The discourse of seduction and intrigue
Linguistic strategies in three fabliaux in the Canterbury Tales
This paper focuses on the interaction between the characters in three of Chaucer’s fabliaux — the Miller’s Tale, the Merchant’s Tale and the Shipman’s Tale — from the perspective of historical dialogue analysis. All tales tell a different version of seduction, intrigue and adultery. The plot development is studied through the characters’ speeches, with particular attention to the use of politeness strategies and emotional language. These features are related to character description and genre expectations. The analysis shows that the wives in the Canterbury Tales fabliaux intentionally mislead and divert their husbands by changing into a polite and endearing mode of conversation, while the husbands tend to be consistent in their way of speaking to their wives throughout the story.
Published online: 25 January 2002
Cited by 1 other publications
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