The Prioress, By Geoffrey Chaucer

Decent Essays

The Prioress, as the superior nun, is an emotional and sentimental woman of God who wears her emotions on her sleeves and loses control over every little events. Although she attempts to keep her composure, she often lapses into a melancholic temperament. The character of the Prioress in Geoffrey Chaucer 's Canterbury Tales is introduced as an elegant, sophisticated nun, but she is actually a prejudiced person. It is Chaucer 's intent in her presentment to show that the nun is inconsiderable, irreligious, and infantine. As her features are looked at mindfully, we can discover her longing for a different life, motherhood, or merely a longing for what she cannot have as contrary to the primary attributes of a nun. Appearance wise, the …show more content…

One contradiction is the Prioress 's loving nature towards animals. It is at odds with her vindictiveness and unmerciful attitude towards the Jews in her tale. Her maternal instincts will also be shown to be highly relevant to a discussion of her contradictory character. Chaucer tells the reader of the Prioress 's fascination with helpless animals, and her kind treatment thereof, to show a complexity of this lady 's character. Her cloak is elegant, and her coral-bead rosary is more of a piece of jewelry than a religious artifact. These are also indications that the Prioress is more concerned with material possessions and a comfortable life, than with the bare, impoverished life of a nun, free of wealth and fine clothing. In further examination of the Prioress 's appearance, also of importance after the Prioress 's habit is her jewelry. The Prioress gives the boy in her tale the very colors of her green and coral beads to symbolize his chastity and martyrdom. The Prioress speaks of the boy: "This gemme of chastitee, this emeraude/ and eek of martirdom the ruby bright" (175 – 176). The Prioress 's ambiguous brooch is also suspect, with its inscription of "Love Conquers All." The discrepancies of the Prioress are brought more when she tells her tale. In the General Prologue, it

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