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The Canterbury Tales: The Second Nun's Tale

The Canterbury Tales: The Second Nun's Tale

by Geoffrey Chaucer

Cecilia's Angel

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Cecilia has an angel who "kepes" her body, and whom she claims will kill Valerian if he attempts to have sex with her, but "will loven yow as me" if Valerian loves her with pure, un-physical love. This angel may represent the Holy Spirit, who is often associated with God's powerful "arm" that takes vengeance for his beloved. This interpretation seems even more likely given the angel's gift of crowns to the two Christians: another of the Holy Spirit's jobs is to distribute God's gifts among the faithful.

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