I wol no thyng, ne nyl no thyng, certayn,
But as yow list. Naught greveth me at al,
Though that my doughter and my sone be slayn –
At youre comandement, this is to sayn.
I have noght had no part of children tweyne
But first siknesse, and after, wo and peyne.
– Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales, The Clerk’s Tale. Griselda continues to show extreme obedience and submissiveness when husband Walter tests her loyalty again by proposing that their second child, a son, be put to death. The sound of silence from a mother who fails to protest the murder of her children by an authoritarian father is inexplicable. It demonstrates a flaw in Griselda’s otherwise virtuous nature and goodness, we believe. For isn’t the courage to fight for the life of your child a virtue, which she seems to lack? Submitting to Walter’s cruel and frankly evil will yet again, she says she will have nothing but what he desires. Her husband’s total sovereignty over her life and that of her children is clear when she says she has had no part of her children except the pain of childbirth.