Love, Oak Park and Some Pilgrims | Teen Ink

Love, Oak Park and Some Pilgrims

June 7, 2009
By Anonymous

My high School is filled with a bunch of horny and erratic people much like some of the characters portrayed in Canterbury Tales. I was in my history class a couple days ago and this guy came in and was talking to his friend about this girl he had just seen in the hall. The guy said to his friend, “I just saw this super hot girl, damn I wanna tap that!” Reading Canterbury Tales can be like reading about the kid sitting next to you in class. Love is not always complicated with teenagers and fictional characters from Chaucer’s time. Love and desire can seem interchangeable. The line between the two is often blurred. In Canterbury Tales people tend to be more dramatic, and students tend to build up to a relationship but in both Canterbury Tales and in high school love can be sporadic, unpredictable, very sexual, and driven by their desires.

Canterbury Tales is filled with many characters that begin a relationship quickly as opposed to students who often build up to a relationship. In the Knight’s tale, Palamon and Arcite fall in love with Emily instantly before even meeting her. After seeing her from their jail cell each professes their love for her. Palamon’s first response to spotting Emily is, “I was hurt just now through my eyes and my heart – the hurt will be my destruction. The beauty of the lady whom I see wandering yonder in the garden is the cause of all my cries and my woe. I do not know whether she is a woman or a goddess”. Arcite immediately responds with the same feelings. They speak of the hurt their love causes them and how it will destroy them if they aren’t with Emily. Their goal in life has now become to win her over and their willing to die to achieve their goal. The pain her beauty causes is the strong attraction they have to her. To the characters, attraction is the basis for love. In the Miller’s tale, love and relationships also start before really knowing a person. Nicholas says a couple of sweet words to Alison and she immediately falls for him with practically the snap of his fingers. “No, don’t, bother about that, a clerk would certainly have spent his time poorly if he couldn’t fool a carpenter.” Alison originally opposes his love but with a little convincing she decides to be with him. There isn’t much thinking when it comes to commitment in Canterbury Tales. With some charming or a romantic gesture a couple is practically betrothed to each other. They can act like they have dated for years when really it can take less than a conversation to seal the deal. Here the build up can go one of two ways. Either the couple starts with texting and getting to know each other by hanging out or by hooking up. Two people who hook up can find there are other feelings there that aren’t just sexual. It helps them realize there was more than just sex that attracted them to a person. However some relationships start off much slower than that and professing each others’ love takes more than a couple minutes together. It can be a process that takes months. Many Canterbury Tales’s characters move quickly unlike majority of my fellow students who don’t rush into relationships as quickly.

Sex is a substantial part of a person’s love for someone else. The Miller’s tale speaks of sex being the basis of relationships and love. In the Miller’s tale, Absalom is known for sleeping with married women. He becomes infatuated with Alison and professes his love to her with hopes of getting her in bed. “Censing the wives of the parish zealously and many a loving look he cast upon them, particularly on the carpenter’s wife: looking at her seemed to merry life to him, she was so neat and sweet and appetizing.” When thinking about Alison, Absalom saw her in a very sexual way. That was his kind of love. He didn’t love her for her personality or for what kind of person she was, he loved her because she was beautiful. I have a friend and her relationship with her boyfriend is almost purely sexual. They started their relationship after hooking up one night. They claim they’re in love but fight all the time. Love and sex can go hand in hand in a relationship but just having one part is not a good basis for commitment. Here and in Canterbury Tales people misjudge sex for love. They have sex and it’s great and that’s enough to say I love you and be with the person.

Love is dramatic and can be life or death for people. In the Merchant’s tale, Damian becomes ill over his love for May. “He was so ravished with his lady May that for the very pain he was nearly mad; he almost languished and fainted where he stood, so painfully had Venus wounded him”. He becomes so enthralled in his love that he can’t do anything. He just becomes sick and crazy because another man is with his love. It is all that he wants and cares about. In the Knight’s tale, Palamon and Arcite set up a huge battle that ends up killing one of them over a girl. They will go to great extremes to be with the one they love. The Wife of Bath risks her own life being with the man she loves. “Even if he had beaten me on every bone, he could soon win my love again.” She is so in love she doesn’t see what’s wrong in her relationship. She sits by and takes the abuse. Recently, a friend of mine got in a fight over a boy she liked. She barely knew this boy and she thought she really liked him. Her best friend ended up hooking up with him behind my friend’s back. They threw away a four year friendship because they both liked a guy. People do crazy things and risk losing everything for love. It can make the person think irrationally and make drastic life changing decisions. I know people that drop all their friends to be with their partner. Students also risk their life for a relationship. People can get so deep into a relationship that when the other person wants to break up they become depressed or suicidal. In both Canterbury Tales and in high school people go to the extremes and possibly hurt his or hers self over not being with the one they love.

Love is often confused with desire or vice versa. Both can lead to heartbreak and pain. A couple can move into a relationship without even knowing each other or take their time before getting involved. Canterbury Tale’s characters can be this way and so can students at our school. It’s not hard to find these recurring themes in Canterbury Tale’s around the halls.

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