Study Guide

The Canterbury Tales: the Man of Law's Tale Lines 442-483

By Chaucer, Geoffrey

Lines 442-483

Lines 442-469

  • Okay, so maybe the Sultaness isn't all bad. Sure, she's cast Custance out to sea in a rudderless boat, but she sends her with her treasure, plus some food, water, and clothing. What more could a girl ask for?
  • Off she goes onto the ocean.
  • Custance blesses herself, and in a pitiful voice prays to the Cross: "O bright and plenteous altar, holy Cross, red with the blood of the lamb that cleansed the world of sin, keep me out of the devil's clutches on the day I drown."
  • More prayers ensue. Custance drifts for years and days on the Grecian sea, to the strait of Morocco, as is her fate.

Lines 470-483

  • You might be wondering why Custance was not killed. Who saved her at the feast?
  • Well, the Man of Law is here to tell us: God. Obviously.
  • See, according to him, God desired to work a miracle through Custance, so that we might see his mighty works.
  • As the story goes, Christ, cure for every illness, often does things for his own purposes which are mysterious to simple humans, who are ignorant of his prudent reasons for things.