The Lawyers Prolouge Essay, Research Paper
The Lawyer?s Prologue
In, ?The Lawyer?s Prologue?, by Geoffrey Chaucer, Chaucer mixes and tries to differ
himself in telling the story, by making it seem that the tale is being told between the actual
author and the narrator, by giving the lawyer some critical reference to Chaucer. Chaucer is
writing this trying to show as if the lawyer were to be telling the tale, and not Chaucer him
self. The majority of what the Lawyer says is not important or not of significance with the
story. The Lawyer is portrayed as dignified and formal, addressing the diverse crowd as if he
were speaking to the court.
Introduction to The Lawyer?s Prologue
The host speaks to the rest of the travelers, telling them that they can regain lost
property but not lost time. The host suggests that the lawyer tell the next tale, and he agrees
to do so, because he does not want to break his promises. He also says that the people should
keep the laws they give to other people. The host refers to Chaucer who works shallow and
writes poorly, but at the least he does not write of tales of lust. The Lawyer prepares to tell of
a tale which will include poverty, and talks of it in an affectionate and formal way.
The Lawyer?s Tale
In Syria there was a company of wealthy traders who made a journey to Rome. After
a certain time there encountered Constance the emperor?s daughter, who was famous for her
goodness and beauty. When the merchants returned to Syria, they reported to the Sultan what
they had seen; the Sultan was immediately filled with lust for this Constance. The Sultan met with his advisors and told them of what he was told and his intentions. They could find no
way for the Sultan to marry Constance. The Sultan is a Moslem, and Constance a Christian,
for no emperor would allow his daughter to marry a Moslem. The Sultan then decided to
convert to Christianity in a heavy intent to marry this beauty. With this in change, the em
peror gave Constance away to the Sultan for he was full of joy, but Constance left in sorrow
for she did not wish to live in a foreign country. She understands the connection with a
women being made to be a man?s subject, and lives on with her life. This tale commends the
sacrifice and honor of Constance the daughter of the Roman Emperor who will suffer a num
ber of injustices during the years to come for her with the Sultan. It is a religious tale which
does not reach for the subtlety of allegory. Constance depends on her religious faith for her
survival throughout her life with the Sultan. The people who do not share the Christian faith
with her are evil and cruel to her. This tale takes a small view into humanity in which Chris
tianity represents clean purity and any other religious tradition is evil.
Her virtue and honor differ from her devotion to Christian principles, while those
who posses other religious beliefs are doubtful of her. This holds true for the Syrians and the
Sultan, for which she has her life revolved around. The Lawyer describes them as jealous ans
the Sultan, lustful. He demands to marry Constance hearing only of her beauty, which leads
him to marry for lust. He desires the power that comes from her status as a Roman royalty.
The only instance where the Sultan is redeemed is when he converts to Christianity. Even
though this conversion happens, Constance is faced with the evil of the Sultan?s mother
which is shown through her devotion to her faith and the unwillingness to accept Christian
principles. Remember that the Sultan converted to Christianity, not his mother.
The Sultan?s mother and her confidants agreed never to renounce their Islamic faith,and she compared Constance with Eve, tempting her son to sinful action. The mother of the
Sultan and her advisors will pretend to accept Christianity and host a feast for the Sultan and
his new wife. During the feast, the mother had her followers massacre all the attendants.
Only Constance survived, and they put her on a boat with enough food to survive, but no
navigation gear to help her get back to Italy. Constance remained on this ship for many
years. Through her prayer she remained safe. The ship finally crashed on the shores of the
Northumberland. The warden of a nearby castle found Constance and gave her shelter, but
she refused to give her identity. He and his wife, Dame Hermengild, were pagans, but Con
stance secretly converted her to Christianity. Christians could only practice their religion pri
vately and secretly. One day, Constance, Hermengild, and her husband were walking on the
beach, and were approached by a blind Christian who identified her. Although Hermengild
feared her husband would ask her about her conversion, he to converted. The King of the
land was Alla. A young knight, who was influenced by Satan, fell in love with Consatance
and had lust for her. He wanted to be with her, but she refused. In an act of revenge, he one
night went to where she slept, aside Hermengild and her husband, split Hermengild?s throat
and placed the knife next to Constance. When the husband found out of this, Alla blamed the
murder on Constance. The people did not believe she would do such a thing, but she was to
be put to death. She prayed for a miracle, and moved by her pleas, Alla decided to make the
knight swear on the bible. When he did so, he was struck down, and his eyes burst. Seeing
this, Alla decided to convert to Christianity. Alla took Constance to be his wife. Donegild,
Alla?s mother did not like the situation and was distressed. When Alla was in Scotland, Con
them and change the letters, saying the new child was foul and wicked. Alla sends a letter
back saying he vows to love the child. Donegild intercepts it and replaces it with one that with a letter that banishes her and the child, Mauritius, on the boat they came on.
When Alla returns back home, he heres of this awful action, and kills his mother in
danger. Constance has already sailed away, and ended up in another foreign kingdom.She
came to met the warden?s steward to attempted to rape her, but fell of the boat and drowned.
The emperor of Rome had sent an army to Syria in accordance with the massacre that hap
pened. On their way home, the senator who led the army, met Constance. They brought her
back to Rome, but nobody remembered her, not even the senators wife, who was Con
stances?s aunt. With all this going on, Alla made a pilgrimage to Rome to make repentance
for what happened with his mother and his wife. The senator went to feast with King Alla,
who saw Mauritius and barely recognized him. Constance and Alla were reunited and Con
stance and her father were reunited. Alla and Constance returned to England, and Mauritius
later became Emperor of Rome.
Although Constance is compared to Eve, this is wrong. Constance does not tempt
others to sin, for those are their actions. Seeing Constance survive through all these evil ac
tions of people show her survival to be a testament of her Christian faith. This tale of the
Lawyer shows that one who glorifies Christianity and its values will overcome evil in its so
ciety. The warden and his wife prove their worthiness by conversion. It is made clear that
Christians were persecuted in England for their beliefs. Their ability to remain faithful to
Christianity becomes a loyal sacrifice, because they risk their lives by becoming Christians.
Both the Sultan?s mother and Donegild share similar characteristics. Both prevented
Constance from marrying their sons, fearful of the Christian religion that Constance brings
to their lands. Both are led to commit evil and murderous acts, to prevent their interference
with this religion which does not blend with their pagan religion. Again, it is shown how powerful the Christian faith is for Constance as she survives
an attack by a rapist through divine faith. Fate can always be found revolving a religious
story which has religious context. The examples are when the knight swears on the bible, he
suffers divine harm, and Constance is saved by prayer when attacked by the rapist. Not only
is she rewarded by God for remaining faithful by being reunited with her family, her son is
made emperor of Rome.
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