Analysis Of ' The Canterbury Tales ' Essay

Analysis Of ' The Canterbury Tales ' Essay

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The Canterbury Tales is an in-depth narrative analysis of twenty-nine unique characters and their Host on a collective pilgrimage to Thomas Becket’s shrine in Canterbury. Chaucer paints vivid pictures of each pilgrim through his description of their physical appearance, inner nature, and outward behavior towards others. The individuals are not given names but the reader can identify them by their titles. One of the clearest cut characters in this work is the Parson. Chaucer presents the Parson in The Canterbury Tales to create a stark contrast for the other religious figures by his description of the Parson’s inner constitution, outward actions, and shepherd like qualities.
The Parson’s internal nature is fully pure and entirely religious. The author makes it clear that the Parson is full of holy thoughts and he knows the gospel well. He is a learned and educated man in scripture and plainly shows this by being humble and modest to the very core of his being. The Parson is also described as benign, diligent, and patient (Chaucer, 41). It is evident that he is filled with Christ because the one thing he says out loud that the reader knows of is, “if gold rusts, what shall iron do?” (Chaucer, 41). This phrase was not mentioned by accident. What he is really saying is that he, as a priest and minister, should be the most righteous and blameless of all the populace, because if he rusts, or is blemished by sin, then how can his people do anything other than rust. He must be a good example in order to lead others to a higher moral life.
Hollowell 2
The external deeds of the Parson give genuine proof that he means what he says and practices what he preaches. The Parson is a poor man, he does not live a rich or comfy life (Chaucer, 41)....


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...on is depicted in such a virtuous way is to create a distinct and rigid contrast between him and the many other religious figures represented in this work. The rest of the religious figures such as the Monk, the Friar, and the Pardoner, are used to satirize the corruption of religious leaders in the church at that time. Each of them has obvious flaws and they are plagued with immorality. The Parson is a picture of what an upright and moral religious leader should be, at his best, and without him the corruption in the other religious leaders would not appear as obvious. Without good there is no true reference for evil. The Parson is needed as a basis and foundation for the reader to know what Christ-like living is supposed to look like. Using that knowledge, the reader may make clearer and more informed observations about the other pilgrims’ characters and behaviors.

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