
    The Clerk’s tale portrays the ways women were treated back in the day. Women were seen as obedient, lower than men and unable to rebuttal under any circumstance. They had no choice; she had no choice. Men took advantage of that whenever they could. As Griselda’s children kept being taken away, she could not show her pain, not even speak of it. A connection between Job and The clerks tale, is the fact that they both have to do with obedience. Women in the 1300’s were unfortunately overpowered, used and taken much advantage of, and could not do one thing about it.

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  7. Walter put his wife through multiple test. Test that range from pain to embarrassment yet in the end the wife remained faithful and was still in love with Walter even though he put her through harsh test. In the end Walter stayed with his wife who lives in the riches instead of poverty now. A wealthier and healthier life. Job stayed faithful to God even though his family members had died and him being sick. In the end God decided to reward him for his faith. The general theme between these two pieces is those who remain faithful, thick and thin, are rewarded in the end. Walter’s wife with money and love, Job’s with thousands of animals.
    In Chaucers’s envoy he is going against the social norms, ideas, limitations of his time. It is radical because that was most likely the only women empowerment kind of writing or idea of his time. He is trying to break the limitations set on women of that time.

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  8. I can’t really figure out what the main allegory in this would be. When it comes to Job’s story, God knew that Job would be faithful to him. It wasn’t really him testing Job; it was more of God giving the devil permission to test Job himself because he knew that Job would be faithful to him. Even after all these things that Job went through, even being tempted to curse his own God, he still didn’t; he still stayed faithful. Part of this does compare to Walter and Griselda of course. Walter constantly tested her and saw that she really was faithful and really was with him; with the difference that God knew his son Job would be faithful to him whereas Walter didn’t know if Griselda would be faithful to him. This showing the obedience that women had in the 1300’s. No matter what Walter put Griselda through, she was still there. This kind of showing the lack of power women had. If Griselda wouldn’t have stayed, it would’ve looked bad on her part because she was a women and Walter was the man … in the right no matter what. Weird that Chaucer wants to put the message out for women to stand their ground because this was something that wasn’t even acceptable at the time.

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  9. Walter and Griselda’s story allegorical to the story of Job because in the Walter tests Griselda’s faith in the worst kinds of way like God tested Job. So Walter could symbolize God and Grisedla symbolize Job. Like Job Griselda took all of the mistreatment from Walter and did not even leave him for it, she always made sure she met his every needs. Even after he left her she still failed to realize that she was not the one causing harm. This is like Job because he did not stop following God after all of the things he put him through and still lived his whole life serving God.
    What was radical about Chaucer’s envoy was that he was a male standing of up for women’s right which no ever thought about around that time, not even women themselves. This a major piece of writing because its empowering to women when around that time all the men had the power. So much power that no women would ever even think about standing up for themselves. Then here comes so man telling women its okay to stand up men we should not be afraid of them.

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  10. The allegory that I’ve found in the Clerk’s Tale and also in Job story is to stay true to what you believe in and what is right in other words being faithful. I say this because in both tales, job and Griselda stayed faithful to their loved one or God. They respected everything that person said and obeyed their every command. In Job’s story, no matter the situation that was put in front of him, all the challenges that Satan gave me, he was still faithful to God and staying true to his beliefs and what’s the right thing demonstarted in Job 2:10 to Job 42:7This also goes for Griselda in the Clerk’s tale. This is because she was chosen to get married by Walter. When they got married, she followed all Walter’s rules and what he said like she was a puppet and if she did as she was told she was rewarded with jewelry and other nice things. Rewarding was also demonstrated in Job’s story in Job 48:12 and 42:13, when God gave him sheep, camels, yoke of oxen etc. This demonstrates that in both stories they were faithful to their loved ones and God, obeying everything they said, but at the same time staying true to their beliefs.
    In the Clerks’s Tale it demonstrates how women were treated and acted in the 1300’s. Chaucer wanted to demonstrate that women were not free to do as they wish, but instead be manipulated by men and obeying what they’d said like they were royalty. Women were classifies as lower than men and men are more superior, so you will do as they say no matter the circumstances/ outcome. You do as you are told and no problems will occur, and you will praised. In Jobs story, he stayed in what he believed in and what God told him to do was the correct thing. That obeying what he God told will carry him to the correct path, and what he always wanted. Both stories had similiar ideas, but different situations.

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  11. The allegory in both of the stories is to be the person you want to be and not like everyone else because you are unique and it is the right thing to do. Both people in each of the stories remained faithful to their religion because in their eyes, God was a very kind and merciful being who found love in the people who followed his message to love others. When Satan tested Job to see if he would keep or renounce his faith, Job believed that God was still with him because he did not follow other people’s religions, since he believed that he was unique. The Clerk’s Tale has a similar way of testing how far people can hold on to things because Griselda followed Walter’s instructions to marry him, and remain faithful, even though he hid the children to test her loyalty.
    Chaucer’s tale for the Clerk is radical because in the story the Clerk told his wife not to listen to everything he wants because women have their own rights. It seems that Chaucer is satirising traditional marriage because it makes the woman have a subordinate role in the relationship instead of an equal partnership where the two are equal. In the 1300s, the Church still held a very influential role in controlling Europe and the Christian belief about marriage was at that time was to have women serve the needs of their husbands and always obey them. This tale still speaks something that the modern world believes is essential to a healthy marriage, which is that men and women should treat each other as equals and not as aliens.

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  12. Walter and Griselda’s story is allegorical to the story of Job because they both were about the faithfulness of the main characters. In the Job bible story, Job was put to face challenges by Satan but yet remained faithful to God. No matter what Satan did, Job continued to obey and worship God, not questioning his situation. He mentions that he came into the world with nothing and will leave with nothing, even when he had everything. Griselda’s story was also very similar since she did not leave Walter for all the mistreatment he had done to her. Hiding her kids away and she still remains faithful. The tests of faithfulness were extreme, and she still married him. It is important to stay true to yourself and not fall for the worse. They stuck to what the truly believed in.
    Similar to Dominik, what was radical about Chaucer’s envoy was the inequality of men and women. Chaucer was satirizing the role of women and how they are treated as someone who will always remain faithful no matter what. This is a major piece of writing because it shows that there is a light shown on the power of woman or the lack of power, the guy is saying it is okay to challenge their power and stand up for their beliefs.

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  13. theres a huge comparison between the two stories and thats the fact that you can fit each character of the tale into the story of job to explain what i mean basically one character from clerks tale and make them switch roles with job or his wife maybe even be god or satan. the main comparison to the story would be the topic of faithfulness because just as job was faithful too god through all the challenges that satan put him through. these stories are identical because the main teaching the main point of the story is to show the faithfulness of job to god and the reward that god gives him but it all so shows how much jobs willing to take for god because of love and how much he loves same thing goes for griselda shes beaten and put through so much but because of love she doesnt leave.

    its radical because it supported womens rights which back then no offense to the females was a joke and it condoned the behavior of women against there husbands and told them basically not to hold there speech say what you have to say it basically empowered women to really speak freely. this was radical because disobeying your spouse and acting out of ” turn ” was a really serious offense for a women to act on. he was in a way telling women to be rebellious sort of speak.

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  14. In both of these stories Walter and Griselda and Jobs i see a similar theme where one is tested and one goes above and beyond the set test or task. Griselda and Jobs are both tested for loyalty/faithfulness/Commitment. Job was put into issues and no matter the situation he was held in by Satan, he was still faithful to God. Jobs stayed true to his own beliefs. Griselda and Walter was very much alike, where as Griselda played the similar role to Jobs of the one being tested, Walter mistreated Griselda and she did not once consider leaving his side for all the cruelty he has caused her. I think the allegory or hidden meanings behind these two stories is to be true to yourself, stand for what you truly want, and don’t fall or change your perspective for things against you because what you want is what you should fight for; don’t give in.

    This a pretty major piece of writing about women from the 1300s because back in that time period women didn’t have much respect or say in anything that believed in. Women were portrayed as housewives that didn’t know much with minimal to no education. And the story showed that men weren’t always the smartest and making the correct choices, and women should have a say in what they believe because they could be right. just stand for what they believe in. it showed hope for women.

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