Masculine Misreading in Chaucer’s “Franklin’s Tale” Alexandria Kilpatrick

  • Alexandria Kilpatrick University of Montevallo
  • Stephanie Batkie, Mentor University of Montevallo


Misogynistic undertones can be found throughout Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, but perhaps most clearly in the Franklin’s Tale. This can be found in the blatant masculine misreading of Dorigen’s oath made “in pley,†or “in jest.†In this paper, I argue that Aurelius’s uncertainty in the legitimacy of Dorigen’s oath as well as her attempts to delay him only aid in his ability as a masculine character to misread her. I also ultimately assert that Aurelius’s pleasure stems not from having sexual power over Dorigen, but instead in having anticipatory pleasure in her; rather than following through with her oath, he releases her back to her husband as a gesture of respect towards him. Furthermore, I claim that because of the rules of courtly love during this time, which Susan Crane expounds upon, a problematic gendered power structure is seen which allows women virtually no agency. In order to make these arguments, I rely both on a close reading of the text, as well as the research that various medieval scholars have published. The implications of my paper are significant, as they suggest that because of the misreading that occurs in the tale, Chaucer introduces the dangerous idea that it is only natural to bend the words of a woman in order to fit the desires of a man.

May 1, 2016
How to Cite
KILPATRICK, Alexandria; BATKIE, MENTOR, Stephanie. Masculine Misreading in Chaucer’s “Franklin’s Tale†Alexandria Kilpatrick. Metamorphosis, [S.l.], may 2016. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 20 june 2024.