Importance of Clothing in Prologue of the Canterbury Tales


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Importance of Clothing in Prologue of the Canterbury Tales

 

        Countless people believe in the cliche "do not judge a book by its

cover": but why not? Clothing often forms another's first impression of one.

It speaks of where a person has been and where they intend to go. Their

appearance also illustrates a person's true self and aspirations. A man

wearing torn jeans, dingy shirt, and old shoes might be thought of as poor

or coming home from a hard day's labor. However, a young woman in a Gucci

dress with Versace pumps could be assumed to have access to a large amount

of money. In "The Prologue from the Canterbury Tales," Chaucer uses

clothing as an insight into people's ongoing adventure called life.

 

      In the Prologue, humbled by his life experiences, the Knight

dresses plainly. Garbed in a stained coarse cotton tunic, the knight sits

upon his horse. Seen in a different setting, the Knight's attire would say

little about his life as an honorable man. By humbling oneself, a true hero

lends credence to the fact that flash is not always needed. His armor left

dark smudges on his tunic. Humbling experiences cause humans to step back

and analyze the fortune they have; they learn that they do not have to wear

their achievements. Sometimes people boast their success through fine

clothing. Unlike the flamboyant Yeomen, the  distinguished knight wears old

garments.

 

      The Yeomen succumbs to society's inclination that when he dresses

the part he will become successful. He wears a coat with a green hood. From

a low social standing, he believes that the better he looks the more

successful he will become. Emphasis should be placed on one's achievements

and inner self rather than outward appearance. A saucy brace is worn on his

arm to protect it from the bow. At first glance, one would assume that he

was a superior archer of high standings rather then a lowly Yeomen. Looks

can be deceiving, but the illusion fades as one's true self shines through.

Extravagant best describes the Yeomen's style while plain and reserved best

depicts the nun.

 

      Chaucer illustrates how small insignificant accessories can have a

deeper meaning. The Nun wore a coral trinket on her arm.

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While the standard

habit of  a nun is subdued and simple, the added touch of the coral trinket

emanates her femininity. Professional attire can limit one's expression of

their true personality, however, small discreet accessories will give hint

to it. She wore her gaudies beads on a shiny gold brooch. This gold brooch

reveals wealth and womanly pride not usually expected of a nun. Small

subtle things can get your point across as well as the obvious.

 

      One's life expectations and desires are masqueraded though the

clothing they wear. Often clothing plays a pivotal role in first

impressions. How people dress give insight into the real person beneath

without spoken words. Judge a person by their outward appearance, but

remember that other complex and interesting layers dwell beneath the

surface.


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