The Canterbury Tales: Two Character Exegesis Of The Canterbury Tales

analytical Essay
947 words
947 words

Canterbury Tales: Two Character Exegesis The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer are a collection of Middle English short stories written about a group of pilgrims telling tales as they journey to the shrine of St Thomas Becket. In this collection of tales, Chaucer introduces a slew of interesting characters representing all walks of life who present intriguing stories of their lives. The character of Chaucer serves as our guide throughout this story. Chaucer’s narration is unique in that we see him both as someone who could be there in the tavern with the group but at other times, Chaucer is a narrator who seems to know far more than he should. With this type of narration, we gain different perspectives on the pilgrims and …show more content…

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how the last line of the portrait shows that any indiscretions she might have had before marriage were nothing to be ashamed of.
  • Analyzes how the portrait calls the summoner a liar and references the fact that his main goal is filling his purse. his chief means of making his money is to bribe individuals not to be delivered of summons that he may have laid the charges for.
  • Analyzes chaucer's canterbury tales, a collection of middle english short stories about pilgrims telling tales as they journey to the shrine of st thomas becket.
  • Analyzes how the woman's sexual prowess is mentioned, but not humiliation, in the portrait of the wife of bath.
  • Analyzes how chaucer's wife of bath is a critique of society during his lifetime with subtle satire.

In this paper I will compare two of Chaucer’s characters using both the interpretation of the characters as written and how those same characters would be interpreted today. The two roles I will be discussing are the Wife of Bath and the Summoner. I will attempt to show that although the Wife of Bath was supported as a good woman in part because of her sexual prowess as the character was written, the same sort of character - were she to tell her tale today - would be shamed and looked down upon as promiscuous and unworthy. The Summoner, on the other hand, would not be reinterpreted very differently and would be as reviled today as he was at the time of writing. His corruption, lechery and drunkenness would still be condemned. In the Wife of Bath’s portrait she is described as heavy, bluff woman that is industrious, a talented weaver, her five husbands and her pilgrimages to Jerusalem. There is some reference to her potential promiscuity in youth but it is glossed over. Withouten oother compaignye in youthe, …show more content…

Again, we see a reference to her sexual prowess but nothing of humiliation to be found in the portrayal. Of the thirty one lines devoted to the portrait of the Wife of Bath only those four are committed to that portion of her character. By today’s standards that is an infinitesimal amount to be dedicated to the salacious parts of a character portrait. The mere fact that this woman had been married five times and that there was a possibility of a scandal in her youth would be enough to wipe out any discussion of her piousness, her travels and most especially her good work. In todays world it would be more likely that her possible promiscuity would be used specifically to undermine any skill she might have to promote herself. In the Portrait of the Summoner his physical appearance is described as red, scabby and covered in pustules. It refers to his drunkenness and mentions when he is inebriated he speaks only Latin but not as though he were educated in the language but only able to parrot two or three phrases. And for to drynken strong wyn, reed as blood; Thanne wolde he speke and crie as he were wood. And whan that he wel dronken hadde the

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