The Canterbury Tales is more than an amusing assortment of stories; it is an illustration of the society in which Geoffrey Chaucer lived. It portrays the culture and class system of the medieval ages in microcosm. Every strata of human life at the time were represented by the many characters whose tales are told. Each character’s basic human nature also plays a role in their stories, and each one has within them the strengths and weaknesses that make up all of humanity. Each character exemplifies their life and reputation through the stories they tell. The Pardoner uses his tale as a ploy to garner money. His tale embodies each deadly sin, and every reader can relate to his story and feel the guilt of his characters. The Wife of Bath’s tale expresses her own ideals in the way her character is given a second chance after committing a crime. The Franklin’s tale, because of its straightforwardness and honesty is a direct representation of the Franklin’s simple and joyful life. Each character tells a tale that is a suitable match to their personality. These characters’ tales represent prevalent themes of the middle ages, including greed, corruption of religious clergymen, violence, revenge, and social status. In Chaucer’s society, the traditional feudal system was losing its importance and the middle class began to emerge. The middle class characters within the Canterbury Tales, with their personal lives and interactions with members of differing social classes, gave an understanding of the growth of society, especially the rising middle class, during medieval times. The Canterbury Tales examines many important qualities of human nature. Chaucer purposely mocks the faults in his characters, and shows the hypocrisy and deceitfulness ... ... middle of paper ... ... Therefore, the traditional feudal system fell apart, and the middle class began to grow. The middle class tend to question the beliefs of moral standards and religion in their lives. Chaucer has members of the middle class as being a third of the total amount of pilgrims. The rise of the middle class and the decline of the nobility were illustrated by the numbers in the pilgrimage. Although in Chaucer’s society, the middle class was not a third of the population, he felt it was important to make them a large part of his story, due to their rising importance. The Knight is symbolic of those who belong in the highest social class, or the nobility. His peacemaking, gentle behavior is meant to contrast the lower social class, or the Miller and Reeve characters. The Knight is one of the only characters who has a noble position, and he keeps to the old ideals of chivalry.
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Personalities come in all shapes and sizes, however, they often contrast with ones occupation or societal ranking. Geoffrey Chaucer shows readers this through The Canterbury Tales as he describes the lives and his views of each character. The Prioress, the Monk, and the Friar, all get on the narrators bad side as they try to portray themselves as someone they were not destined to be. An important aspect of medieval societal values is being true to ones ranking among others and these characters are the complete opposite of whom they truly are. Through these characters, Chaucer shows how these flaws can damage the way others perceive someone.
The moral compass of mankind has always piqued the interest of authors. The Middle Ages was a time of immoral behavior, corrupt religious officials, and disregard of marital vows. Geoffrey Chaucer used The Canterbury Tales to explore his personal views of this dark time. In particular, he crafted “The Wife of Bath’s Tale,” “The Prioress’s Tale,” and “The Shipman’s Tale” to portray the tainted society, using women in all of them to bring forth his views. In The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer depicts women as immodest and conniving beings to suggest the moral corruption of the Middle Ages.
There is no question that contradictory values make up a major component of The Canterbury Tales. Fate vs. Fortuna, knowledge vs. experience and love vs. hate all embody Chaucer's famous work. These contrasting themes are an integral part of the complexity and sophistication of the book, as they provide for an ironic dichotomy to the creative plot development and undermine the superficial assumptions that might be made. The combination of completely contradictory motifs leads to the unusual stories and outcomes that come to play out in the tales. And these outcomes draw focus on the larger universal issues that in many cases transcend the boundaries of vernacular periods to all of humanity. That is the essence and success of the tales; their themes are universal and their irony is still applicable today.
Throughout “The Canterbury Tales” by Geoffrey Chaucer, all the tales have a variety of clever humor, witty repartee, and comic relief. In the book a group of Pilgram’s travel to Canterbury Cathederal and they tell a collection of different stories on there way their and back. Each tale is unique and intresting in it’s own way. Some met the Host request of being entertaing and moral, and some tale’s didn’t but “The Canterbury Tales” is still a significant book. In the book Chaucer talks about different streotypes and gives his of the Pilgrams different ironic or unusal characteristics. Each one of Chaucer’s tales were entertaining and moral but “The Pardoner’s tale” is a skillful blend of both, which The Host requested.
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer is a collection of stories by a group of pilgrims who are heading to Canterbury Cathedral. In this book, the pardoner and the reeve show antipodal characters in many ways. The pardoner is beautiful blonde hair man who is being loved by everyone. However he is very corrupted and smart and sells fake religious stuff to people saying very good compliment. On the other hand, the reeve is very serious and honest business man. He is very smart enough to know what criminals think and do. The pardoner story-tells a great example (or tale?) of seven deadly sins and reeve’s story is mocking of the miller. These very different characteristic men tell story telling that human beings are always punished for being greedy. The crooked pardoner and the honest reeve have different purposes for telling their tales, but their stories have the same major theme; sins deserve punishment.
In The Canterbury Tales, written by Geoffrey Chaucer, the stereotypes and roles in society are reexamined and made new through the characters in the book. Chaucer discusses different stereotypes and separates his characters from the social norm by giving them highly ironic and/or unusual characteristics. Specifically, in the stories of The Wife of Bath and The Miller’s Tale, Chaucer examines stereotypes of women and men and attempts to define their basic wants and needs.
The structure Geoffrey Chaucer chose for his masterpiece, The Canterbury Tales, of utilizing a melange of narrative voices to tell separate tales allows him to explore and comment on subjects in a multitude of ways. Because of this structure of separate tales, the reader must regard as extremely significant when tales structurally overlap, for while the reader may find it difficult to render an accurate interpretation through one tale, comparing tales enables him to lessen the ambiguity of Chaucer’s meaning. The Clerk’s Tale and The Merchant’s Tale both take on the institution of marriage, but comment on it in entirely different manner, but both contain an indictment of patriarchal narcissism and conceit.
Chaucer’s book The Canterbury Tales presents a frame story written at the end of the 14th century. It narrates the story of a group of pilgrims who participate in a story-telling contest that they made up to entertain each other while they travel to the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. Because of this, some of the tales become particularly attractive for they are written within a frame of parody which, as a style that mocks genre, is usually achieved by the deliberate exaggeration of some aspects of it for comic effect. Chaucer uses parody to highlight some aspects of the medieval society that presented in an exaggerated manner, not only do they amuse the readers, but also makes them reflect on them. He uses the individual parody of each tale to create a satirical book in which the behaviours of its characters paint an ironic and critical portrait of the English society at that time. Thus, the tales turn satirical, ironic, earthy, bawdy, and comical. When analysing the Knight’s and the Miller’s tale, one can realise how Chaucer mocks the courtly love convention, and other social codes of behaviour typical of the medieval times.
One of the most recognized attribute of Chaucer’s narrative was the ability to create characters that embodied features distant from the fiction, making them very real and believable through the writing. To verify this statement it is necessary to examine Chaucer’s work. The most celebrated of them is the collection of stories "The Canterbury Tales" (originally written in Middle English) which were the last work of Geoffrey Chaucer and perhaps the best of the middle ages in England. Therefore, for literary reasons, three characters were taken for an analysis to distinguish the level of transcendence recognized (if any) in their inner and outer lives.
Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The General Prologue” to The Canterbury Tales can be portrayed as a story based on the concept of wealth, and what one can truly benefit from following it. Throughout his prologue, Chaucer visualizes the values that the characters hold in correlation to money by using imagery of the pilgrims clothing, transportation, and luxury items. The narrator follows this by illustrating the consequences that come from pursuing wealth, and how it can corrupt one’s religious beauty. However, few characters presented in his descriptions challenge what has wistfully become the norm, and possesses a holy beauty that outweighs the desire for materialistic
The Knight is highly looked upon in society because of his unique qualities in truth and honor. Chaucer also expresses in great detail about his characteristics and is most remembered for his “trouth, honour, fredom, and curtisie.” (Line 46) Basically, Chaucer is saying he has ideals of fidelity, reputation, generosity, and refinement which make him unique. Chaucer comes up with these qualities by observing the Knight and also by learning about the Knight’s past history. He fought well as an “illustrious” knight in the Crusades and had battled...
The Canterbury Tales is a very popular and well known set of stories, written by Geoffrey Chaucer. This collection of stories is great entertainment and some even provide very good moral lessons; most of these stories show the contempt Chaucer had for the Church of England which had control at the time over most of England. Chaucer’s bias towards the corruption of the Church is best demonstrated in the Pardoner’s Prologue, in contradiction with the Parson’s Tale, and the level of power within the Church structure. These are two of the stories of the many that are in The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer uses the Pardoner as a high level leader who is corrupt and yet enables him to convert the sinners even if he does it for personal gain. While the Parson is of lower standing in the Church, he is not corrupt, and gives the message to the pilgrims so that they might be forgiven.
During the Middle Ages, England was a nation in social chaos. Deception of every kind was rampart throughout the lands. Many people felt that there was a great need for moral improvement in society. In Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales he clearly brings to light his thoughts and concerns of “ethical cleansing.” No tale more fully expresses this idea than that of “The Pardoner’s Tale” and “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale.”
One of Geoffrey's less believable main characters is the Knight, for reasons of chivalry. The knight displays many traits which make him seem almost too good to be true, and a true gentleman that rarely exists in reality. The narrator sums up the knights character by stating that "Though he were worthy, he was wys,/And of his port as meeke as is a mayde." (pg. 5, The Canterbury Tales) The knight holds four main admirable traits, making him the most liked traveler in "The Canterbury Tales," and also amplying the doubt of his realism. The reader is prepared to learn of each of his noble accomplishments and importance when the narrator remarks that" A knight ther was, and that a worthy man,/That fro the tyme that he first bigan/To ryden out, he loved chivalrye,/Trouthe and honour, fredom and curteisye." (pg. 4, The Canterbury Tales) From the characters impressive introduction, it is clear that this man is the most valued and honorable traveler among the group. This perfect gentleman holds a love of ideals that are often not displayed by people. First and foremost, he believes in the ideals of chivalry, and always stays true to its principles. He also feels that one should be honest, truthful and faithful, which many people are not all of these ideals. The knight thinks one should only do what is right, and what will gain him honor and reputation. This character also believes in freedom and generosity towards all, and displays this ideal repeatedly throughout the novel. And lastly, the knight also strongly feels that any proper person should display courtesy and elegance at all times. Another aspect of this character's life which makes him seem too prestigious to be truthful is his impressive military career. He fought in the holy war, known as the Crusades and was involved in 15 "mortal battles." In the prologue, the narrator informs the reader that "Ful worthy was he in his lordes werre,/And therto hadde he riden, no man ferre,/As wel in Cristendom as hethenesse,/And ever honoured for his worthinesse.
The Canterbury Tales is a great contemplation of stories, that display humorous and ironic examples of medieval life, which imitate moral and ethical problems in history and even those presented today. Chaucer owed a great deal to the authors who produced these works before his time. Chaucer tweaked their materials, gave them new meanings and revealed unscathed truths, thus providing fresh ideas to his readers. Chaucer's main goal for these tales was to create settings in which people can relate, to portray lessons and the irony of human existence.