Jenifer Sutherland
January 9



January 9

The Creation of Eve

by Sinem Askin


Today we started off class with a mini discussion about our Christmas’s tests. Professor Sutherland said there were 10 individuals she would like to see concerning their test/grade. Our Professor has also kindly added extra office hours (only this week) this Tuesday from 2-4 pm at Ned’s Café. She strongly urges people to come and see her! Prof. Sutherland handed out a sign up sheet in regards to the mini report assignment this semester. Anyone who does not get a spot on the list should see Professor Sutherland during her office hours or should email her ASAP. Professor Sutherland pointed out that some students email accounts were rejecting her mass email to the entire class. Anyone who is not receiving her emails should see her during the break, or at the end of class or during her office hours. Last but not least, GOOD LUCK to Amy!!! Amy will not be attending lectures for a couple of weeks due to her mass amount of exams!!

Professor Sutherland began the lecture with a brief background introduction to the Canterbury Tales. The Canterbury Tales contains a wide variety of genres and is a tale about several pilgrims telling 2 stories each on their way to Canterbury. Prof. Sutherland then asked the class what is meant by fragments? The Canterbury Tales survived with ten fragments and the General Prologue is one of them. There are 82 manuscripts but only 55 of them were completed. Manuscripts are produced by hand and there are only six early versions printed. Manuscripts are very complicated to read however there was one manuscript known as the "Ellesmere" that had beautiful illuminating characters of the medieval ages that can be found at California. One group of manuscripts is in the same order as in our Riverside textbook. For example all the main stories follow each other and each set of characters, such as the reeve, miller and cook are always together. Sometimes there are even little disputes or these little sparks between characters such as the pardoner and the wife of bathe that makes parts of the tales more interesting. Prof. Sutherland then asked the class if the portraits in the General Prologue fit the tales to each particular character? Today’s lecture would answer this question as we read through the General Prologue and the Knight’s Tale.

D.W Robertson believed there were more philosophical characters. Julie Man (I think I have the name wrong there) said there is a genre called the estate satire. This meant that each portrait represented an estate (an occupation) and these would be very stereotypical. However today lots of our stereotypes are based around nationality.

Prof Sutherland then wrote the 4 humors on the black board. She stated that philosophy and psychology were joined together and these 4 humors came from the psychology end.
1. Melancholic: black bile > cold > tendency to depression
2. Choleric: yellow > hot > hot tempered
3. Phlegmatic: white > wet > hard to get going
4. Sanguine: blood > dry > easy going
Each of these humors is formed by the combination of each. These 4 humors also would not be unknown to Aristotle.


The Astrology Chart had a major influence on physicians. They would only make decisions under the sign you were born under. For example if you were born under Jupiter and the planets did not correspond at that particular moment then the doctor would say "I am sorry, there is nothing I can do for you at the moment." This was also discussed in the Consolation of Philosophy, air went up and earth was down. The body was a microcosm of the cosmos. Macrocosm>Cosmos. Medicine philosophy and psychology all inter locked with each other. People looked at this stuff very seriously and argued about it a lot. This can been seen in the Consolation of Philosophy, Book 3 pages 372 at the bottom of the page.

Professor Sutherland then addressed the class that the House of Fame also had parts of the Canterbury Tales introduced. She asked the class what the pillars were held by or what was written along these pillars? The stores of Virgil, Homer and all the great classical authorities were imprinted along them. This can been seen in lines 121-140. Prof. Sutherland directly pointed out that in the House of Rumor, the characters from the Canterbury Tales were introduced. The pilgrims were all alone and each of them had their own backpacks that were full of lies. The narrator who is Chaucer himself is a dreamer. In the House of Fame peoples rumors sway back and fourth and the narrator is trying to learn more about other countries when all of a sudden he hears a loud bang. This loud bang means its news about love. Everyone is jumping, hoping and crawling all over each other to see and find this great news. This is where Chaucer comes to meet the man of great authority. This is really the introduction to the Canterbury Tales.

Professor Sutherland then ends her background discussion to the Canterbury Tales and begins reading out to the class the opening lines of the General Prologue.

General Prologue:

All of these pilgrims meet at a Tavern in the month of April (month of Easter). Usually this is a time when people confess their sins. A pilgrimage is a religious journey undertaken for penance and grace. The General Prologue is also introduced as when time flows and when birds mate. Professor Sutherland begins to read the opening lines of the General Prologue. Zephirus is the west wind and also very sweet. This is the time when birds are in love and are loosing sleep over it. Around this time of year, the narrator says, people begin to feel the desire to go on a pilgrimage. Many devout English pilgrims set off to visit shrines in distant holy lands. Prof. Sutherland then asked who was the Holy Bliss of Martyr? Answer: Thomas Becket. The setting so far in the General Prologue is very beautiful. The zodiac signs with the love sickness in the spring create a beautiful picture in the readers mind. However the love suddenly shifts in a higher plain and is associated with the divine love. This is a crucial shift that goes on in the Canterbury Tales because it goes from sacred to profane. It’s by adventure and chance that these 29 pilgrims came at the same time as the narrator of the story. This is very much how their pilgrimages took place, they went on a journey, and they would get on a ship and meet new people. As soon as the narrator meets these other pilgrims he quickly attaches himself with them and they happily agree to let him join them.

Professor Sutherland reads on, lines 35 and so fourth. . Before continuing the tale, the narrator declares his intent to list and describe each of the members of the group, for example what they are wearing and what social degree they came from. The narrator's declaration that he will tell us about the "condicioun," "degree," and "array" (dress) of each of the pilgrims suggests that his portraits will be based on objective facts as well as his own opinions. He spends considerable time characterizing the group members according to their social positions. There were 3 orders, often called estates.
1. The Belletores, the ones who fight
2. The Pecatores, the ones who pray
3. The Labortores, the ones who work.
Chaucer was writing the Canterbury Tales during the time of the plague, 1348-1349, also known as the Black Death. In fact in 1385 Richard the 2nd used war as an excuse to get money and this was the end of the feudalism. The pilgrims could make more money from traveling to estate to another estate. In 1381 there was taxes on the poor.

The Knight fits perfectly into the Belletores estate and is very much interested in the money of the court. Money at the time was changing everything. Professor Sutherland begins to read at line 43 with the introduction of the Knight. The Knight was an old fashioned and chivalrous Knight.

Professor Sutherland continues to read. He was a holy but experienced warrior who fought many battles. The names of these battles can be seen in lines 65 and so fourth. The Knight always had a worthy fight. He might have been vicious on the battlefield but deep inside he was a gentle man. The Knight conducts himself in a polite and mild fashion, never saying an unkind word about anyone. His horse on the one hand was not over dressed. He himself was wearing clothes made out of rough cloth and he came straight out of battle to set fourth on the pilgrimage. Chaucer goes on to say that he has not done things in the order they should be, but when he introduces the host, line 749, he says he has a sense of decorum and is a good host with good cheer. The host offers his strongest wines and gets everyone to drink together. Professor Sutherland continues to read on at lines 751 and she adds that order was considered very important. There was someone called the Hall Marshall who would guide you directly to your seat. While everyone was adding up what they owe at the Tavern, the host gives fourth his "good" idea. Professor Sutherland added that "quit or quite" meant to pay back, to free or to make things even. The host makes an offer to the pilgrims to make the pilgrimage more fun and entertaining as they ride along to Canterbury and he swears this on his father’s soul, for he is dead. He asks them if they agree to listen and hear him out and all the pilgrims answer, "YES"! He states that each pilgrim is to tell 2 tales. Chaucer decided that two was a lot and they only told one each instead. The reward for whoever told the best tale was super paid by everyone else and whoever did not cooperate would pay all the expenses. All the pilgrims drink together agreeing to this and for him to be the leader. Professor Sutherland begins to read at line 824 when the pilgrims are beginning to ride off on their pilgrimage. Here they know its time for someone to begin with the first tale but they must decide who will go first. The leader decided to draw straws and the Knight won the game. The knight begins to start his tale happily.

Professor Sutherland then calls for BREAK! The Professor reminds the class again about her office hours only for this Tuesday from 2-4 at Ned’s Café. She also stated that anyone who is going to leave class early should pick up their tests before they depart.

Professor Sutherland begins class after break discussing that the theme this year is we have adaptations and remakes of movies all the time. For example the biggest hit last year and this year is, Lord of the Rings. People traveled out with little groups, for example Frodo and Sam from the Lord of the Rings.
Back to the General Prologue, Chaucer is always repeating the same lines "I can not tell you this now or at least not the entire story as of yet." Chaucer does this because he maintains his authority throughout the Canterbury Tales. In addition Chaucer is less epic then Boccaccio.

Professor Sutherland ends with her discussion of the General Prologue and begins with the introduction of the Knight’s Tale.

Knight’s Tale: Part 1

In Ancient Greece, a great conqueror named Theseus ruled the city of Athens. He married the queen of the Amazon, Queen "Ypolita." The Amazonian women would cut off their right breast so they could shoot well. In the Medieval Ages, people loved to hear stories about the Amazonians. The Queen was a very interesting woman for she had her eye on every single man. She would always be thinking in her head, "that man would be a good father." Emelye, Queen Ypolita’s youngest sister lived with her and Theseus. Again Chaucer states, "I am not going to tell you about this and that battle because I have a large field to plow and my oxen’s are weak. Professor Sutherland begins to read at line 895 and so fourth. There in the middle of the road, four women in black, crying and weeping kneel in front of Theseus's horse and weep away. Theseus being a hero wants to know immediately what the problem is and why it happened. This can be seen at line 915 and so fourth. "We be seek your mercy the older woman speaks. The eldest woman informs him that they are grieving the loss of their husbands and other men, who were killed at the city of Thebes. Creon, the lord of Thebes, has dishonored them by refusing to bury their bodies and we need your help. Theseus immediately says, "send the women to Athens, I am on my way to fight." Chaucer goes on to say I am not going to talk about this but on the one hand we see Theseus as a conqueror and on the other hand he has a merciful heart. This is how true Knights are they help the helpless. The two young Theban soldiers, Arcita and Palamon who are of royal blood, are wanted dead but instead of killing them, they are condemned to a life imprisonment in the Athenian tower. Palamon and Arcita are cousins and sworn brothers.

One early spring morning in May, Palamon awakes early, looks out the window, and sees fair-haired Emelye, Theseus's sister-in-law. Emelye, the romance heroine and also the Amazon Princess gets up early that one morning and walks around singing. Her hair is a yard long of a yellow braid down her back. As she is walking about, Palamon happens to be looking out the window and gets the sight of her, a beautiful vision like an arrow in his heart. Line 1079. Arcita thinks Palamon is pale from being in prison for a long time and tells Arcita tells him he should be patient for this is their fate. Arcita adds that they must have been born under the aspects of Saturn for Saturn represents all the causes of misfortunes and life is filled with nothing but darkness. Palamon exclaims to Arcita that he had misunderstood everything and that he is completely wrong, it is his eye that hurts him. Professor Sutherland begins to read at line 1101. He goes on to say that he does not think she is a woman he thinks she is Venus. At this moment he gets up and sighs.

Arcite peers out the window, he too falls in love with the beautiful Emelye. They argue over her, but eventually realize the futility of such a struggle when neither can ever leave the prison. He states that he loves the creature in this women and loves her for who she really. Automatically the friendship between these two cousins is stressed. They continue to argue, lines 1175. Theseus’s best friend, Perotheus, a friend also to Arcita asks for Arcita’s freedom. Theseus agrees, on the condition that Arcita be banished permanently from Athens. Arcita is suffering and cursing his fate because now he really feels as if he is in hell. This is due to the fact that he is not going to see Emelye anymore. He tells Palamon you will see her but I will see nothing but her absence. Professor Sutherland states that its best to trust in Providence, you cannot get everything you want in life and Providence is better at giving us everything then we getting it ourselves. There is a lot of Boethian philosophical meaning of choice, desire and what you want to get in life in the Knight’s Tale. Professor Sutherland asked the class who was the one talking in the end, was it Chaucer or the Knight? A question to think about! She then reads on. We finished part one and then Professor Sutherland then asked if any one had any questions so far? Susan Bond asked if Creon was from the same Creon battle? Professor Sutherland replied yes to her question, it’s a Roman version from the Greek Battle.


Part II

Part II begins with Arcita’s dream. Arcita is completely love struck and frail from lovesickness. His physical manner has completely changed and he has come down with melancholy. At this moment, Professor Sutherland draws a diagram of the human brain on the black board. There are 3 parts of the brain. The far left part of the brain is fantasy, the centerpiece is reason and the far right side is the memory. Arcita looses a lot of weight and cannot think properly. Lines 1528 is when Arcita moves away from people, sings to himself of love songs and then collapses into a meditation. This state can also be referred as "chante pleure" meaning an individual singing and then crying at moments. Each day of the week had its sign. Arcita begins singing but then falls into a dream where Mercury appears. Mercury is associated with the underworld. Mercury tells Arcita that he must go to Athens to see his lady. He realizes that he could enter the city disguised and not be recognized. He does so and takes on a job as a page in Emelye's chamber. This puts him close to Emelye but not close enough. Theseus takes notice of Arcita and puts him in his service. Palamon breaks out of prison years ago and one day crosses paths with Arcita. Arcita goes on talking about his love for Emelye. Palamon leaps out and shouts out, "You false lover!!!" Even though these two have not seen each other for years they fight like wild boars. As soon as there is love, there is no brotherhood anymore. They fought till they were pale and till there was blood up to their ankles. At this moment the mighty Theseus comes through. When Theseus sees these two warriors brutally hacking away at each other, Palamon shouts out and reveals both Arcita’s and his own identity. Palamon then states that they both should be dead. Theseus responds saying that they both are fighting without a judge and that is what the problem is about. A dual should always be socially sanctioned within social order. Palamon explains everything to Theseus and exclaims that they both should be killed for he broke out of prison years ago. Theseus declares that both will be killed on Mars. However the Queen and Emelye beg mercy and pity. Theseus the conqueror that he is, is willing to change and adjust his behaviour. Theseus adds that both men will fight till their death. Theseus still shaking from anger that he was disobeyed declares to Arcita and Palamon that they will fight in 50 weeks from that day. Each with a hundred men and whoever wins the battle will win Emelye’s hand. They all swear this together and leave as friends. This is the end of Part II

Parts III and IV

Professor Sutherland begins Part III of the Knight’s Tale by reading the first few lines. Theseus prepares for the tournament by constructing an enormous stadium. By its gate, he erects three temples to the gods—one for Venus, the goddess of love; one for Mars, the god of war; and one for Diana, the goddess of chastity. Upon the temple there is a lot of painted scenes of love. One of them being from the Parliament of Fowls based on the Romance of the Rose. In literary terms, this is called ekphrasis, when a story is told through pictures. The chaste Diana, who is an interesting choice, was in fact an Amazon woman herself. Professor Sutherland then asked the class what did Emelye want, what was her desire? A few individuals replied that she wanted to remain single, to be free, to be free in the woods and hunt all day. Professor Sutherland then asked what does society do with passions of young men? Tournament’s is the answer but what is the proper place for women? Prof. Sutherland goes on to explain that we were never told what Emelye wanted in the beginning. It is because women want what men want. Women then become a figure of absence because of this. This can be seen in line 2296. Emelye goes to the house praying that the victory will be delayed. Emelye prays and Diana appears in the form of Persimphony, the wife of Pluto. Emelye exclaims to her, what keeps me from your vengeance? She adds that she does not want to be a maid, a wife, nor to bear a child. Emelye begs her to help her and ask that the other women leave her alone. She cries, "Keep my virginity and keep it well." Diana tells her to stop for the Gods have already decided that she is doomed to be married. Emelye cries out to her and says, "I put you in my protection and this is what you do to me, this is what I get in return?" Diana had been quite clear with her but now there is going to be a battle in heaven. Saturn, the god of wisdom who acts very mature and knows many old adventures can please both and all sides. Saturn suspends the need to halt things at that very moment. Professor Sutherland continues to read. Saturn continues saying that things will work out, but there will just be a delay. Professor Sutherland goes on to add that the battle reminds her of the movie, "Gangs of New York." A very bloody battlefield. However, this battle becomes less brutal and bloody because Theseus stands up and exclaims that they will not be fighting for death. Theseus really limits the use of weapons and declares that whoever is injured first is automatically out and held captive by the other side. Professor Sutherland continues to read from the text. Line 2614. The trumpets play and the games begin. Theseus has become less of a tyrant and is becoming more of a peacemaker with in society. He is also trying to contain all of them in a civilized manner. In line 2640 Palamon is striked by Arcita. Further on in line 2652 Palamon is in distress because he is not allowed to fight anymore because he has been injured. Arcita wins the hand of Emelye. Later on a fury leaps out in front of Arcita’s horse. Arcita falls off like a dead man shattered. After all this, Arcita is still crying for Emelye and it is quite evident that he still has his wits. Theseus works very hard to make everyone happy and is trying to befriend everyone. Arcita is sick to death, he has been poisoned and cannot throw it up, and the natural causes will no longer work anymore. They send him to church where he will die. Arcita dies and all of Athens mourns his death. Again the narrator stops and says, "I will not tell you all how the trees got cut down." Even then at the funeral we don’t know what Emelye wanted. The narrator adds again that "he won’t tell us this and that." Emelye and Palamon continue to go about sorrowfully dressed in black. Theseus talks to Emelye in Boethius terms. The prime mover invented sex then death. We had the death part, the death of Arcita, but now were going to have the sex part which is the marriage union of Emelye and Palamon. Theseus being a philosopher king tells both Emelye and Palamon that you cannot change the reality of death. What we need to do is work with honour and anyone who complains is not gaining to do any good. We thank Jupiter and get married. He reminds them that God ordains that all must die, and refusal to accept death is therefore folly. Professor Sutherland continues to read the ending of part IV. The ending of part IV ends with the marriage of Emelye and Palamon as they realize the wisdom of Theseus's advice over many years. Professor Sutherland adds that the ending was really not the typical closure we were expecting. There was no satisfaction in the ending, like a hott kiss and we never really know what happens.
Professor Sutherland ends the lecture there but with a few questions in mind for next week’s class.

1. How does marriage function in a society? What are the roles between men and women?
2. What is the role of the king or ruler in be signing order in society and how does a tyrant impose it?
3. To what extent can power change?
4. How is Fortune’s role-played out in all of this?
Class ended with the remainder of tests being handed out.