Back to: Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
In this article will discuss Monk’s Tale Summary in The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.
In Monk’s tale, we encounter series of tragedies preaching us to beware of the fragility of fortunes and to not fall for prosperity blindly.
Firstly, he tells us the story of Lucifer, Satan, to was thrown out of Heaven down to hell and Adam, the one who is not born out of original and how also thrown out of the Heaven.
Next is the story of Samson who tells his secret to his wife who betrays him by revealing the secret to his enemies and taking another person for her lover. Samson has killed one thousand men with an ass’ jawbone.
He prays to God to quench his thirst and from the jawbone’s tooth, a well is sprung. He could be the ruler of the whole world if he wouldn’t have told Deliah that the secret of his strength lies in the refusal to cut his hair.
Without this strength, Samson’s enemies cut out his eye and imprison him in the temple. In the temple, he brings down two pillars causing his and everyone’s death.
Hercules is the protagonist of the next tale who strength and power are unmatched but he’s killed when Deianera sends him a poisoned shirt made by Nessus.
Nabugodonosor also was known as Nebuchadnezzar is the hero of next story who was the king of Babylon and had defeated Israel two times. He constructed a large statue made up of gold and demanded everyone to pray to or s/he be put to flames.
One day, Daniel disobeyed the king by not praying to the statue which led Nabugodonosor to lose his dignity and he began to act like an animal or madman until God restores his sanity.
The son of Nabugodonosor, Balthasar, who also worshipped the false idols is the hero of the next tale. One day he organized a grand feast in which everybody drank from sacred vessels.
Balthasar, in the feasts, notices a handwriting on the wall which is harmless. Daniel reminds of his father’s fate and warns him of his kingdom be divided by Persian and Medes. According to the monk, the tale of Balthasar tells us that fortune shows us fortunate things before destroying us.
Cenobia or Zenobia is the subject of the next who was victorious in war. The queen of Palmyra, who was beautiful, was into household or womanly task but was interested in wars.
She was forced to marry Odenathus and allows to have sex with him to get pregnant before that she had always refused to marry. No matter she was proud but when Odenathus was dead she was defeated by the Romans.
King Pedro of Spain was killed by his own brother when he attempted to regain his place in the kingdom that was snatched by his brother.
Ruggieri, the bishop of Pisa, after rebelling against Ugolini of Pisa, the count, had him imprisoned with his three children. Ugolini gnawed at the body of his youngest son who had died of starvation.
The other two sons thinking that their father was eating the body of his son out of hunger offered their own bodies a meal and all of them eventually died of starvation.
Nero had his mother’s womb cut open to see where he came from. He had Seneca killed when he remarked that an emperor must be virtuous. When Nero was to be assassinated for his cruelty, he killed himself.
Holofernes ordered his subjects to worship Nebuchadnezzar and break every law. Judith cut off his head while he was sleeping for this sin.
The monk then tells the story of Julius Caesar who had poisoned Pompey and was himself killed by Brutus. And of Alexander the great who was killed by his own offspring. After this, his tale is interrupted.
All of these stories were popularly known and centres around the man of high rank and fortune who eventually falls down.