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Canterbury Tales - Chaunticleer


In the book Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer, gives us a 
stunning tale about a rooster named Chaunticleer. Chaunticleer, who is 
the King of his domain in his farmland kingdom. Like a King, he quotes 
passages from intellectuals, dreams vivid dreams, has a libido that 
runs like a bat out of hell, and is described as a very elegant 
looking Rooster. He has every characteristic of a person belonging to 
the upper class. Chaucer's hidden meanings and ideas make us think 
that the story is about roosters and farm animals, but in reality he 
is making the Aristocracy of his time period the subject of his 
mockery by making the reader realize how clueless the Aristocracy can 
be to the way things are in the real World.

 Chaucer describes Chaunticleer in many different ways. One of them 
is his language. Chaunticleer's language is that of a scholar. He 
quotes many different scriptures in a conversation with Pertelote, 
such as, Saint Kenelm, Daniel and Joseph (from the bible), and 
Croesus. From each author he tells a story about an individual who had 
a vision in a dream and the dream came true. He may have been making 
all the stories up in order to win the argument with Pertelote, but, 
this seems unlikely because he does not take heed to his own advice 
and stay away from the fox that encounters him later. He is educated 
enough to know these supposed quotations but not intelligent enough to 
understand the real meaning of them. It is if he simply brings because
they help him win the argument with his spouse and not because he 
actually believes what they say. Chaucer is using the idea that the 
Aristocracy has schooling throughout their childhood, but it is only 
done to have seemingly important but empty conversations.

His physical appearance is also described with such beautiful passion 
that it makes us think Chaunticleer is heaven on earth. "His comb was 
redder than fine coral, and crenellated like a castle wall; his bill 
was black and shone like jet; his legs and toes were like azure; his 
nails whiter than lily; and his color like the burnished gold." 
Chaucer describes Chaunticleer as the quintessential Cock, so perfect 
that his description is no longer believable when we realize he is 
describing a Rooster. Chaucer is setting up Chaunticleer to be as 
regal and grandiose as a King. Even though he looks like a million 
dollars he is still very shallow inside. He lies to his spouse just to 
keep her happy and his every thought is of fornication. Like the 
Aristocracy he takes many pleasures of the flesh with no real 
commitment to his duty as a rooster. 

Chaunticleer's character appears to be that of a shallow used car 
salesman. He lies to his spouse about his opinion of women just so he 
can ride her later in the morning. "Mulier est hominis confusio; 
Madame, the meaning of this Latin is, 'Woman is man's joy and all his 
bliss.'" The real meaning is " Woman is man's ruin". He tells her a 
lie to ensure he gets what he wants from her later. He seems like the 
type of person who would say anything to get what they want no matter 
the truth or whom it hurts. He also falls victim to his own hubris, 
something that is not uncommon to most rich arrogant people. 

Chaucer's creation of Chaunticleer is done solely to imitate and mock 
the upper class. Chaunticleer is educated, like people in the upper 
class; looks good, as people with money can afford to do; and revolves 
around the pleasures of the flesh like a pre-pubescent child. Had he 
not been "riding" Pertelote all morning he might have seen the fox 
coming and been able to avoid becoming captured. His attitude was that 
of the upper class, that he is too good to worry about life's little 
trivial matters and that he loves to have pleasure. The fox is able to 
dupe him simply by flattering his voice. "... the reason I came was 
only to hear how you sing.". He is so consumed with living in his own 
grandiose twisted reality, where nothing bad happens, that he does not
realize that a fox is about to gobble him up! He does have an epiphany 
at the end, however, "No more through your flattery get me to close my 
eyes and sing. For he who knowingly blinks when he should see, God let 
him never thrive." Chaucer uses the character Chaunticleer to poke fun 
at the Aristocracy and all their tendencies towards living life in the 
name of "consummate pleasure seekers," and not in the name of "reality 
driven people".


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