Wednesday, May 03, 2006

journal for chaucer class

Nun's Priests Tale

This tale really interested me because Chanticleer is such an odd character. He is clearly an animal because of his animal instincts, such as having sex with Pertelote 28 times in one day, yet he has extensive book learning.
Pertelote was also an interesting character since she tells Chanticleer that she does not love him anymore since he is such a coward. This is clearly hyperbole, but the choice of words is interesting especially considering her reaction when he actually does get abducted. Her claim to no longer love him because of his cowardice is completely discounted after Chanticleer is kidnapped by the fox.
The fox is another character that interested me. I would think that a fox who was clever enough to trick Chanticleer into singing with his eyes closed so that he could eat him, would see through the obvious trick that Chanticleer eventually gets away with. This eventual trick at the end makes the tale seem like it was ended just to have an ending. It seems to me like Chaucer was looking for a simple way to end the tale, so he chose the easy way out.
I really liked the different proof that Pertelote uses to prove to Chanticleer that dream are not important. She uses a lot of philosophers, and makes herself sound very intelligent. But then Chanticleer annihilates her with sources against her argument which made me think that he was simply trying to show off. Though Chanticleer clearly disagrees with Pertelote, it seems extremely unnecessary to me that he would need to outline so many sources against her argument. That particular scene made me feel a little bit more hostile towards Chanticleer, he seemed so antifeminist and pompous.
I also noticed that the tale refers to “Jakke Straw and his maynee”. I especially liked this reference, and the footnotes say that it was a reference to the peasant’s rebellion that had been going on when Chaucer was writing the Canterbury Tales. This makes me wonder why Chaucer would feel like it was important to include political themes in a tale that on the surface is a light hearted moral beast fable. This particular reference makes me wonder whether Chaucer actually meant this tale to be a political commentary.
All in all I really liked this tale and I’ll get more insight into it when I prepare and give my presentation on it.


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