LEVELS OF MEANING IN NPT (NUN’S PRIEST’S TALE)

LEVELS OF MEANING IN NPT (NUN’S PRIEST’S TALE) – “On the primary level the Nun’s priest’s Tale is a brilliant and complex exposure of vanity, self-esteem, and self-indulgence through the mock-heroic treatment of a beast fable. On the secondary level, the Nun’s Priest joins the discussions of the Pilgrims on poverty (Man of Law, Wife of Bath), women’s advice (Merchant), rhetoric (Host and squire), and marriage. He is also presenting in the contrast between the widow and Chantecleer a veiled comment on his position vis-a-vis the Prioress. Finally, on the level of involuntary revelation, be falls into the pedantry that he is ridiculing and uncovers for a moment in his confusion the feelings of a misogyist dependent on a woman. In this moment there is revealed a second conflict, the conflict between the artist, building with the materials of his art a world where his feelings achieve symbolic and universal expression, and the man, expressing his feelings directly.

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