Analysis Of The Nun 'Priest's Tale'

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Over time, Henryson’s clear narrative to morality connection has become less common. Taking the Nun’s Priest’s Tale from The Canterbury Tales by way of example, the fable form, which Chaucer parodies, is distorted, destabilising the connection between story and morality. Crucially, the Nun’s Priest’s Tale is the same moral fable told in Henryson’s The cock and the Fox, meaning a comparative analysis of the distinct methodologies used are all the more intriguing. Through Chaucer’s constructing of complex subjectivity (Narkiss, 56) he disconnects the morality communicated at the conclusion of the tale from the story that preceded it. Referring solely to the influences of Chaunticleer and Pertelote, as the Nun’s Priest will be given specific context…show more content…
The complications in their relationship has one significant impact on the text, it takes away from the moral objective. Just as Henryson presented his story with the aim of exemplifying a moral point, so too does the Nun’s Priest. However, he deviates from the point allow the story to become inhabited by a host of alternate meaning and metaphor. Similarly, to the Nun’s Priest’s Tale, Virginia Woolf’s Flush uses complex subjectivity to move past simple narrative to moral didacticism. Flush’s story is told primarily from a “dog's point of view” (Smith, 352). The expression of the dog’s consciousness is shown in the emphasis on the sensory experience of smell, which is keenly felt in dogs, and though prioritising his perspective (Smith, 349). Differing from Chaucer though, as Craig Smith has noted “Flush… is neither specifically human nor specifically humanistic in its agenda” (349) making it distinct from the fully humanistic goals of both Henryson and Chaucer. Accordingly, Woolf’s animal subject is the most difficult to extract any kind of clear morality from. Arguably, the inability to identify with the animal experience is the primary cause of…show more content…
Flush’s story is told through a narrator, who at times delves into the archive of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s letters, giving her an authorial voice and speaks directly from the consciousness of the dog. The three layered narrative voice have the profound impact of distorting the straightforward plot cohesion needed to create binaries that would exemplify didactic morality. When Flush attacks Mr. Browning we first understand the experience through him. After his attempted murder, subsequent punishment, and eventual forgiveness we see the varying voices impact on the text. Firstly, Flush who experiences all of this at the peak of emotion, expressing its huge significance to his life, has an epiphany through experienced discourse; “Hatred is not hatred; Hatred is also love” (Woolf, 45). The narrator then recounts Flush’s reaction to this realisation which entails his symbolic consumption of stale cakes. The narrator acknowledge what Flush’s mind had previously conceived; “He would eat them because they were stale, because they were offered by an enemy turned to friend, because they were symbols of hatred turned to love” (Woolf, 47). Finally, we get Elizabeth Browning perception through quotes from her letters, expressing her human understanding of the situation; “So I explained to him that you had brought them for him, and that he
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