The Monk: Canterbury tales By Molly Menke
Summary • There is a monk. • It is said that hunting is his finest sport, even though it is said that hunters are not holy men. • He tended to ignore the rules of St. Benedict and St. Maurice. • He preferred the spacious world of the cloistered monastery. • He didn’t take the Bible literally: • It said hunters are not holy men. • A monk uncloistered is like a fish out of water. • The monks favorite activities are described as hunting a hare or riding at a fence. • Along with the monk is his brown riding horse.
Job Description • Monk: supposedly a cloistered monk, but doesn’t agree with all of the rules.
Traveling Companions • A brown riding horse.
Family Relationships • None listed.
Physical Appearance • He had a larger figure. • He had a bald head, and his face didn’t have a lot of hair either. • He had glittering eyes. • He was not pale. • Wore very expensive clothing. • Sleeves of his robe were garnished in fine gray fur. • On his hood, there was a gold fashioned pin.
Personality Traits • His glittering eyes represent gluttony, drunkenness, and effrontery. • His broad body shows that he is bold, garrulous, and quarrelsome. • His beardlessness and lack of hair represents effeminacy.
Name • No name was given.
Key Lines • “ The rule of good St. Benet or St. Maur, As old and strict he tended to ignore.” • St. Benedict and St. Maurice: they were the author of monastic rules, the monk didn’t follow them. • “He did not rate that text at a plucked hen, and that a monk uncloistered is a mere fish out of water, flapping on the pier.” • The monk didn’t follow the Bible closely. • “ Was he to study till his head went round, pouring over books in cloisters? Must he toil as Austin bade and till the very soil? Was he to leave the world upon the shelf? Let Austin have this labor to himself.” • Austin is also known as St. Augustine, who would criticize lazy monks.
Attitude • The attitude Chaucer gives towards the monk doesn’t sound so pleasant. He describes the monk as having all of this wealth, being over weight, and very lazy. • There was a lot of corruption in the Church during this time and this was Chaucer’s way of portraying that corruption. • The monk is described as not obeying the rules of his monastery.
Reasons for the Journey • He might be taking the journey for religious purposes, but since the monk isn’t described as the best, and he doesn’t follow his monastery rules, he might be doing it for selfish reasons. • He might be wanting more riches and jewels since he’s dressed all in them.
Vocabulary • Course: to chase, to pursue. • Garnished: to provide or supply with something ornamental, adorn, decorate. • Prelate: an ecclesiastic of a high order as an archbishop, bishop; a church dignitary. • Palfrey: a riding horse, distinguished from a war horse.