Friday, 15 July 2011

The Summoner

There has been some scholarly debate over the Summoner from the Canterbury Tales. The General Prologue descibes the Summoner as suffering from a disease that some critics argue is leprosy. Reading the description for myself today I agree. He is pimpled, red faced and lecherous (many medical treatises argued lechery was a symptom of leprosy rather than a cause). I think I need to think about what the importance of this leperous pilgrim is. Is the leprosy Chaucer's warning to distrust the Summoner? Or was it merely a device to explain his lechery? Still the Summoner will probably be my most famous Middle English leper....which is quite cool!

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