A distinct relationship can be made between the character of the Pardoner and the tale that he tells. Although the Pardoner displays many important traits, the most prevalent is his greed. Throughout the prologue, the Pardoner displays his greed and even admits that the only thing he cares about is money: On their journey, though, an old man leads them to a great deal of treasure.
By putting this controversial idea about women in the mouth of the rooster, the Nuns' Priest is able to contradict the Wife of Bath without personally attacking her tale.
He removes blame from himself by allowing his character to narrate. This mimics Chaucer's overall structure in which he is able to critique the church and social institutions by putting controversial opinions and critiques in the mouths of multiple fictional characters.
However, he quickly undermines this revelry by stating that he is only telling the story of a rooster. This claim is clearly undermined by the complexity of the rooster he is talking about and the parallels between this rooster and the court. This is a literary device that allows the Nun's Priest to move back to the light hearted, humorous tone of his story.
This imagery creates a comedic effect. This is a story that Chanticleer head, which he now tells to Pertelote, which occurs within the Nun's Priest's Tale, which occurs within Chaucer's frame story. In this line, Chanticleer draws attention to the fact that he is narrating this story within a story in order to comically remind the audience what they are listening to.
It could also be an implicit mockery of narration in general as it is other people's words coming out of a narrator's mouth. Here, the Nun's Priest, a man, reverses this claim.
In his tale the woman only wants a husband who is strong and can protect her. This reversal demonstrates how these stories exist in a frame: In this way, Chaucer is able to explore many different social ideas circulating in his time period all in one text.
Since the elevated status of the court is brought down to the level of a barnyard, this story is infused with humor and a slight social critique of the courtly world.
Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff.The General Prologue: Cultural Crossings, Collaborations, and Conflicts Elizabeth Scala ([email protected]) An essay chapter from The Open Access Companion to the Canterbury Tales (September ) Download PDF.
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