“There was also a Nun, [a] Prioress, [w]hose smile was gentle and full of guilelessness. [s]he wore her cloak with dignity and charm, [A]nd had her rosary about her arm,[…] As for the charity and tender feelings [s]he melted at whatever was piteous.”
The prioress seems a flawless and virtuous person; a pious and religious woman devoted to Christian values such as humility, generosity, obedience to God, self-control, and charity. A woman who believes that, “All things are subject unto love.” The Prioress seems the perfect example of a truly spiritual person detached from material things.
But if we read between the lines of Chaucer’s General Prologue, we may see that she overindulges in food, drink, wealth items, and love. For example, she has an expensive rosary, “[t]he small beads coral and the larger green, [a]nd from them hung a brooch of golden sheen.” In addition, she eats meat and she takes pleasure in giving dogs “roasted meat or milk or good wheat bread”
During medieval times, meat was an expensive food reserved for royalty—an important symbol of wealth. Only pet dogs of wealthy people had such expensive food. The prioress not only eats meat, but she also wastes it by giving it to the dogs. She wears an expensive rosary. She overindulges in worldly pleasures. As a nun, she lacks spiritual discipline and self-control. She should overindulge in charitable acts toward other human beings; she should live in poverty and humility.
No one is perfect. No one should be considered perfect. No one should value perfection. There is no perfection in life. Only flaws covered by masks and lies.
Be imperfect, but humble.
Have flaws, but be kind.
Don’t lie, don’t hide, don’t pretend to be someone else.
Flaws are beautiful, on an honest person.
Ink n Paper.