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The Manciples Tale The Journey Many critics have argued the meaning of placement and order of each tale in Geoffrey Chaucers The Canterbury Tales Accordingly the arrangement of The Manciples Tale next to last and before The Parsons Tale has been supported by both the Ellesmere and Chaucer Society Storm 2 Chaucers decision to place a tale teaching sin and silence just before a tale preaching truth and repentance surely has a meaning far beyond chance A tale of evil followed by a tale of good matches the overall theme of The Canterbury Tales a pilgrimage leaving sin the inn and traveling toward redemption the cathedral Likewise The Manciples Tale is saturated with contradictions and contrasts that are common to The Canterbury Tales as a whole Chaucers main source for The Manciples Tale Ovids Metamorphoses and its hero Apollo is the first of many ironic twists that Chaucer incorporates in this tale Chaucer reverses Apollos traditional qualities and shows his unsuccessful attempt as a human lover Michael Kensak in his essay Apollo exterminans The God of Poetry in Chaucers Manciples Tale agrees that Phebus in The Manciples Tale bears all the traits of Apollo the classical god of music and medicine art and eloquence The Manciple describes Phebus as Pleyen he doude on every mynstralcie and Was wont to beren in his hand a bowe lines 113129 Also like Apollo Phebus is the height of male attractiveness No less than three times in the first twenty lines Phebus manliness lusty baccilar and good looks seemliest man and noon so faire enslave are mentioned 107119122 However Chaucers Phebus reduces these attributes and contradicts the illumination healing and truth that constitutes this Olympian deity By the end of the tale there is little resemblance to the traditional Apollo and proof that gods cannot successfully master human love Trevor Whittock in The Manciples Tale and the Parsons Tale says Apollo who is traditionally the god
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