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Chaucerian ConflictLanguages of Antagonism in Late Fourteenth-Century London$
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Marion Turner

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199207893

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199207893.001.0001

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Conflict Resolved?: The Language of Peace and Chaucer’s ‘Tale of Melibee’

Conflict Resolved?: The Language of Peace and Chaucer’s ‘Tale of Melibee’

(p.167) 6 Conflict Resolved?: The Language of Peace and Chaucer’s ‘Tale of Melibee’
Chaucerian Conflict


Oxford University Press

This chapter views social antagonism in a different way, considering what happens when authors explicitly try to write about peace in these decades. The focus is on Geoffrey Chaucer's ‘Tale of Melibee’ and Philippe de Mézières's Letter to Richard II. An examination of some of the discussions of peace produced in late 14th-century London demonstrates that the ideology of peace tends to be built upon an awareness of aggression and a desire to channel violence. Chaucer's text is explicit in its acknowledgement of social antagonism, with a general emphasis on the essential isolation of the individual as reflected by the atmosphere of suspicion that pervades the tale. The slippage between peace and war in de Mézières's rhetoric verges on the comic, as he frequently suggests that peace can only be obtained with an iron fist.

Keywords:   Geoffrey Chaucer, social antagonism, peace, Tale of Melibee, Letter to Richard II, London, aggression

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