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The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.  Definitions  Prioress- head of a convent of nuns  Abbess- a woman who is the superior of a group of nuns.

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Presentation on theme: "The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.  Definitions  Prioress- head of a convent of nuns  Abbess- a woman who is the superior of a group of nuns."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

2  Definitions  Prioress- head of a convent of nuns  Abbess- a woman who is the superior of a group of nuns  Internal Authority  The abbess held authority over nuns and other members in the community  She was in charge of food and clothing distribution, and she assigned duties  The abbess had spiritual and secular duties  She was responsible for the welfare of the women whom she cared for  She had to hear daily confessions to impose discipline, but she was denied the right to give penance

3  External Duties  She acted as a representative for the community before the rulers  The abbess’ external authority was determined by her independence from the clerical hierarchies  During the Middle Ages women were seen as the inferior gender, however their social/political role was significant and less restricted

4  Where?  The abbess lived among a community of nuns in a monastery  They often traveled to accomplish external duties and to serve as representatives  When?  There were age limits for eligibility for being elected  The title of abbess has been found as early as an inscription from 514  Why?  This occupation is significant because it shows women’s role in the Middle Ages  They organized church services, regulated activities of canons and priests, held courts, and made visitations to exercise their power,and to preserve the Faith

5  How was the abbess elected?  The abbess was elected by all the nuns of the community, and in some cases men were allowed to vote  The bishop presided over the election and confirmed the elected candidate  There were eligibility requirements  Gregory the Great introduced an age limit and virgin rule, but qualified females could still become an abbess

6  The Nun is one of the characters traveling on the journey in the story  Her name is Madam Eglantyne, and she happens to be a prioress  She is described as polite, well-mannered, graceful, dignified, and compassionate  In her prologue, she offers a hymn of praise to the Virgin Mary  The hymn foreshadows the tale she tells  Her order relies on the patronage of the Virgin Mary

7  The prioress calls on the Virgin Mary for help with telling her tale  A widow’s son attends a Christian school located at the edge of a Jeweish ghetto  He was singing Alma Redemptoris (Gracious Mother of the Redeemer) while walking through the ghetto  Some Jews hire a murderer to slit the boy’s throat  The Jews refuse to tell the mother where her son is, however he begins to sing and the Christians are able to find him  The Jews are found guilty of murder and then ordered to be drawn apart by horses

8  Lewis, Jone. “Abesses in Women’s Religious History”. Women’s History. About.com. 27 Jan  “The Prioress’ Prologue and Tale”.The Canturbury Tales.Cliffnotes. 27 Jan  Schaus,Margaret.”Abbesses”. Women and Gender in Medieval Europe. 27 Jan (online encyclopedia)  Images  “prioress” from sitemaker.umich.edu  “nun” from 123RF.com  “hire me” from  “Holy nun” from  “The Prioress from the Canterbury Tales”.Caxton’s Edition yaymicro. 27 Jan 2013.


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