, Volume 89, Issue 1, pp 139–152 | Cite as

Art And Morality In Chaucer’S Friar’S Tale and the Decameron, Day One, Story One

  • John Finlayson


Chaucer’s Friar’s Tale is now usually classified as an exemplum, and most commentary in the last seventeen years has concentrated on elucidating its “religious” significance and its relation to medieval theological dogmas and controversies. Its humorous or satirical effect, that is, the Art of the embodiment of this moral kernel, has been largely ignored. However, the probable source of the narrative, a sermon by Robert Rypon, acknowledges the humorous potential of the story. In fact, Chaucer’s tale , while not borrowing story elements from Boccaccio’s Decameron, has many similarities in structure, style, characterization , narrative perspective and overall ingegno to Day One, Story One. Like Boccaccio’s story, the Friar’s Tale has no hidden kernel of significacio beneath its shell, but is an overt and sceptical presentation of ecclesiastical corruption which has far more in common with Boccaccio’s humorous anti-fraternal satire than with medieval or modern exegesis.


Comparative Literature Historical Linguistic Probable Source Humorous Potential Story Element 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Finlayson
    • 1
  1. 1.CambridgeEngland

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