The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Otten, Charlotte F. "Proserpine: Liberatrix Suae Gentis." 5 (1971): 277-87.
On the surface, the four biblical heroines mentioned in the Merchant's Tale do not seem to fit with the entrance of Proserpine. These five women, however, are linked by their roles as deliverers. The biblical women deliver Israel; Prosperine announces herself as the deliverer of all adulterous women. May assumes the role of January's deliverer in order to escape being caught in adultery, and becomes a comic figure in comparison to Rebecca, Judith, Abigail, and Esther.
Waterhouse, Ruth, and Gwen Griffiths. "'Sweete wordes' of Non-Sense: The Deconstruction of the Moral Melibee (Part II)." 24 (1989): 53-63.
Throughtout the Tale of Melibee, there is a consistent misapplication of authorities. The exempla of Rebecca, Judith, Abigail, and Esther that Prudence cites undermine the argument that Melibee should accept her advice, particularly in light of the fact that her exempla portray deceived males who come to ruin. The order of these exempla refers the reader to the Merchant's Tale in which Chaucer uses the same exempla in the same order. The way in which Prudence controls Melibee with words is similar to the way in which Chaucer controls his audience. Ultimately, the author is responsible for making the audience accept "the self-deconstruction of any tale" (62).