DIO SI FIDA DEL NOSTRO BUON SENSO: l’esperienza come critica all’autorità nel Racconto della Comare di Bath/GOD TRUSTS OUR GOOD SENSE: the experience in criticizing the authority in The Wife of Bath’s Tale

José Garcez Ghirardi


This paper argues that, through his character, Chaucer performs a subtle
change in the balance between traditional authority and everyday experience
which will ultimately work to enfeeble the former and strengthen
the latter as the main source of legitimacy for human actions. This paper
will develop this argument in three sections, apart from this introduction
and a conclusion. The first discusses the infirmation of traditional authority
performed by the narrator’s discursive strategy; the second argues that
Chaucer’s work participates in the broad social change which led to the
affirmation of ordinary life; the third suggests that the story of The Wife of
Bath’s Tale summarizes the political message, at the heart of Canterbury
Tales: experience and observation of real life are key to success in this
world. In this sense, Chaucer’s work may be seen as anticipating the perspective
later developed by Machiavelli to substantiate his political tenets.


Chaucer, Experience, Legitimacy, Authority, Literature


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