John Lance Griffith: Chaucer on Wildness: The Host, the Monk, and the Tragedy of Cenobia  Medieval and Early Modern English Studies Volume 24 No. 1 (2016)  75-95

Through a close reading of the Host’s remarks in the prologue to the Monk’s Tale and their relation to the Monk’s subsequent discussion of the tragic queen Cenobia, this essay examines Chaucer’s concept of the wild and of wildness. It argues that the Monk’s inclusion of Cenobia, the only woman in his collection of tragedies, is in part a response to Harry’ comments about his own uncontrollable wife; and that, for Chaucer and his readers, the exchange between the Host and the Monk is a meditation on reccheless-ness, a wildness of character which can manifest both as virtue and as vice in an individual and the community.


Chaucer, The Monk’s Tale, Cenobia (Zenobia), wildness, tameness