The Virtue of Men and Women in The Canterbury Tales

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The Virtue of Men and Women in The Canterbury Tales People never change. In every town you will always be able to find the "rich guy," the "smart guy," the "thief," and the "chief." It has been that way since the first man was swindled out of his lunch. Throughout his life, Geoffrey Chaucer encountered every kind of person and brought them to life for us in "The Canterbury Tales," a collection of short stories written in the 1300's. There are tales of saints, tales of promiscuity, tales of fraud, and tales of love. While reading, one has no choice but to come to the simple realization that nothing has really changed from Chaucer's time to ours. In "The Canterbury Tales" Chaucer depicted people from all walks of life. Society then had three basic classes of virtue that most people fell under: the Revered, the Commonfolk, and the Despicable. In the days of Chaucer, these people could be found in any village or town, just as they can be found today in our towns. Times were different then, but the people haven't changed a bit. Chaucer wrote of only three people who are deserving of the title "The Revered." These are the people who are always admired for their altruism, honesty, and kindness. They are proud and courageous with unalterable beliefs and unbreakable morals. Each of them may have a few harmless quirks, but are nevertheless revered. The most known of "The Revered" is the Knight. The Knight served in the Crusades where he fought for his king and the preservation of his beliefs in Christianity. Honor and virtue were reflected in everything he did. The Knight represents one of the most admirable characters in literature and is revered because of what he stands for. Though the Parson did not fight in the Crusades like the Knight, he also served God. The Parson was a man of the church whose beliefs in Christianity were unyielding. Decent and principled, he was a man devoted completely to his congregation. The Parson fully accepted the responsibility bestowed upon him to guard his people from sin. He said, "If gold rusts, what will iron do?" By this he meant that if the priest became corrupt, what would the parishioners do? As a parishioner and a brother of the Parson, the Plowman was a prime example of how well this philosophy worked. The Plowman is considered to reside in society's lowest class.
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