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Discussion - Canterbury Tales > Week 6 - Nun's Priest's Tale (prologue & epilogue)

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message 1: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments The knight interjects here, instead of Host Harry, to stop the Monk (and none too soon, in my opinion!) from continuing his catalog of negativism. Harry soon agrees, and they demand a cheerful tale from the Nun's Priest.

Is this a cheerful tale? You decide.

It started off well for me with the poor widow and her two daughters, reminding me of the start of many fairy tales, but then turns into a beast fable with the story of Chaunticleer. But I did find some philosophy in here -- did anybody else find it? And we have commented that the stories up to now have seemed to fit the tellers. How does the mild anti-feminism of the tale fit with his subservience to a woman?

We do get back to the mother and villagers at the very end, but they play the most minimal role in the story.

A cheerful story? What think you?

Oh: for extra credit, which Aesop fable does this remind you of?

message 2: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Lavoie | 33 comments I think it was an interesting beast fable, and this sets it apart from the other tales told so far. And I see that Boethius is mentioned here by Chanticleer(which again prompts me to read him).

I hadn't noticed it until you point it out, but the tale does seem to indicate that, and judging by the name of the teller, the Nun's Priest's Tale, it seems to me that he must not be happy with his position.

Not sure if it's cheerful, but it has a happy ending for Chanticleer at least.

And this reminds me of The Rooster and the Fox. :)

There is also an older children's movie from 1992 called Rock-a-Doodle that uses a rooster named Chanticleer who sings to raise the sun. This was based off another comedy, however, a similar movie had been pitched to Disney that used a rooster and a fox, but it was rejected. I think that would had been more like this tale, as the current movie uses other creatures.

message 3: by Galicius (new)

Galicius | 47 comments The rooster story within the tale is just hilarious from the beginning to the end. That was just my natural reaction to take it as it is. Highly amusing the way the birds talk of Cato, the Bible, and classical literature. The story is just highly amusing.

message 4: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Galicius wrote: "Highly amusing the way the birds talk of Cato, the Bible, and classical literature."

Definitely amusing, I agree.

But is there more there? Is Chaucer using this amusing story to say some more serious things?

Or is Chanticleer just spouting nonsense that makes him look more like an erudite rooster, perhaps being Chaucer's way to make fun of the Nun's Priest as a blowhard who talks in high sounding phrases but says nothing meaningful?

message 5: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Lavoie | 33 comments Everyman wrote: "Galicius wrote: "Highly amusing the way the birds talk of Cato, the Bible, and classical literature."

Definitely amusing, I agree.

But is there more there? Is Chaucer using this amusing story to..."

I think he does say some serious things. Look at Chanticleer's dream, for instance. It warned him of what was to come, and while Pertelote tells him he is foolish, he sticks by his dream. He also tricked the fox at the end after he was captured.

There seemed to be two morals. For Chanticleer: Don't close your eyes when danger is about. And for the fox: Don't speak when you should keep your mouth shut or you'll lose something (which I find is something many people should learn).

message 6: by MadgeUK (last edited Feb 10, 2011 02:03AM) (new)

MadgeUK Some trivia:

Whilst looking up the story of Chanticleer and the Fox I came across this piece about the mascot of the Athletics Department of Coastal Carolina University:-

I also came across this reference to the lines

'By instinct he'd marked each ascension down
Of equinoctial value in that town;
For when fifteen degrees had been ascended,
Then crew he so it might not be amended.'

Apparently these are all astronomical references. Chaucer wrote the first technical manual on how to use an astrolabe:-

The number 7 is also significant: 'Seven hens to give him pride and all pleasance' and 'and she had been so fair Since that same day when [Pertelote] was seven nights old'. Seven was a magical number in medieval times, associated with the seven days of creation and other references to seven in the Bible. There are also various astronomical references to seven, such as the number of stellar objects in the solar system visible to the naked eye and the 'seven sisters' of the constellation of Pleiades.

message 7: by MadgeUK (last edited Feb 10, 2011 02:15AM) (new)

MadgeUK This description of Chanticleer might imply that 'all that glitters is not gold':-

His comb was redder than a fine coral,
And battlemented like a castle wall.
His bill was black and just like jet it shone;
Like azure were his legs and toes, each one;
His spurs were whiter than the lily flower;
And plumage of the burnished gold his dower.

I love the wise words and medicine of Pertelote in Lines 176-200:

For God's love go and take some laxative;
On peril of my soul, and as I live,
I counsel you the best, I will not lie,
That both for choler and for melancholy
You purge yourself; and since you shouldn't tarry,
And in this town there's no apothecary,
I will myself go find some herbs for you
That will be good for health and pecker too;
And in our own yard all these herbs I'll find,
The which have properties of proper kind
To purge you underneath and up above.....

The words 'that will be good for health and pecker too' (tr) reminded me that telling someone who is sick to 'keep your pecker up' might have originated with this tale. Do Americans use that expression?

message 8: by MadgeUK (last edited Feb 14, 2011 02:04AM) (new)

MadgeUK Happy St Valentine's Day everyone!

There are many stories about the origin of St V day but in 1382 Geoffrey Chaucer wrote his Parlement of Foules (or “Parliament of Fowls”), which is widely taken to be the first linking of St Valentine's Day to romantic love. Celebrating the engagement of Richard II of England and Anne of Bohemia, he wrote: “For this was on St. Valentine's Day/ When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate.”

message 9: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 5057 comments MadgeUK wrote: "Happy St Valentine's Day everyone!"

Same to you, Madge! And all!

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