Short note on lady Pertelote in the nun’s priest’s tale

The hen in Chaucer’s ‘Nun’s Priest’s Tale’ and also the wife of Chaunticleer is Lady Pertelote. She is Chauntecleer’s favorite hen and his severest critic in The Nun’s Priest’s Tale. Lady Pertelote is companionable, loving, Judgemental, smart, friendly, and modest. 

She seems to be a nice, companionable chicken that is in love with Chanticleer, but soon loses that interest after Chanticleer awakens from a nightmare screaming, saying that she could never marry a coward. Pertelote dismisses Chanticleer’s dream of being attacked and tells him to go about his business. 

More Notes: a short note on the widow

But Chaunticleer thinks the dream is a message from God warning of his imminent fall from the top of the Wheel of Fortune, and by implication associates himself with tragic heroes who also suffer the whims of Fortune. Then Pertelote misinterprets his dream of the fox and advises Chauntecleer to take a laxative. She suggested he should sleep for two days. She tells him he dreamed because he ate too much and that it is well-known that dreams have no meaning. Then she quotes Cato to prove Chaunticleer’s dream meaningless. 

Pertelote tries to motivate Chauntecleer saying that women like fearless men. This suggests that she is very easily swayed, as well as quite judgmental. On the other hand, maybe she just has very clear views on what she wants from a spouse. However, later it is shown that she loves Chanticleer dearly. At the end of the tale, Pertelote shows her concern for her husband Chaunticleer. 

Rashedul Islam
Rashedul Islam

Hi, This is Rashedul. Researcher and lecturer of English literature and Linguistics.

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