One of the most interesting aspects of The Nun’s Priest Tale is the use of irony. There are a number of examples of irony in the tale, which add to the overall humor and satire.
The first example of irony is when Chauntecleer dreams that a fox is going to eat him. This dream comes true, but in a very different way than he expects. Instead of being eaten by the fox, Chauntecleer kills him with a sword.
Another example of irony occurs when Pertelote scolds Chauntecleer for his foolish dream. She tells him that it was all just a silly dream and that he should forget about it. However, as we know, Chauntecleer’s dream does come true.
The final example of irony in The Nun’s Priest Tale is when the fox tries to deceive Chauntecleer by telling him a story about a lion. The fox says that the lion is a terrible beast who will kill anyone he meets. However, we know that the lion is actually a very gentle creature. This example of irony highlights the theme of appearance versus reality.
Irony, sometimes known asestersis, is a form of literary combat that employs surprising, fascinating, or amusing contradictions. The Pardoners Tale and The Nun’s Priest’s Tale are two Chaucer pieces that exemplify irony. Although the stories are very distinct, they both employ irony to teach a lesson. In “The Pardoner’s Tale,’” the Pardoner uses his narrative to voice his concerns on several social issues for which he is culpable. He lectures on drinking while intoxicated while telling it.
He also speaks of greed, while pocketing the money people give him for pardons. The Nun’s Priest also uses irony in his story to make a point about human nature and the danger of blindly following authority.
The Pardoner’s Tale is ironic because the Pardoner is preaching about vice, while he himself is guilty of those very same vices. The Pardoner begins his tale by telling the other pilgrims that he preaches against drunkenness and gluttony, two vices he says lead to many other sins. He then proceeds to get drunk while telling his story. This use of irony makes it clear that the Pardoner is not to be trusted. He is a hypocrite who only cares about himself and his own gain.
The Nun’s Priest’s Tale is also ironic, though in a different way. The irony in this story comes from the fact that the main character, Chauntecleer, is a rooster who takes advice from a fox. This is ironic because foxes are traditionally known for being sly and cunning, while roosters are not. This use of irony highlights the dangers of blindly following authority. Just because someone is in a position of authority does not mean they are always right. In fact, sometimes those in positions of authority can be just as foolish as anyone else.
Blasphemy and avarice are among his numerous concerns. He tries to sell phony religious relics, but he is strangely acquisitive. There are, however, several ironic events in the narrative itself. In the story’s outset, the three rioters make a pact to “be brothers,” “to defend one another,” and “live and die for one another” in order to avoid death. They go out looking for money, where they get into a fight over greed and kill each other. The men decide to stay with the money until it becomes dark so they can safely remove it then plan to remain there overnight
However, they are discovered by the sheriff and his men before they can leave. The three rioters then die because of their greed, which is the very thing they had vowed to protect each other from.
Another example of irony in “The Pardoner’s Tale” is when the narrator talks about how he pardons people for their wrongdoings. He states that he will never let anyone off for free and that he always makes them pay him before he forgives them. However, at the end of the story, it is revealed that he was actually the one who killed the three men in search of gold. In other words, he killed them for the very same reason that they had committed their sins – greed. The Pardoner is then ironic because he is the one who should be punished, but he is the one pardoning people.
“The Nun’s Priest Tale” is also full of irony. For example, the tale is about a cock named Chauntecleer who has dream in which he is killed by a fox. The cock tells his dream to his wife, Pertelote, and she tries to convince him that it was just a dream and that there is no need to worry. However, the very next day, Chauntecleer is captured by a fox and taken away. This ironic situation foreshadows Chauntecleer’s death.
Another example of irony in the story is when Chauntecleer thinks that the fox is going to kill him. He asks the fox why he did not just kill him in his sleep, and the fox responds by saying that he wanted to give Chauntecleer a chance to repent for his sins. The irony here is that Chauntecleer actually ends up repenting for the fox’s sins, not his own. In other words, the fox tricked Chauntecleer into thinking that he was going to kill him when, in reality, it was the other way around.
The ironic ending of “The Nun’s Priest Tale” occurs when Chauntecleer is saved from the fox by a group of peasants with pitchforks. However, these same peasants had earlier chased him away from their farm because they thought he was going to steal their food. The irony is that, if the peasants had not chased him away, Chauntecleer would have never met the fox and would have never been in danger. In other words, the very people who saved him from the fox were also the ones who put him in danger in the first place.
There are many examples of irony in both “The Pardoner’s Tale” and “The Nun’s Priest Tale.” These examples show how Chaucer uses irony to create a sense of foreboding or to add humor to his stories.
They wait until the youngest one comes back with food and wine, then while he is gone they resolve to kill for his share of the money. Ironically, the youngest one plans to do the same thing by placing a poison in his friends’ drinks. When he gets home, he is assaulted and stabbed to death by his fellow miners. The remaining men toast his death and their newfound wealth, after which they all die from poisoning and/or avarice. “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale” contains plenty of irony as well, with the most evident example being the characters themselves.
The main character, Chauntecleer, is a cock who believes he is the wisest creature on Earth. He is also quite vain and believes that his crowing is what brings about the day. His wife, Pertelote, is a hen who is content to listen to her husband and obey him. The other characters in the story are animals as well, including Chauntecleer’s seven wives, his nieces and nephews, and various farm animals.
The irony in “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale” becomes apparent when these animal characters start to act like humans. For example, when Chauntecleer has a dream that warns him of his impending death, he does not take it seriously. Instead, he tells Pertelote about the dream and interprets it in a way that flatters his ego.
The dream is actually a warning, but Chauntecleer is too arrogant to see it. This irony is repeated when Chauntecleer is captured by the fox. He again tries to interpret the situation in a way that makes him look good, instead of seeing the danger he is in. In both cases, the irony is that Chauntecleer’s arrogance leads to his downfall.
The other major instance of irony in “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale” is the fact that the animals can talk and act like humans, but they are still animals. This is most apparent in the scene where Chauntecleer is being chased by the fox. The other animals on the farm try to help him, but they are all powerless against the fox. In the end, it is only through the intervention of a human that Chauntecleer is saved. This irony highlights the difference between humans and animals, and how humans are ultimately superior.
One final example of irony in “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale” is the fact that Chauntecleer’s dream comes true. He dreams that he is killed by a creature with red eyes, and this is exactly what happens when he is captured by the fox. The irony is that Chauntecleer’s dream was actually a warning, but he did not heed it. As a result, he ended up suffering the same fate as many other characters who have been warned of their impending doom but have failed to take action.