The Canterbury Tales By Geoffrey Chaucer Essay

The Canterbury Tales By Geoffrey Chaucer Essay

Length: 923 words (2.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In The Canterbury Tales, author Geoffrey Chaucer writes of the journey several pilgrims make from London to Canterbury to visit the shrine of St. Thomas Becket. Many of the pilgrims are discussed at great length, from their physical appearance to their personality traits. Many of these pilgrims represent a paradigm of their role in the 14th century when this set of tales was written. For example, the knight represents chivalry and honor to the highest degree, while the pardoner embodies Chaucer’s view on several negative aspects of the religious system at the time. These characters are the opposite extremes of Chaucer’s totem pole of morality, but most characters reside somewhere in the middle. Two of these characters are the Sergeant of Law and the Merchant, two middle class pilgrims that have manufactured their own status through hard work, studies, and income. While they have both built themselves up to an elevated social status, there are many differences in the work ethics, personalities, and appearances of these two men.
The Sergeant of Law is not just a regular lawyer, but is also one of only a handful that served the king as a legal advisor and judge. He is highly renowned and extremely knowledgeable as shown by Chaucer’s lines, “In termes hadde he caas and doomes alle / That from the tyme of Kyng William were yfalle” (324-5), meaning he knows of every file, case, and judgment ever recorded since since 400 years ago to the time of King William. Chaucer also takes the time to tell us that he is not just well-educated like the Clerk, but he is also very good at what he does, mentioning, “Ther koude no wight pynchen at his writyng. / And every statut koude he pleyn by rote” (326-7), meaning that nobody could refute his writ...


... middle of paper ...


...his progeny into nobility. He is already close to the court since he works as a judge and legal advisor to the king, and hopes one day to be a part of the upper class. He also does not pay much attention to his appearance. On the other hand, the Merchant is attempting to develop the new, up-and-coming middle class in 14th century England by flaunting extravagant clothing to give the impression that he is wealthier than he is. Both men, though, are hiding something about their respective lives. The Sergeant does not work as hard as he seems to, and the Merchant is secretly in great debt. With this comparison, we see that Chaucer has much respect for this middle class that he grew up in, but he also holds contempt for those that are constantly trying to elevate their social status instead of focusing on making the best of their situation through honesty and hard work.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

The Canterbury Tales By Geoffrey Chaucer Essay

- Ways in which “The Canterbury Tales” were reflective of everyday life during the Middle Ages The Middle Ages began with the collapse of the Western Roman Empire and merged into what is known as the Renascence Era and the Age of Discovery. It encompasses the 5th to the 15th century, in the area that is modern day Europe. Author Geoffrey Chaucer, chose to explore the social structure/ classes of these times in an effort to share his observations and thoughts. Using vivid imagery, exaggerated characters, and everyday settings, Geoffrey Chaucer used “The Canterbury Tales” to depict real world parallels of the social changes that were happening in the Middle Ages in England....   [tags: Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales]

Better Essays
1885 words (5.4 pages)

The Canterbury Tales By Geoffrey Chaucer Essay

- In The Canterbury Tales, created by fourteenth century author Geoffrey Chaucer, society is described through literary elements such as tone, metaphors, and imagery. The Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories that are told through different pilgrims who are on their way to Canterbury to pay homage to St. Thomas a Beckett. At the beginning of Chaucer 's collection of stories, he describes each of the pilgrims. One of the pilgrims that Chaucer describes is the Wife of Bath, and through his description of her the reader is able to find out about her appearance, background, and personality....   [tags: Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales]

Better Essays
1085 words (3.1 pages)

The Pilgrimage Of The Canterbury Tales By Geoffrey Chaucer Essay

- The pilgrimage that is taken in The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer can be similar to something like, a rock concert. The reason for this pilgrimage is for people to visit a religious figure, well so they say. It is also a reason for all different walks of life to come together and have a good time as they take this moral religious trip up to the saints. The types of people on this pilgrimage are all different; there are moral people and not so moral people. There are also fair and straight edge people, as well as people who have a bit more of a wild side, just like one might see at a rock concert....   [tags: Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales]

Better Essays
1635 words (4.7 pages)

Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales Essay

- Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales The Knight, Squire, Prioress, The Monk and the Friar are defined by their settings in Geoffrey Chaucer’s "Prologue" to The Canterbury Tales. 1. Portnoy says in his article in the Chaucer Review that "The General Prologue is like a mirror reflecting the individuals appearance which then defines the character of that person."(281) 2. Scanlon backs up Portnoy in his article from Speculum by saying "…Characters descriptions somehow emerge inevitably from the original intentions of Chaucer’s text or reflect its lasting value." (128) 3....   [tags: Chaucer Geoffrey Canterbury Tales Essays]

Better Essays
1275 words (3.6 pages)

Geoffrey Chaucer 's The Canterbury Tales Essay examples

- Over the course of the semester, this British Literature course has adequately exposed myself to a variety of works of differing styles coming from a millennium of English authors and poets. With this literary immersion, some works have proved more memorable than others. Out of these select few, I hope to choose the literary work which demonstrates the greatest combination of entertainment and morals for future readers to take away from the text. After some deliberation, I found the solution obvious, as I had to write about Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales....   [tags: The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer]

Better Essays
1351 words (3.9 pages)

Geoffrey Chaucer 's The Canterbury Tales Essay

- The character details that Geoffrey Chaucer’s narrator focuses on, in his descriptions of the pilgrims in “The Canterbury Tales”, provide an insight into the values and ideals that he held in esteem. The story is framed from the point of view of a narrator; who is not explicitly Chaucer but, presumably, shares many of his predilections and persuasions. The pilgrims are described in varying degrees of detail, less than ten lines for the Cook and more than forty for the Summoner, but nonetheless, the narrator ensures that his audience has a solid grasp on how he feels about each character....   [tags: The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer]

Better Essays
777 words (2.2 pages)

Essay on Analysis Of Geoffrey Chaucer 's ' The Canterbury Tales '

- One recurring theme in Geoffrey Chaucer’s, The Canterbury Tales, is payback. Many of the tales are fabliaux, so they consist of naughty characters and oodles of payback. The characters each possess multiple characteristics, including caritas and cupiditas. Because of these traits, the characters in Chaucer’s tales are often prone to partake in immoral or moral activities. The activities result in payback dished out and received. The payback can come in many forms, including vengeful, violent, childish, karmic, or sexual....   [tags: The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer]

Better Essays
1258 words (3.6 pages)

Essay on Geoffrey Chaucer 's The Canterbury Tales

- Madonna once said, “I 'm tough, I 'm ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay” (Madonna). Madonna is saying that she can do what she wants and that should be okay, no matter what society says. Society should not be the one to determine how women act. This accurately embodies Geoffrey Chaucer’s message on how women should act in regards to what society tells them to do. In the fourteenth century, Madonna would be seen as a rebellious person that no one should follow....   [tags: The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer, Sociology]

Better Essays
944 words (2.7 pages)

The Canterbury Tales By Geoffrey Chaucer Essay

- Geoffrey Chaucer’s deep poetic sensibility, combined with his strong understanding of human nature, gave him the ability to observe surrounding life with a creative insight and power. In his anthology, The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer exhibits many of his great attentions to people while walking through the English countryside. Some of these characters include the Clerk, the Sergeant of the Lawe, and the Wife of Bath. Geoffrey Chaucer’s careful and astute observations of people in The Canterbury Tales indicate that he is an accurate and insightful onlooker....   [tags: The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer]

Better Essays
860 words (2.5 pages)

The Canterbury Tales By Geoffrey Chaucer Essay

- Geoffrey Chaucer is, to this day, one of the most famous Middle-English writers. His view of corrupt societies and how things "may not always be as they seem" was incredibly accurate and has even carried over its accuracy into the modern era. His writings are highly controversial and bring out the faults in the most conservative aspects of society—especially when it comes to sexism and the church. In The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer, he speaks about 31 people going on a pilgrimage. The entire selection is heavily weighted and based on one key thing, which is how it is structured....   [tags: The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer]

Better Essays
1175 words (3.4 pages)