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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 Analysis

Literary Devices in The Canterbury Tales: The Second Nun's Tale

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

When Cecilia's angel places the crowns of roses and lilies on Cecilia and Valerian's heads, he tells them, "With body clene and with unwemmed thoght / Kepeth ay wel thise corones" (225-226). Then h...

Setting

"The Second Nun's Tale" takes place at a time in history when Christianity was just getting started. What this means for our story is that the powers that be (for example, Almachius), have not embr...

Narrator Point of View

Although the Second Nun primarily narrates her tale of Cecilia in a very objective-seeming third person voice, she does insert the occasional "as I writen fynde." What's up with that? Well, remembe...

Genre

A saint's life, like "The Second Nun's Tale," is a biography, but a biography of a very specific type. It's concerned only with the events of the saint's life that serve as evidence of that saint's...

Tone

"The Second Nun's Tale" uses tons adjectives as embellishment, which is why it merits being called "flowery." Most of this adjectival embellishment happens when characters are addressed or named. C...

Writing Style

For a discussion of Chaucer's use of iambic pentameter check out our guide to the "General Prologue & Frame Story." Here we'll discuss the style unique to "The Second Nun's Tale."The rime royal sta...

What's Up With the Title?

In his portrait of the Prioress in the General Prologue, Chaucer mentions that she's brought a buddy along on pilgrimage with her – another nun who, since the Prioress is also a nun, would be...

What's Up With the Ending?

The ending of "The Second Nun's Tale" is completely disgusting. No really, it is. First, Cecilia gets boiled in a bathtub for three days. Then, when that doesn't kill her, an executioner tries to c...

Tough-o-Meter

Combine Middle English with the complicated rime royal stanza and you've got a recipe for complexity, with sentences that twist around like snakes. All is not lost, however: many resources exist to...

Plot Analysis

A holy young noblewoman named Cecilia is determined to live a Christian life in pagan Rome. She converts her husband and his brother to Christianity.We have all the potential for a good plot here....

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

The pagan prefect Almachius decrees that everyone must worship at the shrine of Jupiter or die. When Valerian and Tiburtius refuse, Almachius orders them beheaded. Then he calls Cecilia before him....

Three Act Plot Analysis

A young Christian noblewoman is determined to live her life as a virgin. When forced to marry, she converts her husband Valerian and his brother-in-law Tiburtius to Christianity, and they live thei...

Trivia

Steaminess Rating

There's no sex in "The Second Nun's Tale." Nada. Zilch. In fact, one big point of the tale is how many of the characters refuse to have sex. It's part of their piety to keep their bodies "unstained...

Allusions

Saint Cecilia The Virgin Mary (21 – 77) Saint Ambrose (271)Christ (345) Jupiter, known in Greek as Zeus (364)

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