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The Clerk's Tale Play

The Clerk's Tale Play

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A play of 'The Clerk's Tale' by Geoffrey Chaucer, from the Canterbury Tales, designed for use in schools.
A play of 'The Clerk's Tale' by Geoffrey Chaucer, from the Canterbury Tales, designed for use in schools.

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Published by: Brenton Magnus Johanne Clutterbuck on Oct 10, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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08/31/2014

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THE CLERK’S TALE: A PLAYThe Clerk’s Tale is a medieval tale by Geoffrey Chaucer, included as oneof ‘The Canterbury tales. It is a story that discusses the role of women inmedieval society and promotes an idea of ‘the ideal woman’ that seemsstrange in contemporary times. Note that the King’s subjects do not seem to support his behavior; the taledoes not condone the King’s conduct, but suggests that Griselda’sreactions are virtuous.This play is designed as part of a lesson regarding the role of women inmedieval Europe. Have students act out the roles in the play, then answer the following questions.How much control did women have over their own future in MedievalEurope?Why did the King test Griselda so much?What is the moral of the story?How do you think a woman like Griselda would be seen in today’ssociety?How do you think a man like Walter would be seen in today’s society.
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The Clerk’s Tale Characters;Clerk: A clerk, drinking in a pub.Pub Man: Another man, in the pub.King Walter: A King who is told to take a wife.Griselda: A virtuous woman.Janicular: Griselda’s father.Royal Advisor 
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: An advisor to Walter.Boy: Griselda’s male child.Girl: Griselda’s female child.
 Enter stage right: Clerk and Pub Man.
Clerk: How’s it going friend?Pub man: Not well friend.Clerk: What is the matter?Pub man: I was married two weeks ago. These last two weeks have been the worst of my life. My wife drives me mad!Clerk: If only we could all marry a woman like Griselda.Pub Man: Who is Griselda?Clerk: What! You have not heard the tale? Let me tell it. In Italy, there was a Kingcalled Walter, told he ought to take a wife.
 Enter stage left: Walter and Royal Advisor.
Royal Advisor: Sire, the people think you must take a wife.Walter: Then I shall disguise myself and enter the town to find one.
 Exit Royal Advisor. Enter Griselda and Janicular.
Walter: Excuse me sir! I am your King. I have been watching you and your daughter.I want to ask to marry her.Janicular: Why, of course you may!
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The children are given way in the tale, but this specific character was not featured.
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Walter: Griselda, if you marry me, you must always trust and obey me. Do youunderstand?Griselda: Yes my lord.Clerk: They were married, but the King wanted to make certain he could trustGriselda. So, he took her first born child…Walter: Griselda, give me my firstborn child please.Griselda: Here you go.
Gives child. Enter Royal Advisor.
Walter: (to Advisor) Here, take the child, hide it somewhere for a while, I’m playing atrick on my wife.Advisor: Very well sir.
 Exit Royal Advisor with baby.
Griselda: Husband, where is my daughter?Walter: I killed it my dear.Griselda: Well, I suppose you know best.Clerk: Two years later Griselda had a son. Walter performed another trick.Walter: Griselda, give me my second child please.Griselda: Here you go.
Gives child. Enter Royal Advisor.
Walter: (to Advisor) Here, take the child, hide it somewhere for a while, I’m playinganother trick on my wife.Advisor: Very well sir. Though I warn you, your subjects are getting rather upset,thinking you’re killing your children.
 Exit Royal Advisor with baby.
Griselda: Husband, where is my son?Walter: I killed it my dear.Griselda: Well, I suppose you know best.Clerk: Another ten years passed. Walter decided on one last trick.3

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