Study Guide

The Canterbury Tales: the Man of Law's Tale Lines 386-441

By Chaucer, Geoffrey

Lines 386-441

Lines 386-406

  • Shmoopers, welcome to Part 2.
  • The Christians arrive in Syria in a solemn procession, so the Sultan quickly sends word to his mom and, well, everyone else in his kingdom that his wife-to-be has arrived.
  • See, he wants Mama to greet the queen, in order to maintain the honor of the realm.
  • There's a whole big welcoming ceremony, and the Sultaness receives Custance with all the grace and joy of a happy mother-in-law.
  • Everyone heads to the nearest city and everyone is all smiles. But the whole time, the Sultaness is plotting to destroy poor Custance.

Lines 407-441

  • Soon after their arrival in the closest city, the Sultan himself shows up in all his royal glory. He welcomes Custance to his kingdom with all the pomp and circumstance a girl could ask for.
  • Then it's time for the Sultaness's feast. Lot's of tasty treats and fancy decor. It's a big bash, and everyone's having a grand ol' time.
  • The Man of Law wants us to take a lesson from this big party: when we're most happy, we should keep in mind that harm and sadness are probably right around the corner. Stay on your toes.
  • Which brings us back to the feast. Everyone's chowing down and suddenly, the Sultan and all the Christians are impaled together—everyone but Custance.
  • Yep, the old Sultaness carries out her plan, and any and all converted Syrians are killed right where they're sitting. She's pumped, of course, because this means she can rule the country alone.
  • The Sultaness's cronies swiftly take Custance to a rudderless boat, and cast her out into the sea, telling her to learn to sail from Syria back to Italy.
  • Nice folks.