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English Literature   >   Chaucer: The Merchant's Tale

The Merchant

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Chaucer: The Merchant's Tale

In this course, Professor Carolyne Larrington (University of Oxford) explores Geoffrey Chaucer's Merchant's Tale. We begin by thinking about the Merchant himself, who is introduced in the General Prologue of the Canterbury Tales. After that, we think about the genre of the tale – a fabliau – as well as the Marriage Debate between Januarie, Justinus and Placebo that begins the tale. In the third module, we turn to the wedding-scene itself and the introduction of the figure of Damian, before turning in the fourth module to the garden scene, focusing in particular on the symbolism of the enclosed garden and the pear tree in Medieval literature. In the fifth module, we think about the appearance of another married couple of in the tale – Pluto and Proserpina, here figured as the King and Queen of the Fairies – before moving on in the sixth module and the end of the tale.

The Merchant

In this module, we think about the person telling the tale – the Merchant himself – to whom we're introduced in the General Prologue of the Canterbury Tales. In particular, we think about the description of the Merchant in the General Prologue as well as the genre of the Merchant's Tale itself.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Larrington, C. (2018, August 15). Chaucer: The Merchant's Tale - The Merchant [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Larrington, C. "Chaucer: The Merchant's Tale – The Merchant." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,


Dr Carolyne Larrington

Dr Carolyne Larrington

University of Oxford