The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
von Kreisler, Nicolai Alexander. "An Aesopic Allusion in the Merchant's Tale." 6 (1971): 30-37.
Justinius's complaint about his wife and January's response to it may be an expansion of an event in the Life of Aesop, which Chaucer probably knew from oral tradition. The conversation between Justinius and January demonstrates the belief that common sense is more valuable than book-knowledge. When January decides to follow Placebo's advice, he ignores the truth of the parable, thus underscoring his blindness. January's response to May's excuse for copulating with Damyan further emphasizes January's ignorance and lack of common sense, making him an object of readers' derision.