free booknotes online

Help / FAQ


printable study guide online download notes summary


<- Previous | First | Next ->
Barron's Booknotes-The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer-Free Book Notes
Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version | MonkeyNotes

MAJOR CHARACTERS

We see the WIDOW only briefly, at the beginning and near the end, but she represents an important aspect of the story. Her life is simple and contented because she feels none of the temptations we associate with rich living. We understand her life and moral values in just a few lines.

CHANTICLEER presents an immediate contrast to the widow's simplicity. He is described like the noble prince in courtly love romances, which is a ludicrous description of a rooster. But this portrait gives us insight into the lovable and not-so-lovable characteristics of us humans, who are just as proud and vain as he is.

As a rooster, he carries large responsibilities: he crows better than any other rooster, he thinks he's responsible for the very sunrise, he makes use of all the hens sexually, and he struts around his farmyard turf like a lion. He's proud to the point of being arrogant (remember that, especially in medieval literature, pride comes before a fall), he's aware of his attractiveness, he's intelligent and sly, he is full of joy and life.

Is it ridiculous to have all these noble and ignoble characteristics combined in a rooster? Does his chicken shape keep us from taking him seriously? You'll have to decide how much of his portrait is just for amusement and how much we should apply to ourselves.


PERTELOTE is a marvelous parody of a wife who henpecks her husband, in this case literally. Impressively, she can quote from Cato, a respected medieval authority, on dreams, which surely not many medieval wives could do, let alone chickens. But her interest lies mostly in the daily concerns of keeping her husband healthy and happy, chalking up his bad dream to indigestion, and offering a complicated mixture of herbs for a laxative.

She is more than this, though. She is presented as the beloved lady of medieval romances, the queenly figure for whom the knight would gladly die, in accordance with the ideal of courtly love. Yet Chanticleer teases her while serving her in a knightly fashion, implying that she doesn't know things that he knows and therefore shouldn't stick her beak in. But then he does listen to her, and ignores the warning of his dream and his own explanations.

You might examine whether she represents human folly, seeing only the base things in life and ignoring the spiritual realm, or if she stands for the practicality that Chanticleer lacks.

Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version | MonkeyNotes


<- Previous | First | Next ->
Barron's Booknotes-The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer-Free Book Notes
Google
Web
PinkMonkey

Google
  Web PinkMonkey.com   
Google
  Web Search Our Message Boards   

All Contents Copyright © PinkMonkey.com
All rights reserved. Further Distribution Is Strictly Prohibited.


About Us
 | Advertising | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Home Page
This page was last updated: 5/9/2017 8:51:32 AM