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Barron's Booknotes-The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer-Free Book Notes
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ANSWERS

TEST 1

1. B
2. C
3. B
4. A
5. A
6. C
7. B
8. B
9. A
10. C

11. The two knights can change their imprisoned state, but only if fortune smiles on them. Remember when Arcite is sighing that Palamon has all the luck because he is in jail, while Palamon moans that Arcite is so fortunate because he is free? Both depend on outer forces to free them: Arcite on Perotheus' love and Theseus' mercy, Palamon on "a friend" (line 610) to break out of prison. Fortune is the roller coaster that men see as the agent that satisfies or denies their desires.

But we're told that things happen because of fate (line 608). That is the truth behind fortune, which men can't see but only guess. That's why, when Palamon asks Venus for Emelye's love while Arcite petitions Mars, each thinks he has received a sign that he will win. In fact, the end is already determined, as we see in the scene between Saturn and the other gods/planets.


12. Theseus represents the order and justice of the divine order, a justice that is tempered with mercy. Examples of his mercy includes letting the two Theban knights live, letting Arcite go free, and letting them live a second time. We see his compassion as far more objective than the selfish, almost childish squabbling that goes on between the two knights. Another indicator is that Theseus sets great store by ritual and ceremony, which are symbols of order in the world.

13. The Millers Tale, for all its crudeness, sticks to the idea that there is a right and wrong way to do things. Alison may be wrong in choosing Nicholas over Absalom, or in choosing anyone at all other than her husband, but each of them gets his just deserts based on his actions and desires. Getting what you deserve was considered an indication of divine order and rightness. We get a sense of vindication, for instance, when Nicholas gets burned and Absalom farted on. We are also led to believe that the "rewards" each one gets are inevitable.

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