CONTEMPORARY HISTORICAL ALLUSION – NUN’S PRIEST’S TALE
A touch-and-go allusion to contemporary historical events and personages is made in the Tale. J.L. Hotson suggested so in 1924. According to him, Colfox of the Tale Is based on Nicholes Calfox. The real Colfox was one of those who were responsible for the killing or gloucester, a prince of England and youngest son to Edward 111. Chaucer likens the Colfox to famous traitors. The other historical event to which Chaucer seems to have referred is the duel at coventry between Hemy Bolingbroke, then Duke of Hereford, and Thomas Mowbray Duke of Norfolk.
King Richard stopped the proceeding just before blows were struck, and exiled the antagonists: Henry for ten years, and Mowbray for ever. “Such an heroic encounter, ending a bit ingloriously, but without hurt, for both combatants, furnishes ar excellent occasion for a sympathetic, humorous fable, done in a grave and gay mock-heroic style”. A striking similarity between chauntecleer’s colours and Henry’s arms is noticed. And the striking likeness between the fable and the duel is brought out.