The Prologue to The Canterbury Tales


Length: 380 words (1.1 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Excellent
Open Document
Need writing help? Check your paper »

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓
In “The Prologue” to The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer uses satire to make a statement about the nature of humanity. “The Prologue” shows the importance of a historical meaning as it describes the social classes of the 1300’s. However, most modern readers can relate to the hypocrisy being displayed by the first three major characters.
     Chaucer begins his examination early with three religious characters-first being the monk. Monks were supposed to live their lives in poverty, chastity, and obedience-something that this particular monk failed to do. He took pleasure in owning many horses and dressing nicely which defiled his purpose of poverty. If he wasn’t living by this characteristic, then of course, he wasn’t being very obedient.
     Immediately following the monk, the nun is described as a very counterfeit person. She loved to put on a show in front of others and act cheerful, mannerly, and religious; this was not her true self. She knew very little about her religion, which made her a very hypocritical person. If she wanted to have the role of a nun, she was supposed to represent it properly, but she did not.
     Chaucer concludes his list of consecutive hypocritical characters with the friar. In the 1300’s, friars were supposed to live by strict codes such as representing a Christ-like image and not taking anything unless given. This friar, however, preferred not to be around the poor and sick which is not representing the life of Christ because those were the people he was usually around. He also desired to dress as richly as the pope, which wasn’t very Christ-like. He also never did a favor for anybody unless he was rewarded for it; this contradicted his humbleness.
     The hypocrisy in “The Prologue” is made very clear when Chaucer balances the evil with goodness represented by the parson and plowman.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Prologue to The Canterbury Tales." 123HelpMe.com. 15 Dec 2017
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=82533>.
Title Length Color Rating  
The Significance of Clothing in The Canterbury Tales: General Prologue Essay - Throughout The Canterbury Tales: General Prologue, Chaucer’s use of the characters’ clothing, to symbolize what lies beneath the surface of each personality is significant. Chaucer strongly uses the Knight, the Squire and the Prioress’s clothing to symbolize how their personalities are reflected through The Canterbury Tales. The Knight’s true character is portrayed through his modest apparel. His character is displayed by the way he chooses to show himself in public, which is a noble knight, that is why he wears dirty clothes and chooses to come on the pilgrimage straight from battle....   [tags: The Canterbury Tales] 944 words
(2.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on The Prologue to The Canterbury Tales - In “The Prologue” to The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer uses satire to make a statement about the nature of humanity. “The Prologue” shows the importance of a historical meaning as it describes the social classes of the 1300’s. However, most modern readers can relate to the hypocrisy being displayed by the first three major characters. Chaucer begins his examination early with three religious characters-first being the monk. Monks were supposed to live their lives in poverty, chastity, and obedience-something that this particular monk failed to do....   [tags: The Canterbury Tales] 380 words
(1.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Satire of the Knight in the Prologue and Knight's Tale of "The Canterbury Tales" - Satire. Satire is a biting literary tool, one that Geoffery Chaucer used liberally when he wrote his Canterbury Tales. Webster's New World Dictionary says that satire is "the use of ridicule, sarcasm, etc. to attack vices, follies, etc." Using that definition, I think that all of the pilgrims in the Canterbury Tales are satirized to some extent; some of the satirizations are more subtle than others. The Knight is one of the pilgrims that is more subtly satirized. Chaucer satirizes knights and chivalry in two different ways: in the prologue and in the Knight's Tale....   [tags: Canterbury Tales, Geoffery Chaucer, satire, ] 2185 words
(6.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Analysis Of The General Prologue To The Canterbury Tales Essay - Religion has long since been an important factor in society, changing and evolving throughout the centuries. In medieval Europe, religious pilgrimages were a crucial part of ones religious faith. Often every one in society, from the highest of class to the lowest order was involved in this practice. Geoffrey Chaucer, one of the most important writers in English literature, was the author of The Canterbury Tales, an elaborate poem about the religious pilgrimage of twenty nine people to Canterbury....   [tags: The Canterbury Tales Essays] 1046 words
(3 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Essay on Importance of Clothing in Prologue of the Canterbury Tales - 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....   [tags: Canterbury Tales Essays] 512 words
(1.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about Chaucer's Canterbury Tales - The Nun Prioress of the General Prologue - The Canterbury Tales  - The Nun Prioress In the reading "The Canterbury Tales" by Geoffrey Chaucer, there is a detailed description about the nun Prioress in the "General Prologue". Chaucer uses physical and spiritual relationships to show the characteristics of a person. When we see the nun in relationship to other characters, for example the Knight, Chaucer makes the reader see two types of people. On one hand, the nun who gives much importance to minor things. On the other hand, the Knight who gives much importance to things that really matter....   [tags: General Prologue Essays] 879 words
(2.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The General Prologue - The Canterbury Tales Essay - The General Prologue - The Canterbury Tales The General Prologue The most popular part of the Canterbury Tales is the General Prologue, 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 types, part of a tradition of social satire, "estates satire", and insisting that they should not be read as individualized character portraits like those in a novel. Yet it is sure that Chaucer's capacity of human sympathy, like Shakespeare's, enabled him to go beyond the conventions of his time and create images of individualized human subjects that have been found no...   [tags: English Literature] 1591 words
(4.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Canterbury Tales - Downfall of the Church in Chaucer’s General Prologue - Canterbury Tales - Downfall of the Church in Chaucer’s General Prologue Light-hearted yet bitingly satirical, Chaucer’s “General Prologue” to his Canterbury Tales is a commentary on the corruptions of the Church at the time. Chaucer, being of noble estate, retains his witticism in his narrator. The narrator devotes many a line to the vivid portrayals of the Prioress and the Frere. Through the actions of these two members of the clergy, it is seen that the lust for material goods, the need for flaunting one’s estate, and the development of hypocrisy all contribute to the shaking of the Church’s foundations....   [tags: Canterbury Tales]
:: 1 Works Cited
1039 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Chaucer's Canterbury Tales - Concept of Charity in the General Prologue - The Concept of Charity in the General Prologue   In the "General Prologue," Chaucer presents an array of characters from the 1400's in order to paint portraits of human dishonesty and stupidity as well as virtue.  Out of these twenty-nine character portraits three of them are especially interesting because they deal with charity.  Charity during the 1400's, was a virtue of both religious and human traits.  One character, the Parson, exemplifies Chaucer's idea of charity, and two characters, Prioress, and Friar, to satirize the idea of charity and show that they are using charity for either devious reasons or out of convention or habit....   [tags: General Prologue Essays]
:: 2 Works Cited
946 words
(2.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Chaucer's Canterbury Tales - The Wife of Bath as Depicted in the General Prologue - The Wife of Bath Depicted in the General Prologue       At the first reading of the "General Prologue" to the Canterbury Tales, the Wife of Bath seems to be a fairly straightforward character.  However, the second time through, the ironies and insinuations surface and show the Wife's bold personality.  For example, she is rather opinionated.  The second line in the passage, "But she was somdel deef, and that was scathe," seems only to indicate that she is a little hard of hearing.  However, coupled with a line from the end of the passage noting that she liked to talk, this deafness could mean either that she is really deaf and talks because she cannot hear what others say to her or that s...   [tags: General Prologue Essays]
:: 10 Works Cited
1229 words
(3.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]

Related Searches




These brothers are honest, humble, and sincere about their religion. They basically possess all of the qualities that the religious figures mentioned above do not. The goodness they portray easily disgrace the monk, nun, and friar; yet, they give hope to humanity.
     By reading “The Prologue”, we see humanity at its best and worst. We, as modern readers, can relate to the 1300’s as we conclude from Chaucer’s use of satire that hypocrites have always existed.


Return to 123HelpMe.com