- Pages: 4
- Word count: 812
- Category: Food
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Delicious cuisine is definitely something the whole world is interested in, and a person’s taste for food can often reveal his lifestyle, personality, and even status. In Geoffrey Chaucer’s Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, we can learn about the Franklin’s hospitality and hedonistic lifestyle through Chaucer’s portrait of the Franklin’s refined love of exquisite cuisine. Through his lofty diction, use of poetic devices, and imagery, Chaucer revealed the Franklin’s love for pure food, hospitality, purity, and honorable actions. Chaucer cleverly unveiled the Franklin’s personality, social status, and lifestyle through his vivid description of the Franklin and use of metaphor and allusion. Living in the Medieval time period, during which delicious cuisine was precious and scarce due to the lack of resources, a person’s appearance could tell us a lot about his or her lifestyle and social status without speaking a word. Chaucer must have similar ideas about a person’s appearance, for he has dedicated many lines to describe the Franklin’s appearance, which can lead us to fathom his eating habit, wealth and even his personality. “As white as,” Chaucer writes, “any daisy shone his beard;”(312)
White is also associated with purity and nobility, and the fact that his beard is as white and shiny as a beautiful flower suggests that the Franklin loves pure things, specifically pure and prime food. Moreover, Franklin’s “sanguine complexion” suggests that is very healthy, unlike the pale faces of poor, malnourished people. His reddish face is also a result of his hedonistic lifestyle, for he loves to drink wine everyday. Chaucer goes on to emphasize the Franklin‘ hedonistic lifestyle: “Always to pleasure would his custom run, for he was Epicurus’ own son”(315). Epicurus is a Greek philosopher who taught that happiness is the goal of life; Chaucer’s use of allusion makes it clear that the Franklin has inherited his love of overindulgence from his “father”, who thinks that life is about seeking pleasure.In addition, Franklin’s hedonistic lifestyle is personified by his unwavering love of pure and prime food. Eating the most delicious food possible is an essential, if not the most important, part of his life.
However, the Francklin is never a miser, for he loves to share his treasure, food, with his neighbors and is famous for his hospitality. Chaucer writes : “Householder he , a mighty and a good; He was Saint Julian in his neighborhood”(320). Here,Chaucer uses an allusion again which indicates the Franklin’s hospitality, for Saint Julian is the saint of hospitably ,whose responsibility is to provide for his guests, and Franklin is the Saint Julian of his community. Furthermore, we learn that the Franklin is a very picky and selective eater and provider; he makes sure all his ingredients, wine, and food are the best, and that they are always ready to be served. “ It seemed the place was snowing meat and drink, All dainty food whereof a man could think”(326). Not only that, with the changing seasons, the Franklin has a variety of exquisite food. A person who only cares about food is considered to be gluttonous; however, the Franklin thinks about far more than just food. He has responsibilities, and he works diligently to service his county and protect his people.
“At sessions he would play the lord and sire; He went to parliament as knight-of-shire”(335). The Franklin has lots of responsibilities because he is trustworthy and diligent. The People of his town trusted him their representative, and he had served as both sheriff and auditor. He works at the parliament to serve his town.”A dagger and purse of woven silk Hung at his girdle, white as morning milk.”(338). Chaucer compares the Franklin’s purse to pure white morning milk. Chaucer’s uses repetition of the color white to show that the Franklin is pure, uncorrupted and honorable.
In addition to the color white, milk is a metaphor that conveys the Franklin’s value for his people. Milk is humanity’s first food and represents loving care; just so, the Franklin nourishes and takes good care of his neighbors. We learn by the end of the Prologue about the Franklin that the Franklin is essentially an admirable man. The Franklin not only has a great taste for food but also is a hardworking and responsible county official. Franklin is very picky about food; he loves only the most exquisite dishes and wine, which reveals his purity and the strict standards he holds for himself. However, the Franklin is not a miser. Chaucer describes him as the Saint Julian of his neighborhood, for he loves to invite his neighbors over and share his dainty food and ale. In addition, he is trustworthy and responsible, as he is selected to represent his county. Who does not love delicious food, who would not like to go on pilgrimage with a man who is reliable, affable, and provides the best food?