The Merchant's Tale Context

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  • Merchant's Tale Context
    • Chaucer's Life and Work
      • elected as a member of parliament in 1386 for Kent
      • fought in the Hundred Year's War in France in 1359 when he was a teen, ransomed by king
      • married Philip Roet in 1366 who was lady in waiting at royal household, improved social status
      • began Canterbury Tales in 1387 where people go on a pilgrimage
      • fluent in Italian due to merchant father's Genoese trading partners, lived there
      • raised as a royal servant
    • Attitudes to Women
      • A housewife helped make a living by spinning wool, brewing ale or baking bread in order to sell and make money
      • Christian convents allowed women to educate themselves while working in a religious role
      • poor women had more liberties as noble women had share in estate and were controlle
      • violation of virginity brought dishonour, women blamed for ****, noble women would be disowned
      • Wives of merchants were able to keep accounts, manage the business records and tend to shops
      • women were blamed for the original sin and were oppressed for it
    • Attitudes to Marriage
      • laws on who and how you could've sex with, premarital sex had death penalty
      • marriage only ended through death or disproving legality of marriage
      • people didn't marry for love but for social standards
    • Attitudes to Societal Structure
      • Peasants hated their place and revolted in 1381 for a reduction in taxesa change to treatment and position in ranking
      • peasants working on farms could demand for higher wages due to Black Death deaths
      • large divide between rich and poor, merchants were new in society


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