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...well spoke of the concept of containment, or entombment, in history and in literary texts. This act, whether consciously created or not, involves a sense of the need for reflection, an island of contemplation, yet simultaneously this containment threatens the inevitable need for progress. In both the “Knight’s Tale” and the “Nun’s Priest’s Tale” we are faced with insular worlds whose workings are a mystery, and in fact whilst we may witness their workings, we remain as outsiders to the cultural codes entombed within the enclosure. Chaucer seems to have been aware of this. The Knight leads us forth, yet always looks back. The Nun’s Priest reminds us that we must always look forward, beyond our enclosure. In the final analysis, Chaucer has left us with a tale, to borrow Stephen Greenblatt’s term, of ‘resonance and wonder’ that reverberates through space and time.
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