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Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

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Following the fall of the great Roman Empire a new age was born, the age of knights in shining amour and the great kings in stone castles. Yet, it was also a chaotic time, War and plague was a disease upon Europe. Countries fought for land, resources, and above all, the attention of God. The world was young and so was the English Language. Few writers wrote in English, the language of the commoners, as French and Latin was the Language of the powerful élite. Yet one writer dared to speak against the feudal society of which he was born into. Geoffrey Chaucer served most of his life in the employment of the crown, as both a soldier and a clerk. Yet through all of these titles, Chaucer would be forever immortalized as Geoffrey Chaucer the writer, and the Satirist. The true goal of any Satire is to point out the flaws in certain aspect of society, while also inspiring reform to that very same aspect in one way or another. In Chaucer’s Canterbury tales, Chaucer satirizes the corruption Catholic Church and those associated. Chaucer saw that hypocrisy polluted the pureness of the church and expressed his disillusionment through the use of satire. Fearless of discommunication Geoffrey Chaucer, the father of satire, dared to speak openly of the absolute corruption of the medieval church.

Medieval society was centered on the flawed Catholic Church, where hypocrisy and corruption poisoned the purity of religion. When one individual spoke against the way the church‘s way, the church would simply retaliate. One such example is that of Joan of Arc, a French farm girl turned soldier. The Church was outraged at her choices, performing deeds that were reserved for men. Joan wore men’s clothing and wore her hair short as to avoid being the s...

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...t man in a time of great despair. Through the greatness of his actions, satirically pointing out the corruption in the Catholic church, Chaucer earned a reputation as one of the greatest writers in the English language. Fearless of the Church’s retaliation, Chaucer continued to educate his audience, the English speaking commoners of Medieval Europe, who had long been taken advantage of by the Church, becoming one the greatest and first English satirist and the Father of English satire.

Works Cited

Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales in Modern Verse . “The Prologue”. Hackett

Publishing Company, INC. United States of America, 2005.

Chaucer, Geoffrey. “The Canterbury tales: The Prologue”. Our Literary Heritage. Ed. Desmond Pacey. 4th ed. Montreal, Que.: Mcgraw-Hill Ryerson ltd., 1982.

Shaw, Bernard. Saint Joan. Penguin books, London 1952.
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