Sickness and healing in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

Creator: 

Hanna, George Olaf

Date: 

1977

Abstract: 

In The Canterbury Tales Chaucer accurately describes various symptoms of physical sickness, bodily defects and infirmities, so that "disease imagery" is generally recognized as contributing to realism or satire. It is less well known that "disease imagery" often symbolizes disordered spiritual states in the portraits of the pilgrims and that in the tales of the Summoner, the Pardoner and the Canon's Yeoman, this imagery recurs, carrying with it a distinct moral implication. Ultimately, then, this pattern of imagery sustains a motif of sickness and healing closely related to the idea of Christ as the saviour and physician of men's souls. The motif originates in The General Prologue, where the pilgrims are described as journeying to the shrine of the martyr who has cured them of illness, and concludes in The Parson's Tale, where the Parson introduces a medical analogy by presenting the sacrament of penance as a remedium against sin.

Subject: 

Chaucer, Geoffrey, -1400. Canterbury Tales
Sick In Literature

Language: 

English

Publisher: 

Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 
M.A.

Thesis Degree Level: 

Master's

Thesis Degree Discipline: 

English

Parent Collection: 

Theses and Dissertations

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