Monday, February 3, 2014

The opposite of attraction

Sidney’s argument is that poetry is more potent in preserving history and philosophy and provoking a change in the emotions of the population than simply talking about it. Poetry is the action of creating another reality for the ethics that can be developed to show a good example. A problem with out-right saying the problems with society and how things should be changed is that often it can be speaking out against the powers that be which are in charge. Sidney has provided an alternate way to say that which needs to be said through metaphor and allegory. That way censorship will not be a problem and those who are looking for the message will find it. But since it was never said plainly those that it is speaking out against cannot ban it or put someone on trial for an interpretation. 
Chaucer often employs Sidney’s idea of using metaphor and allegory to get around censorship. Chaucer is often saying one thing while meaning another. Which is Sidney’s ideas for irony, not exactly meaning the complete opposite but just using an example of something and giving details signifying another opinion on the subject being discussed. For example he has characters like Gentle Nicholas and Ambrose. Gentle Nicholas is said to be skilled and intellectual in the art of love yet his achieving of the Carpenter’s wife is very crass. “And secretly he caught hold of her genitalia and said: "Surely, unless you will love me, sweetheart, I shall die for my secret love of you. And he held her hard by the thighs and said, "Sweetheart, love me now, or I will die, may God save me!" He may be saying all the sweet words of love, saying he will die with out her affections. Yet he is grabbing her like a cave man trying to drag his woman back into the cave. 
Chaucer does these contradicting descriptions when he speaking of Ambrose. Ambrose, he speaks highly of, praising his position as a parish clerk but he dresses so garishly that Chaucer is strongly hitting at another personality. Ambrose dresses in gaudy red tights which seems a very bold passionate representation for a man of the church. Ambrose is romancing the woman in all the classic ways, singing songs and writing poems but he accomplishes nothing. He is also bold enough to do this in front of The Carpenter, which is not part of the classical romancing of the object of one’s affections. He shows this man who should be representing the church trying to steal a woman from her husband in front of the husband. He is a complete contradicting and ends up being made a fool of and kissing a rear end. 
Then at the final the only one who was virtuous in his vows was the one who was punished publicly. The Carpenter’s reputation was ruined, while Nicholas was branded, and Ambrose has to kiss a butt, yet the woman got away with being the object that was the destruction of all these men yet seemed to be unscathed. Chaucer also said that the story was supposed to be about how a clerk out-witted the carpenter. “And therefore if I speak as I should not, blame it on the ale of Southwark, I pray you; for I will tell a legend and a life of a carpenter and his wife, and how a clerk made a fool of the carpenter."  But the Carpenter was not made a fool in a virtuous manner. The Clerk took the Carpenter’s wife in a dishonorably way. Chaucer gave a compliment to the educated and higher classes, yet proved that they take advantage of honest men and get away with it. 
Chaucer followed Sidney’s example of saying what he wanted to say about the separation of classes without saying it plainly. He was making fun of the upper classes thinking they are more pretentious and just as corrupt as the lower classes. It would not have been as powerful if Chaucer simply made a list of complaints about how the upper class was mistreating their power. 

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