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The Host welcomes them and asks whether either has a tale to tell. The Yeoman answers immediately that his master knows much about mirth and jollity, and then he begins to tell the secrets of their trade and all he knows about alchemy.
Seeing that the Yeoman plans to tell everything, the Canon slips away in shame. The first part of the Yeoman's tale is autobiographical: He explains that once he had good clothes and a comfortable living, that he and the Canon are alchemists, and that he is so in debt because their attempts at alchemy always fail.
He then tries to explain their occupation, their failed attempts at alchemy, and their elusive search for the Philosopher's Stone. The tale itself comprises the second part of The Canon's Yeoman's Tale. A canon who practices alchemy borrows a mark from a priest.
In three days time, the canon returns the mark and offers to reveal a couple of his discoveries.
He sends for some quick silver and, by tricks, makes the priest believe that he turned the quick silver into real silver. Unaware of the trick, the priest is very pleased. Three times the canon tricks the priest, each time "turning" a less valuable object quick silver, chalk, and then a twig into silver.
The beguiled priest buys the secret from the canon for 40 pounds, and the canon promptly disappears. The Yeoman ends his tale with a broadside attack on the subject of alchemy and a conglomeration of all the ridiculous terms used by alchemists.
Analysis Just as The Second Nun's Tale closes, two strangers, a church canon and his servant or yeomangallop up to the pilgrimage and join it. Before long the Yeoman reveals — half by accident — that the Canon is a thieving alchemist.
The Canon flees the company, thereby essentially acknowledging his rascality, and the Yeoman renounces the practice of alchemy. He explains this renunciation to the pilgrims, and to himself as well, in two ways: Because neither the Canon nor the Canon's Yeoman is presented in The Prologue, most authorities agree that this prologue and tale were written well after The Prologue.
During the Middle Ages, people believed that certain base metals lay in the ground for many years and, ultimately, became purer higher metals. They also believed that an alchemist could accelerate this process, turning a base metal such as lead into a precious metal such as gold in moments.
Alchemy was considered a science by which this transmutation occurred. In truth, alchemy was pure charlatanism with the alchemist being the ultimate charlatan — a superb pretender to knowledge or skill.
Part I of the tale is a rogue's confession compare it with the prologues of the Pardoner and the Wife of Bath.
Part II is the story of how an alchemist dupes a poor, credulous priest. The sin of alchemists, the Yeoman says, is intellectual pride, which can result in a substitution of reason for faith, which is exactly what happens to the priest in Part II.
On the basis of relatively little evidence of the alchemist's honesty, the priest forgets his vows and comes to accept the alchemist's pretensions. Glossary canon a member of a certain religious order. Philosopher's Stone an imaginary substance sought by alchemists, who believed it to be capable of transmuting base metals into precious ones.
Arnold reference to Arnoldus de Villa, a fourteenth-century French physician, theologian, astrologer, and alchemist. Sol moon and sun.Real news, curated by real humans. Packed with the trends, news & links you need to be smart, informed, and ahead of the curve.
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The Seven Deadly Sins! A great concept for a satire game based on a corrupt individual selling fake pardons and relics to travelers of good will on their way to Canterbury. Get an answer for 'How does satire in Chaucer's General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales work within a subtle frame of evaluation of the pilgrims.
' and find homework help for other The Canterbury. This fun free quiz is suitable for all age groups, and can be used for pub quizzes, parties, social clubs or schools. The quiz starts with ten ice-breaker questions, and the answers to all throughout the quiz will be found in italics following each question.
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