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Which character, from The Canterbury Tales, has formal table manners that are too...

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kalliem20 | Student, Undergraduate | Salutatorian

Posted June 13, 2012 at 9:58 PM via web

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Which character, from The Canterbury Tales, has formal table manners that are too elegant for her clergy position?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 13, 2012 at 10:50 PM (Answer #1)

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The Prioress, from The Canterbury Tales, is the female character whose table manners are "too elegant for her clergy position."

The Prioress is a very religious person, given her position as the head nun at the convent she serves. The Prioress' name is Madam Eglantyne. Both her name and her mannerisms speak against the traditional expectations regarding the behavior of a typical clergy. Madam Eglantyne speaks French (and very poorly). Her table manners are seen as those which would be expected of an aristocrat.

Curiously enough, the characterization of Madame Egalntyne, as provided by Chaucer, is conflicting. Her name, her manners, and her love of dogs (instead of her concern and love for God's people) speaks against her supposed purpose in life, to serve God.

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