The Canterbury Tales 15: The Cleric's Tale Questions and Answers

Geoffrey Chaucer

15: The Cleric's Tale Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What promise does Griselda make to Walter before accepting his offer of marriage?

2. Name each of the tests Walter applies to test Griselda's loyalty.

3. Does Walter ever relent in his testing of his wife?

4. On which two Italian classics is The Cleric's Tale based?

5. Which two genres are represented in this story?

6. Why does Walter not allow the people to select his wife for him?

7. How does Walter use public opinion to persuade the Pope to grant nullification of his marriage?

8. When she comes to her father's house, who do the people think Walter's daughter is?

9. How is the hearer intended to respond to this tale?

10. What does "Chaucer's Envoy" add?

Answers
1. She will be an absolutely obedient wife and never question his decisions or complain about them.

2. First, he takes away their firstborn daughter. Then, he takes away their son. Finally, he casts her off as his wife, forcing her to prepare the house for his new bride.

3. At the end of the story, when he has taken everything from her, he relents and they live happily after.

4. This tale is based on the writings of Petrarch, and Boccaccio's Decameron.

5. It combines the elements of the romance and the exemplum.

6. He thinks his peasants are not wise enough to choose his bride.

7. He persuades the Pope that his people are turning against Griselda since she is lowborn.

8. They have heard that she is to be his new wife.

9. The hearer is intended to avoid behaving as Walter did while still admiring Griselda.

10. The "Envoy" advises women never to take such abuse from their husbands, but to speak up when they are treated unfairly.