The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Cook's Tale Analysis

The Cook’s Tale is unfinished. However, it is unclear whether Chaucer intended to return to the tale and finish it at a later time, if he meant it to end mid-story, or if part of the manuscript is simply missing.

Despite its sudden end, the Cook’s Tale raises a few interesting questions. For instance, a man with the same name as the Cook, Roger of Ware, is known to have lived at the same time as Chaucer. If the real Roger of Ware and the Cook are meant to be the same person, it raises the question of whether the Canterbury Tales are actually populated with real people.

In addition, the Cook’s Tale stops just as the audience has become perfectly clear as to what kind of tale it will be – a tale about sex in its most coarse form. The abrupt stop in the tale may represent the final degradation of language as it has devolved through the first three tales: from courtly love in the Knight’s Tale to manipulation in the Miller’s Tale, language used only to describe action in the Reeve’s Tale, to language coming to a dead stop in the fragment that is the Cook’s Tale.

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