Such comments as, “I pray to God his nekke mote
to-breke” quickly reveal that the verbal game of “quite”
involves much more than a free meal to the Reeve in “The
Canterbury Tales” (I 3918). This overreaction, which grabs
the attention of the audience and gives it pause, is
characteristic of the Reeve’s ostensibly odd behavior, being
given to morose speeches followed by violent outbursts, all
the while harboring spiteful desires. Anger typifies the
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to his tale out of
obliga-tion, and hear nothing more. So, while his story
seems uncomplicated, it is anything but, due to the fact that
all of his unspoken thoughts have been conveyed within it.
It may be vindictive and base, but the Reeve’s Tale contains
something far more interesting than a moral: the inner
workings of his mind.
Jung, C.G. Psychology and Religion: West and East.
New York: Hull, Pantheon Books, 1958.