A glorious feast for the eyes : the roles of iconography and sight in Chaucer's The prioress's tale and The second nun's tale
Date of Award
Master of Arts
Dr. Kathleen Hewett-Smith
Dr. Donna Crawford
Dr. Elisabeth Gruner
This thesis investigates Chaucer's use of iconography and sight in The Prioress's Tale and The Second Nun's Tale and how these elements symbiotically support and enhance the text so that the tales themselves become iconic. An overview of medieval religious practices and doctrines is followed by a discussion of The Prioress's Tale, in which Chaucer's direct reference to a Virgin icon is explored. Further, the analysis focuses on the way in which visual cues supplement the meaning of the written word. A discussion of The Second Nun's Tale follows, exploring the relationship between sight and faith. The importance of sight as a unifying device is discussed as is the idea that sight and faith together work to engender finite, divine truth for the reader/listener. The conclusion forwards the notion that the tales are iconic because they draw the reader/listener toward the divine via an emphasis on icons and religious visual imagery.
Bruce, Kelly Marie, "A glorious feast for the eyes : the roles of iconography and sight in Chaucer's The prioress's tale and The second nun's tale" (1996). Master's Theses. 610.