Morals and society complement each other in that for a given society to stand firm
Morals and society complement each other in that for a given society to stand firm, its members need to observe the set standards that govern organization, interactions and coexistence within the social group. In majority of social settings these morals or standards act like laws with which violation comes with a defined responsibility or cost to the errant in a bid to help him/her straighten ways and be accepted back to the society. Family forms the basic unit of a given social system as it is the source of society’s continuity and through procreation and nurturing of children such that the survival and future of that particular setting is guaranteed. The family institution is grounded by marriage; the institution of two individuals or partners with an aim of procreating and nurturing the wellbeing of their children while observing the set standards by the society. Romance on the other hand strengthens the marriage institution as a subset of love; a virtue necessary for the coexistence of family members and society at large. Majority of the society members will always look forward to love from family members and society at large and romance from their partners with which not only serves as the basic course of occupations but basis of identification and a sense of belonging. Romance and love comes with responsibilities for each of the stakeholders which vary with gender and the aspirations of the specific unit that is the family or the society (Heng, 2). The Wife of Bath and the Knight’s tales revolve around romance, love, relationships and the responsibilities that come with each set of relationships; appreciative and punitive and this paper will seek to compare and contrast the two tales with reference to thematic presentation, morals and responsibilities, love and romance.
Socially, the two tales bring out the importance of love and romance to the survival of the society in that lack of romance and love can lead to social vices which have long term repercussions to the errant and the society. For instance, in the Wife of Bath’s tale a knight who had raped a fair young maiden is faced with death penalty according to the society’s set standards and which sets path for the repercussions he faces in the tale. In the Knight’s tale the importance of love and romance in for social identity and sense of belonging is brought out whereby cousins Arcite and Palamon; who were imprisoned by Theseu, the Duke of Athens after inventions against Creon, falls in love with the same girl, Emelye. The power and value relationships, romance, love and the quest for identity and sense of belonging are brought out in the hate that these two cousins develop for each other over the girl and the “mass judicial tournament” that they engage in all for the winner to give the girl a hand in marriage. Though the scenarios in the two tales differ in the perspective of the responsibilities, they converge to one point of romance and love and the need for identity. For instance, in the Wife of Bath’s tale responsibilities assigned to the knight are punitive compared to the Knight’s tale which though punitive in the sense of mass tournament, they are appreciative in that the end results are explicitly defined.
Thematically the two tales differ in that the Wife of Bathcritically evaluates the value of romance and details aspects of society’s aspirations such as antifeminism, behavior in marriage, economics of love and female dominance unlike the Knight’s tale which focuses much on romance. For instance, in the Wife of Bath, when the Knight was about to be prosecuted, Queen Guinevere intercedes and passes the judgment instead of the king; a move that introduced the aspects of female dominance, sought out to bring out the role of women in the society and their influence in matters of love and marriage, and sexuality themes. For example, when the knight was asked to discover for the queen what women desire most, for exchange of death penalty he was to receive; it is through the help of an old hag who brings out the women/female dominance and antifeminism aspects, the behavior in marriage as portrayed when the knight gives her a hand in marriage, and romance in the sex and lollardy themes.The Knight’s tale on the other hand concentrates on the quest for romance as the activities involved do not unearth other societal aspects as in the Wife of Bath.
Societal morals and responsibilities converge in the two tales in that they revolve around the societal expectation and the defined responsibilities to achieving them or the punitive responsibilities in case of violation. In the Wife of Bath tale, the knight receives punitive responsibilities for the violation of the society’s values when he raped a maiden whereas in the Knight’s tale, the two cousins have to engage in a mass tournament; a traditional show of braveness and masculinity for a defined price, in order to claim love of Emelye. The convergence of the morals is critically brought out in the two tales in that in the beginning, the two cousins were imprisoned after the Duke’s invention against Creon and in the Wife of Bath the knight was about to be prosecuted for the vice he had perpetrated. Though the perspective of the responsibilities differ in the two tales, they converge on the accountability aspect such that as members of the society one has to work hard to achieve something and in case of negligence one has to work harder as a sign of repentance.
Love and romance as the key backgrounds of the two tales further diverges the conceptual approaches by the poets in that for the Wife of Bath the focus is on the marriage setup unlike in the Knight’s tale whose focus is personal and individualistic. For instance, in the Wife of Bath activities revolve around the power of women in understanding the society’s problems that is, the old Han identified what women desired, and to the end her charisma on handling the knight when she asked him for a hand in marriage shows female dominance and the power they have in influencing family and marriages. For the Knight’s tale the focus is on the individual gains and focus on the extremes and activities that individuals are willing to engage in for individual gains without the reflection of what would happen in their future lives or society’s.
The two tails achieve much relevance in addressing aspects of love and romance, relationships and responsibilities involved in each phenomenon and though they differ in thematic presentation, their ideologies converge in sensitizing the need to observe society’s norms and influences of love and romance.
Heng, Geraldine. Empire of Magic: Medieval Romance and the Politics of Cultural Fantasy. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003. Internet resource