Cantebury Tales

– Chaunticleer: Behind The Rooster Essay, Research Paper

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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