The Nun’s Priest’s Tale finalizes the distinction between the three wives in “The Canterbury Tales. ” An old widow along with her two daughters lives in a small cottage near a meadow. The widow keeps a magnificent rooster named Chaunticleer. “In all the land, for crowing, he’d no peer. His voice was merrier than the organ gay On Mass days, which in church begins to play; more regular was his crowing in his lodge than is a clock or abbey horologe (Nun’s Priest’s page 1 of 7). ” In the entire land Chaunticleer is the best at crowing.
Although Chunticleer has over seven hens to choose from, he chooses the lovely Lady Pertelote. Her social poise and gentility captivates Chaunticleer’s heart. One morning when Chaunticleer sat with Pertelote, he began to complain about a dream. Chaunticleer tells her about a dream he had in which a fox was trying to capture and kill him. Pertelote dismisses Chaunticleer’s dream and comments on his being afraid of dreams and declared that he had quite lost her love by showing fear. “Aha, fie on you spiritless!
Alas! For by that God above, Now have you lost my heart and all my love; I cannot love a coward, by my faith (Nun’s Priest’s pages 2 of 7). ” She firmly asserts that dreams are the result of an imbalance of the body, but Chaunticleer maintains that dreams aren’t meaningless and tells stories to justify why he should listen to his dream. He gets so caught up in his expression that he drifts from his argument. Chaunticleer tells Pertelote that it is foolish to disregard the warnings posed by dreams.
Sensing that he is being obnoxious and rude to Pertelote, he changes the subject and praises her beauty and his love for her: “In one respect God’s given me much grace; for when I see the beauty of your face. ” Meanwhile the fox, Daun Russel, is in the yard and hides among the cabbage leaves waiting for the best moment to attack Chaunticleer. Chaunticleer reaches the cabbage patch and suddenly notices the fox that is hiding there. The fox keeps him form running by praising his excellent voice. He grabs Chaunticleer by the neck and runs into the woods causing the hens to screech.
The screeching of the hens awakens the widow and her daughters and the pleas for help causes a number of men and women in the town to chase the fox. In order to save himself Chaunticleer coerces the fox into yelling at the crowd. The fox follows the suggestion and when he opens his mouth Chaunticleer brakes free and flies away. This story shows that Chaunticleer is ruled by women and does not like it. Pertelote explains Chaunticleer’s dream medically and does not see it as a prediction of the things to come. Pertelote’s ridicule of her husband’s ideas about the importance of dreams reflects her medieval wifely behavior.
The Franklin’s Tale provides a compromise between the ideals of Dorigen’s patience and compliance and the Wife of Bath’s demand of sovereignty. The Nun’s Priest tale deals with the relation between the control of a women and the power of a man. All stories show that a wife’s celebration of marriage contradicts the view of love and mastery by the husband. The women’s honor, which is her chastity and flattery, are acted out differently by these women. A t the same time their actions still show that a wife should be loyal and hold the place of a true partner. Each woman goes about it in a different way.