William Christopher Brown
University of Minnesota, Crookston
In this article, I use Michel Foucault's discussion of parrhesia in Fearless Speech to elucidate Chaucer's vision of political and personal disagreement in the Tale of Melibee. Melibee's and Prudence's argument over the proper response to violence represents a 'parrhesiastic game', i.e., the willingness of an individual to accept the criticism of the parrhesiastes (one who uses parrhesia) and the courage of the parrhesiastes to offer that criticism in the first place.
My article focuses on parrhesia as a defining feature in any community that wants to survive the strains and demands which competing viewpoints exact on its members.