Characterization of the Prioress from the Canterbury Tales

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Characterization of the Prioress from The Canteberbury Tales

The Prioress represents the church during the time the pilgrimage was taking place. In the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales, the Prioress is described as "fashionably out of date", and "worldly"(page31). In the Canterbury Tales her appearance was described as anything but nunly. Her smile was simple and coy, her nose was elegant, her eyes glass-grey her mouth was very small but red. The clothing that she wore was very flashy for a nun. She wore a "graceful" cloak trinket on her arm, beads and a golden brooch that read, "Love conquers all"(page6-7).Overall the Prioress does not suggest the modesty of a nun, and all of her attributes come off as a bit sinful. This makes some what a mockery of the church because, everything about the Prioress is contradictory, and this is perceptible by the appearance of the Prioress The Prioresses character traits showed us that even though she was worldly she was a respectable young woman. She had her good manners. She was pleasant and friendly and enjoyable. In the Canterbury Tales it says,: She would weep if she but saw a mouse

Caught in a trap, if it were dead or bleeding.
And she had little dogs she would be feeding
With roasted flesh, or milk, or fine white bread.
And bitterly she wept if one were dead(page 7).
So she was a charitable woman and very tender hearted and I think that she also shows this in her tale by the way she expresses the mothers emotions along with everyone else's.
The Prioresses Tale illustrates the irony of the church and how things essentially were. The was a widow who had a son, seven years old, and all that the widow would teach her son was their faith and especially Mary Mother of Christ. In The Canterbury Tales you see the devotion to the church from the mother and son:

And had the custom (for he had been told
To do so) should he happen to behold
An image of Christ's mother, to kneel and say
Hail Mary as he...
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