Mock Epic and the concept of

"Extreme Joy Begets Sorrow"

Epic A long narrative poem, typically a recounting of history of legend or of
          the deeds of a national hero (The Harper Handbook to Literature. P178).

Mock EpicA poem in EPIC form and manner ludicrously elevating some trivial
                subject to epic grandeur.  Mock-epic poems and style are also called
                mock-heroic. (The Harper Handbook to Literature. P299)”


He loketh as it were a grim leoun;   (line 359)
 And on his toos he rometh up and down
 Him deyned not to sette his foot to grounde.
 He chukketh, when he hath a corn y-founde,
 And to him rennen thanne his wybes alle.
 Thus royal, as a prince is in his halle,
    *   *   *
 O false moedrer, lurking in thy den!   (line 406)
 O new Iscariot, new Canelon!
 False dissimulator, O Greek Sinon,
 That broghtest Troye al outrely to sorwe!
 O Chanticleer, acursed be that morwe,

     In the first passage Chaucer described Chanticleer as a fierce lion and a prince. It is an obvious style of monk epic to elevate a trivial character Chanticleer to a heroic role fierce lion or a prince that he would never possibly be.  By doing so can the story produce the sense humor and satire on the characters.  In the second passage Chaucer compared Chanticleer to some famous historical figures.  This also reveals the big incongruity of the real character and the false characteristics.

The Concept of Extreme Joy Begets Sorrow”

    The concept can be found in many Medieval Literary works, such as Beowulf.  While every knight was celebrating in Heorot, a dreadful disaster was bound to happen afterwards – the attack of Grendel.  We can also find the proof in The Nun’s Priest’s Tale.

 But sodeinly him fil a sorweful cas;   (line 384)
 For ever the latter ende of joye is wo.
 God woot that worldly joye is sone ago;
    However, the concept of “extreme joy begets sorrow” should not refer to the character’s psychology and mind.  Instead, it should be explained in the plot of the story.  A disaster comes after a joy, and a disaster would also accompany another joy.  This has been a stereotype in the Medieval literature, especially epics.