Dorigen is the main character in the Franklins tale by Chaucer and yet he manages to make her seem weak and melodramatic whilst still allowing the tale to revolve around her. Dorigen is shown as having a weak character and Chaucer allows his contempt to show through several times as he obviously feels disdain for Dorgiens excessive display of emotion. His opinion of Dorigen is unbalanced and biased as it shows her in a light in which the reader cannot fail to dislike her. Several times Chaucer makes comments that not only undermine Dorgen but reflect on the whole female race as well e. g as doon these noble wives when him liketh.
And then goes on to say that at her husband, Arveragus lives that she moornth, waketh, waileth, fasteth, plaienth. This shows how he feels that she is showing this display of emotion only because she feels that is what she should do. The way he writes shows that he doubts the sincerity of her emotions and believes her to be quite shallow. However in contrast to this Dorigen seems a stronger character where Chaucer writes of her and Arveraguss courtship as he says she thanked him and with great humblesse she saide ye profere me to have so large a reine as here Chaucer writes as the Franklin but some of his own views show through.
Chaucer seems to be very cynical about how genuine Dorgien is but strangely for the time in which this was written Chaucer seems to believe in equal relationships. hire obeye and folwe her wil in al as any lovere to his lady shal this shows that he feels that their relationship should be an equal one and yet this doesnt seem to fit in with his views about Dorgien at all. Although the end statement is generalising as any lovere to his lady shal the reference is specific in applying to Dorgien and Arveragus.
Chaucer might be trying to apply to everyone but it still seems as though he doubts Dorgiens emotions when Arveragus leaves but believes that she does love him or that she loves the prospect of marriage instead? For the way he speaks does suggest that in his cynicism he believes that Dorigen does not love Arveragus but instead loves the prospect of marriage and being safe, which does imply that he believes her unable to live on her own.
So Chaucer seems to be saying that Dorgien loves the idea of being in love rather than Arveragus himself. may a greate emprise he for his lady wrought er she was wonne. That sentence roughly translated says that Arveragus had to complete many great deeds and task before he won Dorgien. Now that does suggest that Dorigen grew to love him, or thought she did from the great tasks he performed and not for himself. It also implies that Arveragus had to wait a good length of time before Dorgien noticed him.
Also this does show the biasness of the story for although it shows that Dorgien was won by great deeds and not love it gives on the smallest reference to why Arveragus wanted Dorgien. For she was oon the fairest under sonne and does refer to that any longer. Later when Arvragus leaves her the Franklin says explicitly that it was honourable for him to do so and brave for him to leave her but it doesnt mention at any time Arveragus missing Dorgien as he wants Arveragus to seem strong and unemotional so it lets Dorgien shoulder the whole emotional outlook.
Also where Arveragus says that they shall be equal, not only is it significant that he says that and so he is the one being gracious but also does imply that even though he says equality he is the leader because he suggested it and he took the lead. It makes Arveragus seem kind and gracious whilst making Dorgien seem less because it was his suggestion. Now once Arveragus leaves it focuses on Dorigen again. You could actually argue a point that although Dorigen is the main character the story is actually about Arveragus because if you notice whatever Dorgien feels or thinks always relates back to Arveragus.
The black rocks are there because they threaten Arveragus the boats are sad because they are not carrying back Arveragus and Aureluis is rejected yb her because he is not Arveragus and yet she agrees to go with him if he gets rid of the black rocks that she feels threaten Arveragus. Also at the end where Arveragus suggests his own honour by making Dorigen honour her promise when she does not want to and this makes him seem generous and her unkind because it is him that is making her do what she is bound too.
Chaucher also uses exaggeration to prove his point so he makes Dorgien seem overdramtic and shallow as before in the moornth, waketh, fasteth one and also others where he exaggerated as her hearte slain which makes is seem as though she would litrally die if he didnt return so it makes the reader share his feelings about Dorgien. Also there is a passage which I think is almost sarcastic as it says that a single drop of water, given time, can wear away a stone and that by this sort of process Dorigens friends eventually managed to wear away her sorrow and make her happier.
Through which her grete sorwe gan assuage she may nat always duren in swich rage. By comparing her great sorrow to the rock and by indicating a great passage of time also makes her sorrow seem insignificant and makes her seem shallow and also a little vain I think as the language makes sure that it isnt shown as fear for Arveragus, (apart from the black rocks) or love for him but centres rather on her sorrow at his departure. There is a good contrast between Arveraguss unselfish honourably knightly deeds and Dorgiens wailing and ranting at his leaving of her.
Dorigens quality of emotion seems always to be severely doubted by both the Franklin and Chaucer. Her sorrow at Areverguss departure is always a great sorrow or a dramatic her herte slain and her derke fantasye his image of Dorigen is not of a brave person suffering loss but a shallow person who is so conceited that the minor of her sorrow becomes to her the most important thing in the world and so she makes more of it than it really is. nally she granted their request fo wel she saw that it was for the beste. Is said of her friends trying to cheer her up and the way it is structures makes it seem not as though she is bravely shaking of her sorrow but that she is reluctantly putting away her exaggerated emotions and pretending it is only for her friends.
I think it is hard to judge Dorigen accurately because of this biasness in telling and it is also hard but she is made to seem even worse in contrast with the other, stronger male characters. It is also hard to label Chaucer a women hater as we cannot judge yesterdays text by todays standards. Chaucer uses the Franklin to write out his prejudices and makes it so her views Dorigen with an almost ironic detachment as you can see within the language the subtle undermining of Dorigens character.