A Hollow Story of Martyrdom In The Prioress’s Tale

In the "General Prologue" the nun, or "Prioress," is described as simple and coy. Her name is "madame Eglentyne" and her greatest oath is by "Saint Loy," or Saint Eligius, the patron saint of goldsmiths, metalworkers, and coin collectors. Perhaps the Prioress cares deeply for transient physical valuables. At any rate, she speaks French very … Continue reading A Hollow Story of Martyrdom In The Prioress’s Tale

History Contra Poetics in The Physician’s Tale

There is no introduction to "The Physician's Tale." We begin en media res. The tale cites its source as Titius Livius ("Livy") the great Roman historian, though Chaucer likely borrowed sections from The Romance of the Rose which he also partially translated from French into Middle English. Unlike other tales, "The Physician's Tale" is not … Continue reading History Contra Poetics in The Physician’s Tale

A Qualified Defense of Marriage in The Merchant’s Tale

In the "General Prologue," the Merchant is described by Chaucer as having a forked beard, and he wears a Flemish beaver hat (presumably from his trade with the Dutch). He speaks his opinions solemnly, always focused on his profits. He expresses his desire for England to guard the coastline well, and he is well familiar … Continue reading A Qualified Defense of Marriage in The Merchant’s Tale