The mock- heroic aspect of the Nun’s Priest Tale?

The mock- heroic term also called as “mock- epic” is refers to the form of satire that enhances the heroic style of the classical poem to trivial subject.

The Nun’s Priest’ tale is one of the brilliantly written tales, by Chaucer in The Canterbury Tales. This tale is primarily based on animal story or fable. This tale is intrinsically mock- heroic, as it deals with an identity or parallelism between animals and humans. Therefore, the story reflects the poet’s serio- comic outlook in the use of hyperbole and disproportion.

The mock- heroic of the tale is Chanticleer who is presented as mockery and describes his voice and appearance. The comic exaggeration and the conventional humanization is remarkable in NPT. Chanticleer shares his dream to one of his favorite wife hen Pertelote who dismisses by saying that dreams are useless and it has no meaning.

Pertelote’s ideal cock is woman’s ideal man. The cock’s dream stories have not only human characters but learned sources in Cicero Macrobius (who interpreted the dream of the worthy Scipio of Africa). His learning and learned allusions to Christian and classical lore are of course mock- heroic.

The NPT tale as mock- heroic has a royal cock, as it were a grym leoun, (heartless) the fall of the prince is the cock who is averted by a happy stroke of luck. The cry that the woful (affected by something) hen made is mock- heroically described as greater than the cries described in heroic epics like Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aencied.

Pertelote shrieked louder than “died Hasdrubales wyf”, the hen cried like the senators’.

The epic analogies are unmistakably mock- heroic. The priest’s reflections on Adam and Eve, on free will and predetermination are all mock- heroic. The NPT tale is unique as it written in tradition of mock- heroic poetry in English. Dryden and Pope wrote, respectively, “Mac Flecknoe” and “The Rape of The Lock”. But unlike these poems, NPT deals with low animals. It is not based on like any other animal farm satire nor it is allegorical. It mocks heroism, as Don Quixote mocks heroism, romance and chivalry. Chaucer’s realism is a forerunner of Cervantes’s and Shakespeare’s comedy. Therefore, the cock’s story which is interpreted by the priest, and the poet judges or interprets this interpretation in the wider context of the whole poem. Hence the close comedy of the cock’s life is his pride, his pedantry and his two temptations i.e. (a) a woman and (b) yielding to flattery, which shows that the main plot requires only the last trait that is yielding to flattery and the other traits that belong to the subplot in which the dream and the hen figure prominently. The two plots (i) the cock and the fox (ii) the cock, the dream and the hen that are linked together but not in a casual nor in rational way.

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