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The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer Essay example

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Although it was published toward the end of his life, Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales was his longest and most popular work. The plot is made up of tales told by thirty-one different pilgrims as they embark on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint Thomas a Becket in Canterbury. His initial idea was to have each pilgrim tell four stories a piece during the pilgrimage, but Chaucer either died before finishing or decided to change this idea, as only twenty-four tales presently make up the work. The prologue of the novel goes into great detail describing each pilgrim’s personality and pointing out whatever flaws they have (Rossignol 1). There are a few characters considered idealized in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, but all of the other pilgrims are represented by one of the seven deadly sins of pride, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, greed, or sloth.
The first discussion of the seven deadly sins can be found throughout the Bible. There is not a direct listing of them here, but rather they are all seen in separate stories, passages, and books. Early theologians and moralists later started to compile these sins to try to teach immoral people how to improve their lives and become happier. The final credit for creating the list of seven deadly sins was given to Gregory the Great in the early sixth century. Gregory also determined that there was a difference between sins of the spirit, such as pride, envy, wrath, sloth, and greed, and sins of the flesh, such as lust and gluttony. Later, in the thirteenth century, a man named Saint Thomas Aquinas compiled a work entitled Summa Theologiae, which taught Christians how to overcome these temptations. It was around this time that authors, including Chaucer, were encouraged to incorporate the idea...


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...alculate the wages of sin” (McGowan 1).
In conclusion, Geoffrey Chaucer was somewhat influenced by others during his time to include the seven deadly sins in his works in order to convict people and hopefully bring about change. Humans today struggle with the exact same sins that others have been battling since the fall of man, the only difference being that modern day culture seems to glorify these sins instead of trying to encourage others to change their ways and turn away from their sin. People would be lying, and ultimately being prideful, if they said they have never struggled with the sins of pride, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, greed, or sloth, but not everyone feels the need to change. In the end, everyone can relate to at least one of the pilgrims in Canterbury Tales, they just need to realize that they should not be content to remain in these sinful ways.



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