Chaucer: The Cook’s Tale

Dr. Michael Delahoyde
Washington State University



A Roger Ware actually existed. Is Chaucer getting even for some slight or event lost to history?

Tale Fragment:

Why is the tale aborted? The degeneration noted previously was set to continue: from the noble Emelye to the sexpot Alisoun to the Reeve’s stupid women and now to a wife who “swyved” for a living. So now we’re among the London low-life, in the gutter. Now not clerks but riotous servants are involved.

Probably the variety of the Canterbury pilgrimage was being ruined by this sequence of fabliaux and Chaucer decided to change course. See The Manciple’s Prologue for his revised look at the Cook.