Third Movement: Return and Restitution
After what seems a never-ending regimen of trial and suffering, Chaucer reverses the trajectory of the tale and sends Custance back to Rome, where she reconciles with her erstwhile husband, the king, and her father, the Emperour of Rome. The analysis reveals the way Chaucer employs a series of gestural expressions to disclose Custance’s conflicting emotions toward her husband and her unwavering obedience to her father. It is argued that in these final scenes Chaucer depicts in the meeting of Custance with her father what may be considered the primal ontological dilemma of the political subject. He shows her willingly enacting her subjection to sovereign power, and this despite the traumatic and painful experience she has endured because of the sovereign’s earlier abandonment.
KeywordsSubject sovereign reconciliation Subject’s ontological dilemma Subject’s absolute obedience Subject’s indifference to suffering
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