Man of Law Prologue and Parts 1 and 2

When one talks about Nature it takes into account so much more than simply the floral and fauna. Nature as according to Aristotle contains it’s own properties and rules that if follows.  Thus nature can be attached to different things both theoretical and concrete. Within this particular tale of the Canterbury Tales we are talking about different types of Natures and relationships between people and their environment.

To begin Man of Law sets up the idea nature and universe of the tale have a particular set Nature that is determined by a higher being. It is a world that is predestined:

190          Paraventure in thilke large book
191          Which that men clepe the hevene ywriten was
192          With sterres, whan that he his birthe took,
193          That he for love sholde han his deeth, allas!
194          For in the sterres, clerer than is glas,
195          Is writen, God woot, whoso koude it rede,
196          The deeth of every man, withouten drede.

The cosmos is determined by God everything is Nature is controlled then by God? But doesn’t this go against the ideas that everything and everyone has their own particular rules they follow. Perhaps it is meant to say that this universe of the Man of Law’s Tale is one in which each individual being has possibilities to develop their personality and human-ness but the events that the universe will thrown at them whether it be of good or bad fortune be set in stone.

The tale is wrapped in a prologue that is basically a description of what it is like being poor in the Medieval Ages. It is a state of fluctuation, where:

120          If thou be povre, thy brother hateth thee,
121          And alle thy freendes fleen from thee, allas!

The friends that claim to be your friends don’t really approve of you, maybe for fear that you will burden their lives asking for favours. Regardless there is a certain Nature to being poor. There are rules that one must follow and adhere to when in poverty in order for the world to run. Attaching christianity to ideas that different states of living has certain rules that are determined by God could be why people under suppression ‘stay in their places ‘ for so long.

I think there is a suggestion in this tale that should misfortune befall you or another human being there is a certain expectation that one should react to their environment. If it be misfortune and constant and endless wandering of the sea, then one must grin and bear it. Much like our Lady Constance, with her pious, kind and humble nature, one must look upon those most unholy of situation with poise and prayer. She who was taken away from everything she knew to be sent to a Sultan in a foreign land, where suddenly all those who have travelled with her were mercifully slain at the hands of some evil mother; who was sent adrift into sea only to come across friendships and be accused of murdering someone whom she loved dear; to yet again come across an evil mother in law who sent her back adrift into the sea with her young bebe – and regardless of all this poverty and ill will in her life still be seen as beautiful, and devout. It is satirical almost.

For both times she was cast into sea and the root of all the trouble that keeps occur stem in the fact that she is both beautiful and devout. It is her beauty that sends her to the Sultan. It is her Christianity that prompts and convinces the Sultan’s mother and council to act in an act of evil. It is the conversion of her son that also prompts mother of Alla the king to send her and Custance baby packing.

If it is true that Christianity is the natural religion within the earth… then why is it so destructive as it meets with different religions?




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