Priapus | Religion
The significance of this extract is extremely dimensional as the narrator once again provides the reader with additional examples of January’s mindset and lifestyle and also continues to foreshadow the remainder of the tale.
The immense sexual imagery present during this extract reinforces January’s marriage intentions, foreshadows the future and also includes a flair of comedy.The garden January built has been constructed especially to avoid any prying eyes and to achieve the utmost privacy as the garden is ‘walled al with stone.’ The impounding enclosure of the walls signifies and reinforces his sexual prowess and desire to ‘menace (L.540)’ May which can also be construed to consider January’s tendency for sexual violence.
The introduction of Priapus, God of Gardens yet also personification of the erect phallus is ironic and is a comedic devise used to signify the importance of the garden as neither could ‘telle the beautee of the gardyn and the welle.’
The significance of the key and gate represent January and May respectively as the key to the garden, carried only by January signifies his desire to keep May to himself, allowing no one else to have access to her as she represents the ‘smale wiket’ which January was able to unlock when he wished.Keys and keyholes are bold significant metaphors for sex, which proves explicit later on in the tale.
The sexual imagery and implications applied during this extract pose a major significance to some of the tale’s implied themes of January’s age, his intentions for marriage and of the forthcoming deception he will encounter.
The mythical gods which are introduced in this extract enables the reader to comprehend the sheer significance of the garden and reinforce the beauty.
In particular, Proserpina and Pluto are especially significant later in the tale and their initial connection with the Garden at this position in the tale allows the reader to understand their domestic debate later featured which constitutes to the outcome of the entire tale.
Arguably, one of the most predominant significance of this extract is the comparisons of January’s private garden with the Garden of Eden. References have been made beforehand, likening the relationship and characters of January and May to Adam and Eve. The main difference between the two couples is Adam and Eve had sex after Eden whereas for January, his Garden has been built purely to satisfy his sexual desires.
This extract can also be compared to the wedding feast, where January appears the more dominant of the couple as he eagerly awaits his guests to leave in order to sleep with May. However, this extract proves significant in the power exchange, as here, the initiative rests with May as the reader learns that January’s joy will be short lived ‘worldly joy may nat alwey dure.’
The extract possess many ‘Courtly Love’ references the obvious one being the reference to the ‘Romance of the Rose’ a French courtly love poem where the woman is represented as a rosebud in a beautiful garden. Also through the description of the garden the and the ‘welle, that stood under a laurer alwey grene’ ‘Courtly Love’ is explored and remains a highly comical literature devise throughout the tale.
January and May’s incompatibility is significantly challenged during this extract which bears an enormous relevance to the tale. The beautiful garden represents spring, which is astronomically associated with the month of May and also the character; therefore ‘he [January] wolde paye his wyf hir dette in somer seson’ significantly reinforces their incompatibility and makes way for the adultery.
The extract, in relevance to the tale as a whole, provides an insight as to what will happen later on in the tale. Various sexual images and references including ‘thinges whiche were nat doon abedde he in the gardyn parfourned hem’ allows the reader to identify and relate this extract to the adulterous actions which later happen. The frequent references to mythical people and Gods are also present within this extract, however, these actually bear a direct significance to the tales scheme.