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Characters of The Canterbury Tales: The Prioress

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Joe Dantes

on 7 May 2014

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Transcript of Characters of The Canterbury Tales: The Prioress

Due: May 7th, 2014
Project By: Krista Martin, Joseph Dantes, Annie Harper, Shauna Breen, Zach Craig, Michael Lay, Kate Gontz, Tom Matthews, and Monte Guess
Mr. Nejman’s Period 5 ELA II Class

Characters of The Canterbury Tales:
The Prioress

Status in Feudal Society
As the Prioress, her status in the Feudal Society Pyramid of the Canterbury Tales stands within the clergy class, a highly looked upon class that is respected by all that stand before it. The Prioress, as the superior nun, is a prestigious religious official that is attended along with the Nun, the Priest, the Friar, and the Monk.
Overall, Chaucer's Prioress is portrayed as a character is not who as she seems to be. Madame Engeltyne is a unique individual whose personality traits and physical appearance make an ironic impression to the viewer-straying away from having the virtues and values a Prioress would. The Prioress stereotypical figure is a different and special personality in
The Canterbury Tales,
a pilgrim who is portrayed differently as compared to other pilgrims such as the Knight and the Squire, whose characters follow Chaucer's view of their stereotype.
The Prioress's Tale
The Prioress's Tale centers around a young boy who is martyed for being a Christian, singing through the streets of a Jewish ghetto the phrase "'Alma Redemptoris Mater' ("Nurturing Mother of the Redeemer")". The tale is an example of the theme of Medieval Christianity and has been criticized for its anti-semitism. It reflects on the Prioress's character and position in the
Canterbury Tales.
Though she may have the grace and modesty of a nun, Madame Engeltyne's attributes have an irony, a mockery to the church as you will. Chaucer's Prioress stereotype holds the representation and reputation of being a respectable young woman who would "weep if she saw a mouse caught in a trap." The Prioress shows characteristics of being pleasant, friendly, tender hearted, and charitable.
Who is the Prioress?
Explanation of Tale and Revelation of Personality
The Prioress's tale highly reflects on the characteristics of the Prioress herself (being a religious figure, a nun). Her story is an invocation to the Virgin Mary, expressing her devotion to Christ. This Tale also reflects on the time period she had lived, during medieval England (an era in which Christians and Jews were in opposition of each other). As in this tale she expresses her opposing ideals to Jews (the story being about a Christian child martyr who is killed by Jews).
Chaucer, an author who plays by stereotypes, creates the character known as the Prioress, a.k.a Madame Eglentyne in his Canterbury Tales. Though the Prioress is a stereotype that represents the true virtues and ideals of a nun, Madame Eglentyne strays away from this "superior nun" characteristic and displays a more "courtly lady" position.
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