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Chaucers Canterbury Tales

The Canterbury Tales is a great assortment of stories written by Geoffrey Chaucer. Each individual story is told by a pilgrim from the voyage to Canterbury. “The Prioress’ Tale” was a Miracle of the Virgin story, told by the Prioress. Another tale is “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale” which is a Beast Fable. Then there is “The Pardoner’s Tale”, which is an Exemplum. The genres of The Canterbury Tales help shape the entire story.

In “The Prioress’ Tale”, the Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus, miraculously aids a follower in the time of need, which is also known as a Miracle of the Virgin tale. A few quotes from the tale support this, one is the following: “Where he lay face upright with throat slit, began to sing Alma Redemptoris’ so loud, that all the place began to ring” (Chaucer 291). The little boy’s throat had been slit, but since the Virgin Mary had placed the grain on his tongue, he was still able to sing until the grain was taken away.

Since the story shows the miracles that can happen when a follower is in the time of need, and how the Virgin Mary guides the follower, it proves that “The Prioress’ Tale” is a Miracle of the Virgin. An Allegory “is the representation of ideas or moral principles by means of symbolic characters, events, or objects” (Stein 150). The little boy in the story is compared to Jesus, the son of the Virgin Mary. Throughout “The Prioress’ Tale,” she tells of the Jews and uses a allegory, and compares Jesus’ death to the little boy’s.

My throat is cut to my neck-bone,” said this child, “and according to nature, I should have died, yes, a long while ago; But Jesus Christ, as you find in books, wills that His glory endure and be remembered; and, for the majesty of His Mother dear, yet may I sing o Alma’ loud and clear” (Chaucer 294). “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale” is a Beast Fable, or when “animals are given human qualities and are involved in clever tales that preach a moral lesson” (The Center for Learning 31). In the tale, Chanticleer is a rooster who is given human characteristics.

He talks throughout the story, showing his human like features. “Here men may see that dreams are to be feared” (Chaucer 316). The entire tale tells the story of Chanticleer and his seven wives. It shows how you shouldn’t be fooled twice. It also tries to help teach you a lesson by telling you to be aware of your dreams, and listen to them more by showing Chanticleers consequences to his decisions. Personification “is the giving of human qualities to objects, ideas, or animals” (Stein 150).

It describes the characters, the animals, by showing them in situations, and conversations that humans can normally have. It tells that Chanticleer can be gullible, and is dreamy. Then it also shows that Pertelote is very close-minded, stubborn, and unaware of things around her. The tale also describes Sir Russel the fox as being very sly, and can persuade people (in this case a rooster) to do things easily. During the tale, Pertelote talks to Chanticleer about her feelings, showing her human like characteristics. “I cannot love a coward, by my faith” (Chaucer 307).

The Pardoner’s Tale” is an Exemplum, or “a sermon that illustrates a known moral lesson” (The Center for Learning 31). This tale is an Exemplum because it shows the punishments, and what happens when you are greedy or go against what you say and are a hypocrite. “If you are so eager to find Death, turn up this crooked path, for in that grove I left him, by my faith, under a tree and there he will remain; he won’t go into hiding because of your boast and there they found, of fine round florins coined of gold” (Chaucer 371).

The Pardoner’s Tale” tells of greed, and how it eventually leads to death. After a encounter with a old man, three men are out on a search for Death. The old man sends them to a tree where the treasure is, and he knows exactly what the outcome will be, the three men end up getting what they were looking for. Irony “is a situation or event that is the opposite of what is or might be expected” (Stein 151). The Pardoner preaches against avarice, and commits this sin himself. He gets money from people as they confess their sins to him.

He even admits that he is only in everything for the money. “Of avarice and of such cursedness is all my preaching, to make them liberal to give their pennies, and especially to me. For my intention is only for profit, and not at all for correction of sin” (Chaucer 347-348). The Canterbury Tales has a great variety of different genres throughout all the individual stories. Examples are that “The Prioress’ Tale” is a Miracle of the Virgin, because of the little boy and his mother’s experience, and the miracle that happens.

Then “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale” is a Beast Fable showing that the animals have human like characteristics, and “The Pardoner’s Tale” is an Exemplum that tries to teach the reader a moral lesson. Each tale describes people, decisions, arguments, quarrels, characteristics, and punishments, or consequences to different things. The novel can be compared to society today because we have all the same problems, and types of people like the ones described in the book under each genre. The genre helps make up the structure of any story, especially The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, because of the wide variety of tales.

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