Manciple’s Tale, The

Manciple’s Tale, The
   by Geoffrey Chaucer
(ca. 1396)
   Chaucer’s Manciple’s Tale is the last fictional text in THE CANTERBURY TALES, in most manuscripts coming immediately before the Parson’s sermon on the Seven Deadly Sins that ends the collection.A BEAST FABLE like The NUN’S PRIEST’S TALE, the Manciple’s has neither the charm nor the joy in linguistic play apparent in that tale of Chaunticleer and the fox. But it does raise significant questions, particularly about the use of language. Though it uses a widespread folklore motif of the “tell-tale bird,” the immediate source of Chaucer’s tale may have been the very popular book of the SEVEN SAGES OF ROME, a text Chaucer mentions in the prologue to The WIFE OF BATH’S TALE. But Chaucer also knew a version of the story told in GOWER’s CONFESSIO AMANTIS, and probably the original version in Ovid’s Metamorphoses as well.
   The Manciple’s Tale is the story of Phoebus (Apollo), described in the tale as a great archer who killed the serpent Pithoun, and as the greatest singer and musician on earth.He owns a beautiful white crow with a magnificent singing voice and the ability to speak. He also has a beautiful new wife. The jealous Phoebus keeps his wife under close scrutiny, but the narrator of the tale comments that anyone who thinks he can guard a woman will find himself mistaken. The wife takes a lover, despite Phoebus’s watchful eye, and it is the crow that tells him of his wife’s betrayal. In rage, Phoebus kills his wife. Then, in grief-stricken repentance, he breaks his musical instruments as well as his bow. Then he turns on the crow, cursing it so that it loses its beautiful song as well as its ability to speak, and its feathers turn to black. The tale ends with the moral, “Kepe wel thy tonge, and thenk upon the crowe” (Benson 1987, 286, l. 362). Critics have not always thought highly of The Manciple’s Tale, though more recent scholars have seen a good deal of irony in the tale—for example, in the 54 lines that recommend verbal restraint. Others, considering more specifically the Manciple narrator (a Manciple was a low-level official that purchased provisions for a college), have suggested the story reflects a servant’s dilemma of how to speak the truth without getting into trouble. But others have seen the tale, coming as it does near the end of the Canterbury Tales, as revisiting the theme of proper and improper uses of language, and the “sentence and solaas” (instructiveness and entertainment) that were initially proposed as criteria for judging the tales.
   ■ Benson, Larry, et al. The Riverside Chaucer. 3rd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987.
   ■ Ginsberg,Warren. “Chaucer’s Canterbury Poetics: Irony, Allegory, and the Prologue to The Manciple’s Tale,” Studies in the Age of Chaucer 18 (1996): 55–89.
   ■ Grudin,Michaela Paasche.“Chaucer’s Manciple’s Tale and the Poetics of Guile,” Chaucer Review 25 (1991): 329–342.
   ■ Storm, Mel. “Speech, Circumspection, and Orthodontics in The Manciple’s Prologue and Tale and the Wife of Bath’s Portrait,” Studies in Philology 96 (1999): 109–126.

Encyclopedia of medieval literature. 2013.

Игры ⚽ Нужно сделать НИР?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • The Manciple's Tale — is part of Geoffrey Chaucer s The Canterbury Tales. It appears in its own manuscript fragment, Group H, but the prologue to the Parson s Tale makes it clear it was intended as the penultimate story in the collection. The Manciple, a purchasing… …   Wikipedia

  • The Cook's Tale — The Cook from The Canterbury Tales Chaucer presumably never finished the Cook s Tale and it breaks off after 58 lines, although some scholars argue that Chaucer instead deliberately left the tale unfinished.[1] The story starts telling of an… …   Wikipedia

  • The Tale of Melibee — (also called The Tale of Melibeus) is one of The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. This is the second tale told by Chaucer himself as a character within the tales. It has long been regarded as a joke on the part of Chaucer that, after being… …   Wikipedia

  • The Clerk's Tale — The Clerk from The Canterbury Tales The Clerk s Tale is the first tale of Group E (Fragment IV) in Geoffrey Chaucer s The Canterbury Tales. It is preceded by The Summoner s Tale and followed by The Merchant s Tale. The Clerk of Oxenford (modern… …   Wikipedia

  • The Man of Law's Tale — The Man of Law (or lawyer) from The Canterbury Tales The Man of Law s Tale (also called The Lawyer s Tale) is the fifth of the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, written around 1387. Contents …   Wikipedia

  • The Franklin's Tale — Dorigen and Aurelius, from Mrs. Haweis s, Chaucer for Children (1877). Note the black rocks in the sea and the setting of the garden, a typical site for courtly love. The Franklin s Tale (Middle English: The Frankeleyns Tale) is one of The… …   Wikipedia

  • The Merchant's Tale — Contents 1 Summary of the tale 2 The Fabliau debate 3 Sources and variants …   Wikipedia

  • The Miller's Tale — For the 1996 rock album, see The Miller s Tale: A Tom Verlaine Anthology. The character Miller from The Miller s Prologue and Tale The Miller s Tale (Middle English: The Milleres Tale) is the second of Geoffrey Chaucer s Canterbury Tales (1380s… …   Wikipedia

  • The Knight's Tale — Knight s Tale redirects here. For the 2001 film, see A Knight s Tale. The first page of Knight s Tale in the Ellesmere manuscript The Knight s Tale (Middle English: The Knightes Tale) is the first tale from Geoffrey Chaucer s The Canterbury Tales …   Wikipedia

  • The Nun's Priest's Tale — Cicero, one of the authors in the cockerel s library The Nun s Priest s Tale is one of The Canterbury Tales by the Middle English poet Geoffrey Chaucer. Composed in the 1390s, the 626 line narrative poem is a beast fable and mock epic based on an …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”