Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Essay --

Told by a charming priest and kindly man, The Nun’s Priest’s Tale is a beast fable in Chaucer’s genius framed narrative, The Canterbury Tales. Written in the late 14th century, The Nun’s Priest’s Tale is a fable about an all too egotistic rooster named Chanticleer who dreams of his impending doom which takes the form of a beast. Deeply troubled, he seeks the consolation of other wise barn animals and his favorite wife, Pertelote. Being a beast fable, the Nun’s Priest mocks the Court World by lowering nobles to the level of animals to be mocked. As this fable displays that animals act like humans is to also imply that humans, namely people of the court, act like animals. Using the technique of a mock-heroic tale, the Nun’s Priest takes a trivial event and elevates it to a climatic story in an almost comic way. When the fox runs off with Chanticleer clenched in his jaws, the entire scene is narrated with elevated and sophisticated language used in many epics to enhance the climatic tones and spectacular actions taking place. By using intricate language to describe a fox snatching a rooster in a barnyard, the tale is given a very comical and ironic tone. The chase is described as, â€Å"O Geoffrey, thou my dear and sovereign master Who, when they brought King Richard to disaster And shot him dead, lamented so his death, Would that I had thy skill, thy gracious breath, To chide a Friday half so well as you! (For he was killed upon a Friday too.) Then I could fashion you a rhapsody For Chanticleer in dread and agony† (Chaucer, 228). By comparing this chase to King Richard the III and his death at the Battle of Bosworth Field suggests the Nun’s Priest’s mocking and comic absurdity of the situation. In doing so, the Nun’s Priest and possibl... ...ght. The phrases such as â€Å"redder than fine coral† or â€Å"battlemented like a castle wall† and â€Å"burnished gold† evoke the image of a knight in shining armor. The color azure is â€Å"one of the five standard colors in coats of arms† (asur, Middle English Dictionary Entry). This establishes his appearance as a person from the court. Thus, the prideful and charming Chanticleer is representative of the egocentric values of the court world that the Nun’s Priest is ridiculing. The irony of this tale is blatant. The highly philosophical intellect of the roosters and hens represents the ideals of the court world that is derided by having the setting as a barnyard. The Nun’s Priest is using this beast fable as a moral story of warning. The court world is insulted by the pointing out of its flaw: treachery through flattery. Chaucer himself could be criticizing the court of its fault.

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