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Chaucer: Satire And Humor Essay

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Chaucer: Satire And Humor

Until Geoffrey Chaucer wrote the Canterbury Tales, he was primarily
know for being the writer of love poems, such as The Parliament of
Fowls, narratives of doomed passion, and stories of women wronged by
their lovers. These works are nothing short of being breath taking,
but they do not posses the raw power that the Canterbury Tales do.
This unfinished poem, which is about 17,000 lines, is one of the most
brilliant works in all of literature. The poem introduces a group of
pilgrims journeying from London to the shrine of St. Thomas a Becket
at Canterbury. Together, the pilgrims represent a large section of
14th-century English life. To help pass the time of the journey, the
pilgrims decide to tell stories. These tales include a wide variety of
medieval genres, from humorous fables to religious lectures. They
vividly describe medieval attitudes and customs in such areas as love,
marriage, and religion. Chaucer was a master storyteller, and his wit
his shown throughout his work by the use of humor and satire, and it
is most present in The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales, The
Pardoner’s Tale, and The Wife of Bath’s Tale.

Many people that the most popular par to of the Canterbury Tales it
The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales, which has long been admired for
the lively, individualized portraits it offers. More recent criticism
has reacted against this approach, claiming that the portraits are
indicative of social humor and satire, “estates satire,” and insisting
that they should not be read as individualized character portraits
like those in a novel (Gittes 15). It is the Prologue to the
Canterbury Tales that serves to establish firmly the framework for the
entire story- collecti...


... middle of paper ...


...o her husband, and this defeats the whole purpose of the Wife of
Bath’s entire argument.

For almost a seven hundred year old book, the Canterbury Tales still
is a very irresistible collection of analyses of human life. Not much
has changed in seven hundred years. Medieval traits that Chaucer
described in his tales such as corruption and greed still play a major
part in our society today. Also, issues such as woman’s rights that
were debated back then are still heavily debated today. No other
writer has been able to duplicate the way Chaucer has analyzed and
described human life, and no one has even come close to doing it in
such a humorous and satirical way. The Canterbury Tales brought
Geoffrey Chaucer too his full artistic power, and it will forever
remain as one of the most brilliant and vivid piece of literature ever
written in the English language.


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