The Use Of Beast Fable In "The Nun's Priet's Tale"

560 words - 2 pages

In Geoffrey Chaucer'sThe Nun's Priest's Tale, human characters contrast with the animal characters. Called a beast fable, the animals in the tale take on human characteristics. Although all of the characters - the widow, Chaunticleer, Pertelote, and the fox - are all relatively human, they are far different from each other. What is especially interesting is the way Chaunticleer and Pertelote interact with each other. The two characters, though they are poultry, illustrate the comical and typical relationship of a long-married couple. Combined, all of the differences of the characters make for interesting representations and interactions. The widow is a model of her estate. The description of her habits contrasts the simplicity of the human character with her barnyard animals' pretentiousness. Her simple life includes humble activities (tending her animals) and plain food ("slender meals" unembellished by "poignant" sauces [Line 13-14]). Her avoidance of excess food and drink contrasts with the dietary excess of which Pertelote will accuse Chaunticleer later. Similarly, the widow's humility contrasts with Chaunticleer's haughtiness. Roosters announce the arrival of morning. Chaucer inflates his rooster by attributing to him specific knowledge of the astrological forces governing the rotation of the planets. After considering these factors, he crows. Chaunticleer is superior in other ways to his unassuming owner. Not only is he a well-informed rooster, but he is a handsome one. Described in terms of the bright colors medieval people associated with royalty, his appearance was regal: red, black, blue, white, and gold. Besides being intelligent and handsome, he is...

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