Eagles & Medieval Dream Interpretation….

To our Poet & Creator of all those in this blog,

Why the Eagle? He is mentioned in book one of The House of Fame, and now in great detail in book two…. Are we, the Medieval audience to interpret this eagle as youth and rejuvenation? Are we to see ourselves as renewed through your work? Or does it simply display how you will be young and alive every time someone reads what you have left in your legacy?  Maybe we should see the narrator as refreshed and renewed by his dreams, as a good night’s sleep can make one feel young and alive again….Perhaps I am looking too far into this and you simply chose the Eagle because he is a massive bird who soars… 

What do my fellow pilgrims think? Am I so worn down from the fields that I long for youth again and that’s why I interpret the Eagle in this way? Or am I on to something?? 

~The Plowman


6 thoughts on “Eagles & Medieval Dream Interpretation….

  1. Perhaps one may look back into the Parliament of Fowls which names a hierarchy of birds, perhaps Chaucer thinks that the eagle is wise and noble and aesthetically pleasing.

    “There myghte men the royal egle fynde,
    That with his sharpe lok perseth the sonne,
    And othere eagles of a lowere kynde,
    Of whiche that clerkes wel devyse conne.” (330-333)

    While this passage is a bit vague perhaps it is the eagles keen sense of sight that helps him navigate to the House of Fame. It is interesting that it is not a falcon, since Chaucer tells us they are gentle. As always, it is never quite clear why Chaucer chooses to write such details!

  2. I agree with the Friar, I see a fair amount of birds in Chaucer’s works. Aside from the Parliament of Fowls, there was Chauntecleer, the dear rooster in the Nun’s Priest’s Tale. I think the Eagle works well, also, because Eagles are such a proud, noble, and picturesque bird. It makes sense that he would be wise and advising Geoffrey.

  3. You are right, Friar, the eagle is the highest in the hierarchy of birds as a “foul of ravyne,” a carnivorous bird. But really, I didn’t choose the eagle – IT chose ME. I was taking a hike throughout the woods, as I was in need of inspiration, and stopped for a rest near a strange-looking berry bush. Tempted by the redness of the berries, I popped a few in my mouth, and a mere few minutes later I found myself hallucinating visions of grandeur and then this huge, golden eagle thing popped out of the sky quicker than a thunderbolt and picked me up! Do you really think I could have come up with such a weird, bizarre story such as The House of Fame by myself?

    But, benedicite, I was never so terrified whirling through the air like that in the hands of a winged beast! I think I pooped my pants from fear, by Jove! I omitted that from the story, though. I felt that it was a needless detail.

  4. It is true that the Eagle represents many things, however as a medieval reader….. is it not common thought that the Eagle can fly up to the sun when it is old and dying, where the eyes burn and feathers burn off- and the it plunges down into water rejuvenating himself and becoming young again?

    look at this: http://bestiary.ca/beasts/beast232.htm

    Chaucer- it is a strange tale of how inspiration came to you in the woods, with the berries…. but i suppose all genius comes from some sort of madness. well done.

  5. Pingback: Highlights « Greatpoetrymhf’s Weblog

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