Pilgrim’s Prize (Pt.19): The Monk’s Tale (Chaucer Journal)
Mr. Monk offers us a refreshing tale of tragedy. And quite possibly woman-hating. The point is, though, it gives us something we haven’t seen before—a series of vignettes.
Each vignette is a short biography of an infamous historical or religious figure. From Lucifer to Nero, what ties each one together is their distrust of authority or their pride in themselves. They wanted more and fate struck them low, an inevitable result of being human; needless to say, the lesson here is a morality one in knowing one’s place but also trusting in the divine and leading a righteous life.
Obviously, then, this is part and parcel for Chaucer. By this point in the Tales, we should be used to moral lessons. Why this series of vignettes is nice, though, is because it is a welcome break from lengthy narratives and monologues. A bunch of short stories makes this tale go by quickly and gives us some insight on Chaucer’s supposed view on some great men and women of history.
How does our modern tale teller represent this, then? Through a click adventure, of sorts.
The unknown tale-teller uses the website Philome to build a series of semi-interconnected tales. Though the tales don’t exact interpenetrate, they sometimes break the fourth wall in addressing the player; the net result of this action is a product which adds some cohesion to what, originally, was a disjointed series of biographies. Provided, the tale is still pretty disjointed and the tale-teller hasn’t made any pains to modernize the story, but even so, it is a valiant effort and shows us something we haven’t seen from any other tale-teller. So, kudos to that!
With that in mind, I grace this effort with a solid 7.5/10.