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The Nun's Priest's Tale: A Pattern of Balance Between Moral and Merriment

Student:Good Day, Sir Chaucer, and thank you for taking the time to talk to me. Today I would like to address your "Nun's Priest's Tale" from The Canterbury Tales.Myfirst question relates to the most obvious patterns in the Tale, namely humor.Now in the introduction, it becomes clear that the Monk's tale, preceding this one, has been quite gloomy.Indeed, he is accused of annoying "the entire company", and practically begged not to imposed upon them any "more of this".It seems then that the company is looking for entertainment rather than education.Finding the Monk unable to rise from his gloom, they then settle on the Nun's Priest to tell the tale, and the host's words to him also seems to focus on the company's need for less gloomy entertainment: “Come near, you priest,/ come hither, you Sir John,Tell us a thing to make our hearts all glad".Myfirst question to you is one focusing on this issue of humor.How important is this element in the Tale of the Nun's Priest?
Chaucer:Oh, it is very important indeed.You must remember that the company consists of a wide variety of people and personalities.Some are greatly virtuous, while others are only concerned with physical pleasure, and others still are inherently violent.Each tale then also focuses on the type of person telling the tale.I think the monk makes it quite clear that he is not of a naturally humorous disposition in his refusal to lighten the mood: “I have no wish to play;Now let another tell, as I have told.”
This humorless reply, along with the fact that he is perturbed neither by snide comments regarding the tale nor by invitations to talk about hunting, shows the nature of the Monk as a very serious type of person.It is not in his nature to tell a humorous tale.Because humor is now needed in order to lighten the mood of the company and the work as a whole, I have brough…


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