The Prioress


            The Prioress’s portrait   from   Chaucer’s   Canterbury Tales

The   Canterbury Tales is one of the most important work in English literature, since   it popularized the English language instead of the Latin or French literary use   in the 14th century.
As for the plot,it   is quite simple, is about   a group of pilgrims who are on the way to the shrine of Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. Each of them is a participiant of a story-telling order to receive a free dinner .
Because of the story-.telling motive, the Canterbury Tales bears the influence of Bocaccio’s Decameron.As it may the title suggest, the author, Geoffrey Chaucer focuces on the stories being told and not on the journey itself.
In addition to these, literary   features,Geoffrey Chaucer’s(1343-1400) frame tale is a great summary   of   his contemporary society.,referring to   that   turbulant time   of English history.The characters and the tales are used   in order to descript an ironic   and critical portrait of the society   and particularly ,of the church at the time.The   society was divided in three estates:those who work, those who fight and those who pray(the clergy).
According to this,many characters in the Tales are religious, represented the different views   of the church in Chaucer’s England. The pilgrimage’s destination-the shrive of a saint-also has strong religious connotations.But it’s clear from Chaucer’s critical point of view that in the case of these seemingly godly persons, the outside does not alway match to the inside. The accurate description of the prioress seems to imply this religious hypocrisy.
    The Prioress is the „woman of two faces”. If we read   the   General Prologue carefully, we can see   that in her   description , Chaucer implied many characteristics that   support this duality. One of the most important element in the Prologue is her name "[S]he was cleped madame Eglentyne,"   as the englentine, a flower, was a common symbol for Mary...