Authority, Rebellion and Subordination in Chaucer’s The Nun’s Priest’s Tale and the Wakefield Second Shepherd’s Play College
The plight of the oppressed in medieval England was paramount to the emergence of iconic works of fiction. In turn, the future comprehension of feudal society is dependent upon these works. To rely on monastic chroniclers alone, in understanding the state of their world, would be to absorb works that were largely created under the authority of the magistrate (Prescott, 1998). The multidimensional nature of works by artists such as Geoffrey Chaucer and the Wakefield Master, precede the mechanical consensus of courtly writings. Chaucer lived between two systems, of aristocracy and urban life. It would be an understatement to say that he was culturally aware of both his position with in society and that of those who’s social rankings were above and below him (Strohm, 1994). The Canterbury Tale’s, printed in 1483, was written at a time of economic and political adversity in England’s history. The Nun’s Priest’s Tale, fragment VII of the Tale’s, follows the familiar outplay of the vein cock and cunning fox and fragments of reality etch their way through its theatrical compounds; such as the Peasant’s Revolt of 1381. Although the Second Shepherd’s Play was written almost a century after The Canterbury Tale’s, in the late 1400s, it...
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