Canterbury Tales- the Cook

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Canterbury Tales Character Analysis
“The Cook”
The cook is clearly an extremely talented chef, who can accomplish virtually anything within the realm of his kitchen. “And he could roast and seethe and broil and fry,” (393). Chaucer listed the talents of the cook in stream of consciousness to emphasize just how talented the cook truly is. Chaucer’s thoughts appear flustered, hinting that the talents of the cook that he listed do not even scratch the surface of the cook’s limitless talents and true potential. Chaucer then solidifies this conclusion by stating that the cook made the best blancmange. “As for blancmange, he made it with the best” (397).

The cook could not have always been such a marvelous chef. He must have had to dedicate numerous hours to perfecting his craft. The cook was not social, and in fact people avoided him as much as possible. “They had a cook with them who stood alone” (389). One can conclude that as a result of the cook’s lack of social interaction due to the rejection from the other pilgrims, he accumulated a vast amount of free time. With this abundance of free time, the cook buried himself in his work, leaving no room for anything short of perfection, thus transcending to the status of an extraordinary chef.

Chaucer supports this conclusion with the syntax of lines 389-392. He creates a framework story to explain the cook’s metamorphosis into an amazing chef. “For Boiling chicken with marrow- bone, Sharp flavoring powder and a spice for savor. He could distinguish London ale by flavor,” (390-392). Referring to line 389 above, Chaucer states that the cook stands alone. With his solitude the cook dedicates all of his time to cooking. Line 390 is dull and dreary. Chaucer simply says that the cook can boil chicken with marrow bone without any enthusiasm, as if this task is not anything special. In line 391, Chaucer’s mood erupts with enthusiasm, and is revealed...
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