Write a Short note on the comic elements in The Nun’s Priest’s Tale.

Comic elements are powerful tools in the literature. The Nun’s Priest’s Tale delivers comic elements in many places. The poem begins in a serious style. But the description of Chaunticleer and Pertelote, the dream debate between Chaunticleer and Pertelote, the comparison of a fox with Judas, and the manner of the fox is really comical.  

Comical description of Chaunticleer  

The narrator gives a vivid description of Chaunticleer. This description is really comical that makes you laugh. The narrator describes Chaunticleer in such a way, it seems that Chaunticleer is an epic hero. Chaucer describes Chaunticleer’s physical appearance. Chaunticleer’s comb is redder than fine coral, his black bill shone like a jet, his enthusiasm is whiter than the lily, his legs and toes were blue and his color was like burnished gold. Chaucer rightly remarks about Chaunticleer, 

His comb was redder than the fyn Coral 

And battaled as it were a castle wall. 

Comical description of Pertelote 

Chaucer gives Pertelote a romantic name that is Dame Pertelote. This name is used only for a pretty and attractive lady. Comparing the beauty of a hen with a beautiful lady and admiring the hen is totally a comic element. In the Nun’s Priest’s Tale among the seven hens, Pertelote is the favorite wife of Chaunticleer for her ideal beauty.  

The comical dream debate 

Chanticleer and lady Pertelote began to debate about the significance of dreams. This debate is highly comical. Pertelote expresses that she desires a husband who will be wise, generous, trustworthy, and brave, but not a coward like Chaunticleer. Here she proves Chaunticleer a fool for his dream at the very outset of the debate.  

Comical comparison of the fox with Judas  

The comparison of Sir Russell with some notorious traitors like Judas, Sinon, and Ganelon is really comical. Actually, this comparison is shown based on the flattering characteristics of Sir Russell. 

Comical manner of the fox 

The impressive manner that the fox used to catch Chaunticleer is really comical. Again and again, he has tried to impress Chaunticleer. He was able to ensure Chaunticleer that he would not do any harm to him. But after getting the chance he utilized it properly, though he became a fool to the ready wit of Chaunticleer.  

These comical scenes are highly ridiculous in the poem Nun’s Priest’s Tale. Chaucer added these scenes to make laugh to the audience so that they never feel bored while reading his poem. 

More Notes: the nun’s priest’s tale

Rashedul Islam
Rashedul Islam

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

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