The Canterbury Tales The Monk's Tale
As the tale of Melibeus concluded, the host claimed that he wanted his ill-tempered wife to hear the story of Prudence. The Monk resigns to tell the next tale, which is a series of tragedies, as opposed to the singular stories of the other tales. The monk records several historical and biblical characters falling from grace. The first mentioned is Lucifer, followed by Adam's exodus from Paradise, Samson's fall because of his wife, Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar, and so on. Each story is greater in detail than the previous one. Balthazar, the son of Nebuchadnezzar, worshipped false gods, idols, despite his warning from Daniel. His kingdom was also divided. Zenobia, the queen of Palmyra, refused her female duty by not marrying, and was eventually destroyed by Romans. King Pedro of Spain was another of the fallen so-called heroes in this list of holy rollers. He was murdered by his brother, similar to Peter, the king of Cyprus. Bernabo Visconti imprisoned his nephew falsely and died in a curious fashion, while Count Ugolini, while imprisoned in the tower of Pisa, attempted to eat his own appendages in lieu of starvation, but eventually died from lack of food with his family. Nero killed himself after cutting open his mother to view her womb and having the philosopher Seneca murdered. Holofernes lost his head in his sleep due to his harsh orders for worship, and Antiochus was punished by God because of attacks on the Jews.
The monk continues on with stories of Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and concludes with Croesus, the King of Lydia, who was hanged because of his pride and wealth. The extensive journey through malevolent souls who have fallen from grace is unique to the tales, for none are fully developed and many are touched upon briefly. All share the common denominator of a single fault keeping them from heaven.