43) In fact, the encounter between Calidore and Melibee
includes five uses of the word "content" within only twelve stanzas, making it the densest use of the word in the entire poem.
Her survey--spanning Gower's Confessio Amantis, Chaucer's Legend of Good Women and Melibee
, to English translations of Christine de Pisan s Epistre Othea --considers the variety of ways in which female characters offered advice and shows how women could be represented in ways which run contrary to antifeminist assumptions.
Prudence and the power of persuasion: Language and maistrie in The tale of Melibee
Conversely, the Tale of Melibee
, with its exemplary reification of the virtues of the mulier fortis of Proverbs 31 and the amicitia maxima that Augustine and Aquinas especially found among the goods of accountable marriage, suggests worthy marriage as a means of living wisdom.
32) After his return from Genoa, his "Liber consolationis et consilii," best known in English to Chaucer scholars in the version known as the "Tale of Melibee
," focuses on the problem of securing peace in the commune and, most particularly, on the vendetta as a source of conflict.
The male hero enters only in the burlesque form of Sir Thopas, to be unceremoniously bundled out of the way in favour of the tale that celebrates the idealized wisdom of a woman, Chaucer's tale of Melibee
In Chaucer's own tales, the author's "absence takes identifiable forms" (254): in Sir Thopas, we see the author in the joke of authorial incompetence, while in Melibee
, with its allegorizable characters, our attention is drawn to the idea of agency itself.
The self-ridicule of the Prologues to the tales of Sir Thopas and Melibee
, when looked at in this way, dramatize the poet's fear of rejection and humiliation by his audience.
While he briefly explains that he has summarized three tales (Chaucer's "Tale of Melibee
," "The Monk's Tale," and "The Parson's Tale") because they were "moralizing," Lumiansky offers a fuller exposition of the rationale behind his decision to omit the tale of the little clergeon:
The text conjectured by Jones is as follows: the tale of Melibee
told by the Man of Law; Harry Bailly's remarks on 'domestic infelicity'; the Physician and Pardoner's Tales; what is now the Shipman's Prologue: the Host rises in his stirrups and calls upon the Parson 'But the Wife hastily and impudently says she will tell a tale'; lines 1-193 of the Wife's Prologue follow, and then the present Shipman's Tale.
He notes that Chaucer's second Canterbury Tales authorial signature is articulated, in the Man of Law's Introduction, so as to associate vernacular authorship with the texts and procedures of law, an association Wallace develops in conjunction with the Melibee
and the Griselda stories of Boccaccio and Chaucer.
The last two illustrations of The Faerie Queene depict pastoral scenes, plate thirty-two representing 'Pastorella & attendance - Old Melibee
inviting Calidore to his cottage'.