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The Canterbury Tales: The Second Nun's Tale

The Canterbury Tales: The Second Nun's Tale


by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales: The Second Nun's Tale Lines 414-441 Summary

  • But the ministers, converted by Cecilia's wise teaching, weep and come to true belief upon her words, and cry more and more.
  • They say, "Christ, God's son, who is one and the same with God, is very God – this is all our meaning – who has so good a servant to serve him. With one voice we believe this, though we die."
  • Almachius, hearing of this, commands that they bring Cecilia to him, so he can see her.
  • This is the first thing he asks: "What kind of a woman are you?"
  • Cecilia says, "I am a gentle woman born." (So she's a member of the upper class.)
  • "I ask you," says Almachius, "though it grieve you, about your religion and belief."
  • "You have begun your question foolishly," says Cecilia, "if you want two answers to one question. You asked unlearnedly."
  • Almachius answers, "Where does your rude answer come from?"
  • "From where?" says she when questioned. "From conscience, and from genuine good faith."
  • Almachius replies, "Don't you have any respect for my power?"
  • And she answers him like this: "Your power is not very scary. The power of every mortal man is like a bladder full of air, truly. For when it is pricked with the point of a needle, all its false boasting is punctured and exposed."

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