The Themes Of Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales

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The Canterbury Tales, written by the Father of English Poetry, Geoffrey Chaucer, is a poem based around twenty-nine pilgrims, as well as the narrator, who are going on a pilgrimage to Canterbury for prayer. The Prologue frames the tales of the characters like a picture, with the tales acting as the photograph. Each character’s tale is explained in their point of view, holding a moral behind each tale. In Geoffrey Chaucer’s poem, The Canterbury Tales, he borrows central ideas from his time period and life, earlier works in history, satire, and themes to develop the tales of his characters. The exact date of birth of Geoffrey Chaucer is unknown, but many historians believe that he was born somewhere between 1340 and 1344 (“Geoffrey Chaucer”…show more content…
In The Canterbury Tales, during the prologue of The Wife of Bath, Chaucer reuses many ideas and old clichés from an anti-feminist and sexist tradition of literature that prospered throughout the Middle Ages (Lynch 2). Jack Lynch also believes that Chaucer made fun of tradition during the Middle Ages by “putting them in the mouth of a singularly headstrong woman” (Lynch 2). Chaucer went on to borrow philosophical thoughts and ideals in his poems from an Italian philosopher named Boethius, as well as Dante and Petrarch (Judith 2). Even though Chaucer borrowed many ideas, his best work was done purely by himself (Judith…show more content…
Kittredge’s article written in 1912 explains that there are subgrouping of tales in The Canterbury Tales are based on similar themes and issues, such as the Marriage Group (Dominick 3). The marriage, however, is not shown as actual marriage, but rather dialogue between two characters (Kretzschmar 7). The Franklin’s Tale is a depiction of Chaucer’s reaction, whose marriage is shown as an elegant and sincere representation of a true, equal, and pure marriage, ending the marriage act of the human comedy, while the Merchant’s romance is fake, reflecting how his marriage is crumbling and falling (Kretzschmar 7). Feminist theories have also been applied to the Tales, because of how the women in the story are treated, and how the identity of the women had been defined (Dominick 8). The Wife of Bath is the most criticized pilgrims, and Chaucer shows her as an anti-feminist, using her to show a male’s point of view on women (Dominick 8), which is why she is portrayed as seductive. George Kittredge explained that each of the tales of the pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales are not just tales that are grouped together, but rather the reflections of the character’s personality (Dominick 2). The Wife of Bath and Doctor are compared, as the Wife of Bath is a symbol of feminine sexuality and women’s power, which is corrected by The Clerk’s Tale, which is over the patient
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