Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is a Masterpiece

analytical Essay
751 words
751 words

Geoffrey Chaucer's masterpiece "The Canterbury Tales" depicts characters from every stratum of feudal society and exposes the contradictions of the character's social roles. As a Church representative, the Pardoner, for instance, is to be a scammer of gullible believers. His tale is an ironic narrative that speaks about human morality. The Pardoner's tale is of three men finding fortune to have a better life and defeat death, but end up killing each other. Though the use of irony in "The Pardoner's Tale" satirizes both the corruption of the Catholic Church and individual human greed and materialism as evidenced by the characters in the tale and the Pardoner himself. The prologue or the introduction of the Pardoner's tale reveals his true character. The Pardoner uses his ties as a Church to manipulate people into giving him ill- gotten funds. He tells false tales and displays false artifacts just to fuel his "avarice." The Pardoner makes a lucrative living preaching "mockeries" in his "sermon, for it frees the pelf" and his purpose is to "win" and not to redeem people of "sin." The Pardoner himself is an embodiment of irony and contradiction by not only his practice of corruption but his tale being a moving parable that would strike shame within a person. The main characteristic of his personality and his tale is summed in his biblical statement in Latin, "Radix malorum est cupiditas," translated as "the love of money is the root of all evil." His irony derives from his wealthy-beggar status, corruption of the Church, and his tale denouncing all of his practices. The tales three main characters of three young men drinking at local tavern and stumble upon the rumors of a thief named Death that began killing ruthlessly around a local village. The three men then swear to "kill this traitor Death" and made an oath to "live and die for one another." Their oath begins the theme of irony as later, these men who wished to protect each other like brothers all lay dead, being murdered by one another over ill-gotten fortune. Their oath also calls to kill and murder death, death being an unstoppable inevitable way life cannot be defied, and it is humorist thought that they challenged a natural factor of life. Though they pledged to rid death from the people, when they meet an old man, they ask why he is even bothering to live.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how chaucer's masterpiece "the canterbury tales" depicts characters from every stratum of feudal society and exposes the contradictions of their social roles.
  • Analyzes how the three men swear to kill a thief named death and make an oath to "live and die for one another."
  • Analyzes how irony comes in many shades and positions and the contradiction continue to flip in this story. the reckless youth had found not death under the tree but the promise of a better, richer life.
  • Analyzes how the pardoner makes money by hiding his secret desires of worldly goods and imposing the rhetorical statement of what possession is worth more than salvation.
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