What were the actions of the Franklin in "The Franklin's Tale"?

The actions of the Franklin in "The Franklin's Tale" consist of providing good quality food and drink to his guests. As a member of the nobility, the Franklin is duty-bound to provide hospitality. But his duty is also a pleasure, as the Franklin positively delights in giving his guests lots of good things to eat and drink.

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A generous, hospitable man, the Franklin delights in providing his guests with the very finest food and drink that money can buy. In fact, the Franklin's hospitality is such that it veritably snows with meat and drink in his house. Although the Franklin is technically a noble, he's very much...

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A generous, hospitable man, the Franklin delights in providing his guests with the very finest food and drink that money can buy. In fact, the Franklin's hospitality is such that it veritably snows with meat and drink in his house. Although the Franklin is technically a noble, he's very much an arriviste, a new-money member of the upper-classes. As such, he feels the need to show off his wealth to anyone fortunate enough to be a guest at his stately pile.

The Canterbury Tales was written at a time when the social order of England was changing dramatically. Many of the old aristocracy had been wiped out by the Black Death, leaving gaps in society that were filled by a new generation of wealthy professionals. The Franklin is one such individual; with his vast wealth he's been able to buy his way into the social elite. Now that he's arrived he wants to make sure that everyone knows how incredibly rich and privileged he is. And what better way to do that than to lavish his guests with generous hospitality?

The Franklin's munificence is also motivated by his Epicureanism, which means that he believes pleasure to be the highest good. Although Epicurus, the ancient philosopher who founded this school of thought, taught that pleasures should be enjoyed in moderation, his name has become synonymous with gluttony and excess; it's in that sense of the word that the Franklin can be described as an Epicurean.

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