Chaucer the Monks Tale

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Chaucer Article: Monk

When one thinks of a monk, he may imagine someone who studies, prays, and performs manual labor. The Monk, one of the thirty pilgrims travelling on a pilgrimage to Canterbury in The Canterbury Tales, is nothing like the usual monk many people imagine. He is rebellious, ignores rules, and lives and controls his own life. Chaucer, the narrator and author of The Canterbury Tales, shows these characteristics in the way the Monk looks, the things he says and does, and in the things the host, a character in "The Monk's Prologue," and Chaucer say about him.

The Monk is nothing like the usual monk many people imagine. He hunts hares and rides horses instead of studying, praying, and working. He does not follow the rules of the monastery which say that monks should not hunt, be reckless, nor leave the monastery. Instead,they should study and perform manual labor. The Monk ignores these rules. Chaucer shows that the Monk does not care about the rules when he says, "He yaf nought of that text a pulled hen"(Norton, p.85) and when he says, "Of priking and of hunting for the hare was al his lust, for no cost wolde he spare"(191-192). The Monk will never follow the rules because they are against what he loves to do. He may want to have the title of "monk" but does not want to do what it takes to be a monk, which is to quit riding and hunting and start studying, praying, and performing manual labor. He has control over his life since he does not let the rules dictate what he should or should not do.

The Monk's robe is different from that of other monks. Monks usually wear plain habits with hoods. This Monk has gray fur on the sleeves of his cope and a gold pin with a love knot at the end of the hood. This indicates that he is not religious because instead of the gold pin, he should have a rosary. He is in good shape unlike other monks who are thin because they fast often. He is bald and has a...
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