18 September 2018
CT Essay Outline
What comes to your mind when you hear the word Irony? Irony is defined by Webster’s
Ninth collegiate dictionary as “The use of words to express something other than and especially
the opposite of the literal meaning” (Webster 639). The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales sets
the backdrop for the Characters of Chaucer’s iconic storybook. In His prologue, He defines who
His characters are and how they act. The prologue sets the background on the particular character
who is labeled a monk. In the prologue to the Canterbury Tales, Chaucer exhibits his dislike of
the Monk’s love of hunting, worldly possessions and insincere lifestyle by using mixed literary
Through Ironic reflection on the ideals of a monk and how the monk rejects them,
Chaucer purposefully shows his dislike of the monk’s practice of hunting instead of meditating.
A Stereotypical monk would spend his life in prayer and only doing other tasks when necessary.
However, this particular monk rejected the ideals of a medieval monk. Chaucer narrates by
saying “The rule of good St. Benet and St. Maur, as old and strict he tended to ignore…(Chaucer
177-178). The two Saints mentioned in this passage represents the rules and traditions that
Church leaders established. The Monk totally rejects the monastic ideals of prayer and
meditation. He instead chose to pursue hunting and worldly riches. Chaucer exhibits the Monk’s
excessive pursuit of hunting woodland animals by using imagery. He says “Many a dainty horse
he had in his stable, his bridle… a man might hear jingling in a whistling wind as clear, aye, and
as loud as the chapel bell where my lord Monk was prior of the cell” (Chaucer 172-176). Here
Chaucer subtly uses a metaphor to display his disapproval of the Monk’s absence from His
monastery. Chaucer’s subtle language speaks volumes about his negative opinion of the Monk.
His negative portrayal does not end there, but continues.
In his second negative portrayal he once again uses imagery and descriptive language to
show the monk’s bad behavior. This time He uses subdued language to mock the Monk’s
unnecessary and expensive clothing. Once again he breaks Monastic tradition by wearing nice
clothes. Chaucer notes that, “his sleeves were garnished at the hand, with fine gray fur, the finest
in the land…” (Chaucer 198-199). Chaucer is once again making a subtle statement about the
Monk’s character. He uses the Monk’s clothing to show the morality of this Monk. He is using
his money to make himself more comfortable and fashionable while he could be using his money
to support the poor. Chaucer follows up his subtle language by some not so subtle imagery and
added ironic language. He now continues his narration by saying, “Supple his boots, his horse in
fine condition, he was a prelate fit for exhibition, he was not pale like a tormented soul”
(Chaucer 207-209). In this passage, Chaucer reveals that this Fr...