Geoffrey Chaucer introduces readers of The Canterbury Tales to an assortment of characters, each with their own unique and notable features. Aside from the obvious differences, like their profession and their raiment, the characters described in the general Prologue have their own personalities, many of which are tainted in some way or another.
Chaucer lived through a lot. After escaping the Black Death, he became a page for Prince Lionel, one of the sons of King Edward III, around 1357. Not long after becoming a yeoman for Lionel, Chaucer was kidnapped by French enemies of Prince Lionel in 1360. By 1367, Chaucer had become a an official Valet for King Edward III. In truth, Chaucer was never really a writer, but more of a civil servant to monarchs. With his duties came the traveling which probably inspired some of his writings and made them more detailed. Chaucer must have met a variety of people while working in the royal courts.
His entire life was as a civil servant and he had ample time to make thorough observations of humans and their nature.
After reading just the Prologue, it is clear that Chaucer had a grim take on human nature. Nearly every character described has some sort of flaw. The most popular one was avarice. Even the characters that are expected to be honorable, such as the Doctor and the Summoner, are spoiled by greed.
A doctor is the one person that can properly assign medicine to ill patients. A doctor is supposed to be honest and do his best to cure you of your sickness. Unfortunately, our Doctor is corrupt. Driven by cupidity, the Doctor has a deal with the local apothecary to prescribe unnecessary drugs for a mere profit.
All his apothecaries in a tribe
Chaucer's The Nun's Priest Tale Essay
I/ THE AUTHOR
I"'"d like to say a few words about the author first.
Chaucer was the son of prosperous upper-middle class parents, fought in France, acted as a courtier, went on diplomatic missions abroad, and eventally became Controller of Customs in London. In common with all authors of his time, his poetry was written for his own personal pleasure and that of a group of friends, with no thought of publication, which in any event was not then technically possible; writing and the study of literature was merely an accepted hobby and accomplishment for those at Chaucer"'"s level of society.
Chaucer"'"s writing fall into three periods-the French period (1359-72), including "'"The Boke of the Duchesse"'" (1369) and parts of '"'The Romaunt of the Rose'"' (1370), the Italian period (1372-86), including '"'The House of Fame'"', '"'The Parliament of Fowls'"', '"'Troylus and Cryseyde'"', and '"'The Legend of Good Women'"', and his mature period (1386-1400), from which The Canterbury Tales date. Of Chaucer"'"s works The Canterbury Tales are by far the best-known, probably first conceived in 1386. Chaucer was the first author to write in what was a recognisable English language. He wrote in the vernacular, the English that was spoken in and around London in his day.
II/ SUMMARY OF THE FABLE
The Nun"'"s Priest Tale is a fable, a simple tale about animals that concludes with a moral lesson. It is about a cock and his seven wifes living on a farm belonging to a poor widow. The cock has a dream that he is going to be eaten by a dog-like creature, but his favourite wife, Pertelote, dismisses the dream as meaningless and tells him not to be silly. Some time later a fox comes into the yard and engages the cock in conversation. After flattering the cock about his singing (his name is Chanticleer, meaning "'"Sing clearly"'"), the cock finally persuades him to crow at the top of his voice. While the cock is straining to do this the fox grabs him by the throat and makes off. Just as the fox is about to drag him into the woods, the cock suggests that the fox turn and shout some abuse at their pursuers, people around alerted by the noise. The fox opens his mouth to do so, and Chanticleer escapes to a tree. That is the end of the story and the moral is a double-edged one: '"'Beware of flattery!'"' and '"'keep your mouth shut!'"'
III/ THE BEAST-EPIC
The Nun"'"s Priest Tale belongs to the genre of the Beast epic. It is usually an allegorical tale, often long in which animals are characters and in which the style is pseudoepic. The prototypal beast epic is almost certainly Roman de Renard, composed late in the 12th century by Pierre de Saint-Cloud. The first episode is the Chanticleer story later used by Chaucer in the Nun"'"s Priest tale.
One of the main cause of the comical aspect of this fable is the ridiculous disparity between the manner of...
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