Language In Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

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“Every poet arrives at some sense of how language works. Chaucer 's engagement, like that of the greatest literary figures, goes beyond the brilliant, skillful use of language as a tool of expression, beyond what we usually call 'talent, '" note academics Douglas Wurtele, David Williams, and Robert Myles. They eloquently phrase the wit and mechanics adeptly applied by Chaucer in his forging of a new written language. Not only does he manage to forge this language, but he uses his academic wit and knowledge to critique and criticize the two most sacred institutions of his day. Through his dexterous use of satire and irony, he finds a revolutionary way to reach the general multitude, whose language he adopts in his writing. Chaucer successfully…show more content…
While French, Italian, and Latin were all fluent and viable options for Chaucer’s choice of language, he instead settles upon the disdained language which would later be known as English. His decision to write in English rather the other “more beautiful” languages was not only an action of satire but also an effort to communicate with the general public. John Fisher avers in The Importance of Chaucer that, “It is [Chaucer’s] introduction of satire and realism and his experiments with philosophical and scientific prose that demonstrated the capacity of the language…No other writer ranges more widely from serious to comic, from spiritual to bawdy, from lyric to narrative, from poetry to philosophy and science. By the time he finished, the prejudice that English was not capable of expressing any kind of sentiment or conveying any kind of information could no longer stand.” In the General Prologue, Chaucer expertly captures reader attention by his satirical slights and implications towards many of the characters. “The Rule of good St. Benet or St. Maur as old…show more content…
Gilbert Highet affirms Chaucer’s satire in these tales to address the institution of marriage in his book The Anatomy of Satire: “Such is that delightful satire on marriage seen from the woman 's point of view, the Wife of Bath 's Prologue in Chaucer 's Canterbury Tales.” In Chaucer’s day, the idea that women were not supposed to and generally did not enjoy sex was widely accepted. Chaucer immediately shatters this societal assertion when his character, the Wife, avows, “I can’t keep continent for years and years…One may advise a woman to be [a virgin]; Advice is no commandment in my view.” Chaucer secondly attacks the assumption that women are inferior to men throughout the prologue and her tale, but it is clear that the Wife knows how to manipulate her men. Her only challenge was her last husband, married for love: he believed readily in the wickedness of women. In physical confrontation, they fought it out, until he apologized, although she herself was also hurt. “In the end we made it up together…So help me God I was as kind to him as any wife from Denmark to the rim of India, and as true. And he to me,” vividly indicates that their relations were not peaceful until a mutualistic and equivalent understanding was

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