Essay about Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales

Essay about Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales

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The Canterbury Tales serves as a moral manual in the Middle Ages. In the tales, Geoffrey Chaucer portrays the problems of the society. For instance, Chaucer uses the monk and the friar in comparison to the parson to show what the ecclesiastical class are doing versus what they are supposed to be doing. In other words, it is to make people be aware of these problems. It can be inferred that the author’s main goal is for this literary work to serve as a message to the people along with changing the society in relation to these problems. The author mentions several issues of the society including how women are treated. Pertaining to women’s role in the society, the Middle Ages was also considered a patriarchal society which is why in the tales, the author depicts the inequality that is resulting from this. Despite what many would think based on his writing, Chaucer is not a misogynist. Chaucer only shows the perception of women in his society with an indication of his feminist views as well.
Looking back through history, women and men were treated differently. There was a common belief back in the days that men were superior to women. Aristotle, for instance, “assumed that male domination was the rule in all natural species” (Rigby). Due to this Greek Philosopher’s words, people believed this idea as well. Men of course, are physically superior to women, but that is not the only case pertaining to this idea of predominance. Many believed that men were “morally, intellectually and physically” superior to women (Rigby). S.H. Rigby is a history lecturer who explored many texts to support the idea of this gender superiority. Aristotle was just one example of the textual evidence throughout time; another comes from the bible itself. In G...


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...showing the causes and effects of the inequality in his society. Chaucer focuses in this issue and how it needs to be resolved. His literary work made people see and realize that women deserve to have rights too. Because of Geoffrey Chaucer, women found motivation to fight for their rights. Until today, The Canterbury Tales is still one of the literary works that stands for women's rights.


Works Cited
Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales. New York: Dover Publications, 1994. Print.
Leicester, H. Marshall, Jr. "Of a Fire in the Dark: Public and Private Feminism in The Wife of Bath's Tale." Women's Studies 11.1-2 (1984): 157-178. Literature Resource Center. Web. 1 March 2014.
Rigby, S. H. "Misogynist versus Feminist Chaucer." Chaucer in Context: Society, Allegory and Gender. Manchester University Press, 1996. 116-163. Literature Resource Center. Web. 1 March 2014.

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