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The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer Essay

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The Canterbury Tales is a set of stories written by Geoffrey Chaucer in the fourteenth century. The stories were told by a group of pilgrims traveling to Canterbury Cathedral, in hopes to see a shrine of Saint Thomas Becket. To make time go by the host recommended each pilgrim tell a tale. The tale that each character gives, reveals that person’s background and life. Some pilgrims matched their stereotype of that time but most do not. The Prioress, Madame Eglentyne, and Wife of Bath, Allison, are two characters that do not fit their stereotype of the Middle Ages. Geoffrey Chaucer demonstrates a reflection of change in The Canterbury Tales by comparing their appearances, actions, and morals.
The Prioress and Wife of Bath do not match the typical appearance of their character in the Middle Ages. Chaucer gives the Prioress abnormal pieces of clothing that do not suit that of a head nun; she wears a headdress and bracelet (“The Prioress”). The Prioress wore a wimple but where it shows her forehead. In the Middle Ages a woman showing her forehead was a sign of good breeding (Wickham). A wimple is supposed to cover the neck, cheeks, and chin not the forehead which is considered “sexually suggestive”. The Prioress being head nun is said to be “chastised” and showing very little skin. The Prioress also wore a bracelet, or rosary, of bold colors that says “Amor Vincit Omina” meaning “Love Conquers All” (“The Prioress”). The saying “Love Conquers All” leaves questioning if it means romantic love or heavenly love; nuns were not to show love to earthly things. The Prioress wearing bright colored beads and a wimple showing sexual parts reveals she is worried about material possessions and appearances (Wickham). Unlike the Prioress, Chaucer gi...


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... Zenke Study. N.p. 2013. Web. 1 Feb. 2014.
Harwood, Britton J. “The Wife of Bath And The Dream of Innocence.” Modern Language Quarterly 33.3 (1972): 257. Academic Search Complete. Web. 17 Jan. 2014.
Ruud, Jay and Jones, Stacey. “The Practice of PR and The Canterbury Pilgrims.” Clcweb: Comparative Literature & Culture: A Wwweb Journal 11.2 (2009). Literary Reference Center. Web. 12 Feb. 2014.
“The Prioress”. Chaucer’s Pilgrims and Their Clothing University of Michigan, n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2014.
“The Wife of Bath”. Chaucer’s Pilgrims and Their Clothing University of Michigan, n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2014.
Wickham, Victoria. “Chaucer’s Prioress: Simple and
Conscientious, or Shallow and Counterfeit?” Luminarium:
Arthology of English Literature. n.p. n.d. Web. 4 Feb 2014.
Williams, David. The Canterbury Tales: A Literary Pilgrimage. Massachusetts: Boston, 1987. Print.



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