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The Parliament of Fowls
Transcript of The Parliament of Fowls
Richard II, who is the most powerful. - The Second Eagle:
Friedrich of Meissen, who is a princeling - The Third Eagle:
Charles VI, who is not a royal - This explains why the female eagle does not make a decision by the end of the poem. Bird Species and Social Standing Birds of Prey Seated highest in the court
Symbolic of knights and lords
They are split into categories within their class
The three male suitors are willing to fight for their claim. Worm-Eating Birds Seated next under the Birds of Prey.
Symbolic of selfish curial officials.
"Lat eech of hem be solein al hir live,
This is my reed, sin they may nat accorde" The cuckoo is reprimanded for this remark by the merlin for his gluttony and selfishness. Seed-Eating Birds Seated on the grass Symbolic of clergy or contemplative class
Emphasizes fidelity as the most important
"For though she dyde, I wolde noon other make:
I wil been hires til that deeth me take" The clergy finds vows and values the most important way to resolve the conflict. Water Birds Seated lowest in the dale Symbolic of the commoners
The goose speaks on their behalf
"But she wil love him, lat him take another" Later the duck makes another crass statement Love, Politics, and Social Standing. Each of the four different bird species that remarks on the tercel eagles' debate represents their respective social class.
The disputing birds would have reminded Chaucer's audience of their own Parliament
The eagles represent a critique of courtly love. Love, Politics, and Plot in the "Parlement of Foules" In his critical article, Russel A. Peck states, “All that is clear is that Dame Nature continues to rule, allowing man the privilege of choice and compulsion. Life continues on a minimal level in the whirling world, without the clarity of a reasonable perception of why things are as they are, a perception which the narrator earnestly desires. So, although we recognize political failure at the end of the poem, we must also recognize a failure in love, at least in love as Scipio perceived it. Indeed, it is this failure of love which underlies the failure in politics, which, in fact, determines the failure. If that love which Scipio describes resided in the hearts of men, there would be no politics. But it does not, and that is why politics becomes the preoccupation of the poem” (Peck 294). Discussion "My point is that for Jean de Meun, and for Chaucer too, love only begins as love (that "imaginary illness... producing a great desire to hug and kiss"). Under will's jurisdiction it quickly becomes politics" (Peck 296).
Do you agree that love always becomes politics? Bibliography Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Parliament of Fowles. 3. Oxford: 1994. The Online Medieval
& Classical Library. Web. 19 Mar. 2013. <http://omacl.org/Parliament/>. Peck, Russell A. "Love, Politics, and Plot in the "Parlement of Foules"." The
Chaucer Review 24.4 (1990): 290-305. JSTOR. Web. 18 Mar. 2013. "The Parliament of Fowles." PowerPoint Presentation. Accessed through class Blackboard site.