The Canterbury Tales: General Prologue & Frame Story
Literature and Writing Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
And trewely, as to my juggement,
Me thynketh [Petrarch's long Prologue] a thyng impertinent,
Save that he wole conveyen his mateere.
(Clerk's Prologue 53 – 55)
The Clerk's decision to omit the Prologue originally given the tale by its Italian author, Petrarch, shows that he, unlike Chaucer the character, doesn't feel the need to repeat tales exactly as he heard them. It also shows that he's a confident scholar, making public judgments about literature.
Lo, whiche sleightes and subtilitees
In wommen been! For ay as bisy as bees
Been they, us sely men for to deceyve,
And from the soothe evere wol they weyve;
By this Marchauntes tale it preveth weel.
(Merchant's Epilogue 1209 – 1213)
The Host seems convinced that he can draw conclusions about the character of all women from the events that happen in the Merchant's tale. What might be the problems with doing this? (For more about this, see the Wife of Bath's Prologue.)
By Corpus bones! But I have triacle,
Or elles a draughte of moyste and corny ale,
Or but I heere anon a myrie tale,
Myn herte is lost for pitee of this mayde.
(Pardoner's Introduction 28 – 31)
The Host thinks that a tale can have the same effect upon him as cake and beer, and that a happy tale can serve as a remedy for the sadness produced by a tragedy. This is a very physical, bodily description of the effect stories can have upon people.