It is a term used as a descriptive substitute for the name or title of a person, such as “The great communicator” for Tony Blair and “The iron lady” for Mrs Thatcher.
“Fresshe May” from "The Merchant's Tale".
Does Chaucer always involve irony when he uses epithets or are can they just be interpreted as part of the formulaic base of oral phrases that his audience would have expected to hear? Or does exploit each way of interpreting them between as part of his expressive range?
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