The Nun’s Priest’s Tale summary and analysis

Before going to the summary let’s highlight few basic points to make your understanding better like; characters, themes, genre, style etc.

Character Highlights

Chanticleer – A proud cock or rooster and the main protagonist who has seven hen wives

Pertelote – One of the seven wives but fevourite one of Chanticleer

Daun Russel, a fox – who caught Chanticleer and ran into the forest

A widow and her two daughters – who has a farm, where all the animals lived including Chanticleer.

Theme of the Poem

There are some major themes in NPT, which have been highlighted by the author

The major theme is “pride” also few themes like, reflection on murder and homicide, relationship of man and woman, freewill and predetermination, destiny and flattery of the role of the Courtiers has also play a mere role in the poem.

About the Poem

The Nun’s Priest’s Tale is one of the most popular tales from the tales of ‘The Canterbury’. This tale is not an isolated tale but belongs to a series of tales in Canterbury, The Canterbury has 24 tales (20 complete and remaining 4 incomplete) interpreted by the pilgrims respectively. The Canterbury Tale is written in 1309, by the father of English poetry Geoffrey Chaucer.

The NPT begin just after the tale of The Monk’s tale, “The Fall of Princess” The NPT is a tale interpreted by A Nun and A Priest.  The tale is about a rooster as the main protagonist and his seven wives, hen. NPT is a beast fable and a mock- epic tale based on an incident in the Reynard Cycle in medieval Age. Also, this tale is being compared to the 1381, peasants revolt lead by Wat Taylor.

In the NPT, the fable concerns a world of talking animals who reflect both human perception and fallacy of their characters, like the talking animals who replicates human’s thought of perception.

In the NPT, the animals including rooster and Pertelote live in a farm of a widow woman. The woman who lives in a small cottage with her two daughters has many other animals in her farm like; geese, duck, hen etc.

The rooster name Chanticleer who has his fevourite hen and his wife name Pertelote. The cock loves Pertelote the most, among his all seven wives.

NPT belongs to the type of story which falls in “danger and death” stories category. Therefore, NPT collocated a number of stories like’ story about dreams, or dream story, which is told by the cock and the priest.

NPT is a fictional and history- based tale, interpreted by three story tellers i.e. The cock, the Priest and the poet himself. Not only this, the comic, mock- heroic and historical aspects of the form of NPT are the gift of Chaucer’s genius. He is an excellent story teller.

The NPT, ironically structured like the fox and the cock outwit one another by turns, which shows how the cock saves himself from a tragic end by fooling the fox. Whereas, the fox flattered, hoodwinked and trapped him. Therefore, his clever trick would not have worked if the fox had seen his hidden meaning.


A poor widow lives in a small cottage in a village has an animal farm where few animals have been kept including Chanticleer, who is a great possession of the woman. Chanticleer is a beautiful cock who crowns beautifully that no cock can match him. He is the main protagonist and the Master of his seven wives, hen. Among them the smart and beautiful is the ‘Pertelote’ who is also a fevourite of Chanticleer. Pertelote, who has his heart, shares all his happiness and grief.

One spring morning, Chanticleer woke up and begin to groan terribly because he had a nightmare, where he saw a beast who was trying to kill him. The beast resembles with fox in terms of color and mark. By hearing this, Pertelote cried out and asked the reason for his groaning, he interpreted the whole story, that he had a nightmare, and in the nightmare, he saw a hound like animal who tried to grasp his body and aimed to kill him.

The hound was fulvous in color and his tail and ears are black- dotted. After hearing the dreams of the cock, Pertelote explained that dreams are useless and hence it has no meaning. By saying this she mocked him by calling him a coward. He lost her love for him after that.

Feeling bad, Chanticleer went to the forest and begin to sing merrily he saw a fox name Don Russel, coming towards him. As Chanticleer was about to run, but the fox somehow managed to catch him by praising his singing. He said your voice has magic like his father, who once used to stretch his neck and stand on his tiptoes and sing.

After that the fox asked Chanticleer to just sing one exactly like his father. Chanticleer falls for his praise, stretched his neck and begin to sing while standing on his tiptoes. Just after a while, the fox grabbed him by his neck and ran into the forest.

The poor widow and her daughters who chased the fox followed by the other animals and villagers. Somehow, Chanticleer managed to speak and pursued the fox to curse the people who are chasing them. The fox fall into his trap and opened his mouth, Chanticleer flew and escape to the top of the tree.

This how the story moves forward and Chanticleer escape, but the fox fall into one’s own trap. The fox tri hard to persuade Chanticleer again, but his words are not effective anymore because Chanticleer now has learnt a lesson that one should never trust’s flatter.

Therefore, the tale leaves a message in the end that one should “NEVER TRUST FLATTERS” one should “NOT TO BE PROUD”. How Chanticleer trapped in the fox’s plan because he overwhelmed by his false praise and feels proud of himself.

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