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The Canterbury Tales

by Geoffrey Chaucer

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9: The Tale of Sir Thopas Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
l. What elements of the romance are found in the story of Sir Thopas?

2. What leads the reader to understand that the story is a parody?

3. On what ancient form of literature is the Tale of Melibeus based?

4. What causes Harry Bailley to disapprove of The Tale of Sir Thopas?

5. Why does he approve of the Tale of Melibeus?

6. What kind of a wife is Prudence in the story of Melibeus?

7. Explain how The Tale of Sir Thopas is a joke on the Host.

8. In what way does the story of Melibeus complete the joke?

9. What does the Narrator call the divisions in The Tale of Sir Thopas?

10. What is rhyme-doggerel?

l. Romance is represented in this tale by a gallant knight off on a quest and combat for love.

2. Everything is exaggerated, such as the knightly qualities of Sir Thopas. Also, the story is divided into "fits" instead of sections or parts. The encounter with the giant is ridiculous.

3. The Tale of Melibeus is based upon ancient Greek and
Roman myths.

4. It is in rhyme-doggerel, the base jargon of the streets, and low verse. This is not suited for a courtly tale, in the Host's opinion.

5. It is sober, serious, and long.

6. Prudence is wise and patient.

7. The main character, the situation and the form are ridiculous and wonderful, but the Host cannot see this. He is far too literal-minded.

8. It is of terrible quality; long, boring, and trite, but the Host does not see this, either. He judges it excellent.

9. He calls them "fits."

10. A low, base form of poetry with forced rhyme.

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