What are some examples of the blending of humor and irony in "The General Prologue" to The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer.

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Irony and humor, and indeed ironic humor, often appear side-by-side in “The General Prologue” to The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer. Examples include the following:

  • The claim that the prioress never let a morsel of meat fall from her lips – which on the one hand suggests her obsessive attention to good manners while on the other hand suggesting that she is gluttonous (128).
  • The reference to the prioress’s “conscience” (142), followed ironically by her somewhat comic concern for mice caught in traps (rather than for poor, sick, or otherwise needy people).
  • The delicate (but humorous) observation that the prioress was not “undergrowe” (i.e., undergrown) – a polite way of stating that she is fat (and thus, symbolically, attached to the world and the flesh).
  • The comic depiction of the monk, who has so many bells attached to his horse that when he rides his bridle can he heard jingling

. . . in a whistling wind as clere

And eek [i.e., also] as loude as dooth the chapel belle ....

(The entire section contains 578 words.)

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