Essay on Power and Corruption in The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

Essay on Power and Corruption in The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

Length: 1558 words (4.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Canterbury Tales is a very popular and well known set of stories, written by Geoffrey Chaucer. This collection of stories is great entertainment and some even provide very good moral lessons; most of these stories show the contempt Chaucer had for the Church of England which had control at the time over most of England. Chaucer’s bias towards the corruption of the Church is best demonstrated in the Pardoner’s Prologue, in contradiction with the Parson’s Tale, and the level of power within the Church structure. These are two of the stories of the many that are in The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer uses the Pardoner as a high level leader who is corrupt and yet enables him to convert the sinners even if he does it for personal gain. While the Parson is of lower standing in the Church, he is not corrupt, and gives the message to the pilgrims so that they might be forgiven.
The Church in the 1400’s was the center of everyone’s life and a peasant’s life was the hardest to live. The Church convinced everyone that if they broke the rules their soul would be damned. One of the rules was to devote time to the church where peasants would give hours of free labor in the churches’ fields instead of working on their own land to feed their family (“The Medieval Church”). The Church would gather tithes of food and money from every person and store them in a tithe barn where the food would rot or be poisoned by rats (“The Medieval Church”).
The tithes from the people were what made the Church so wealthy (“The Medieval Church”). With wealth and power, and the fear of damnation, the Church was able to be as corrupt as it wanted because there was no one to stop them. Because of this corruption in the Church, a man by the name of Geoffrey Chaucer bec...


... middle of paper ...


...ed. Vol. A. New York:
W.W Norton &, 2012. 243-342. Print. The Norton Anthology of English Literature.
Creighton, James Joseph, "Chaucer's Presentation of the Church in the Canterbury Tales "
(1957).Master's Theses.Paper 1377. Web. 25 Apr. 2014
Day, Lauren. "The Canterbury Tales: Chaucer's Respectful Critique of Church Officials and
Their Abuse of Power." Digital Commons at Salve Regina(2011): 1-26. McKillop
Library. Web. 25 Apr. 2014.
Ethel, Garland. "Chaucer's Worste Shrewe: The Pardoner." Modern Language Quarterly 20.3
(1959): 211. Academic Search Complete. Web. 26 Apr. 2014.
Greenblatt, Stephen. "Geoffrey Chaucer." The Middle Ages. Ninth ed. Vol. A. New York: W.W
Norton &, 2012. 238-43. Print. The Norton Anthology of English Literature.
Neuman, A. "Chaucer's Pardoner: A Critique of Capitalism." GradeSaver. GradeSaver LLC, 8
Apr. 2002. Web. 25 Apr. 2014.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Canterbury Tales By Geoffrey Chaucer Essay

- Geoffrey Chaucer’s deep poetic sensibility, combined with his strong understanding of human nature, gave him the ability to observe surrounding life with a creative insight and power. In his anthology, The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer exhibits many of his great attentions to people while walking through the English countryside. Some of these characters include the Clerk, the Sergeant of the Lawe, and the Wife of Bath. Geoffrey Chaucer’s careful and astute observations of people in The Canterbury Tales indicate that he is an accurate and insightful onlooker....   [tags: The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer]

Powerful Essays
860 words (2.5 pages)

The Canterbury Tales By Geoffrey Chaucer Essay

- Geoffrey Chaucer is, to this day, one of the most famous Middle-English writers. His view of corrupt societies and how things "may not always be as they seem" was incredibly accurate and has even carried over its accuracy into the modern era. His writings are highly controversial and bring out the faults in the most conservative aspects of society—especially when it comes to sexism and the church. In The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer, he speaks about 31 people going on a pilgrimage. The entire selection is heavily weighted and based on one key thing, which is how it is structured....   [tags: The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer]

Powerful Essays
1175 words (3.4 pages)

Essay about The Marital Obligation in The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

- In The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, Chaucer’s real opinions about marriage and relationships between men and women are shown. Marriage is an institution viewed upon in many different ways. Some believe it is a consecrated union of two people in order to procreate. On the other hand, there are those who look at it as a social contract which often binds two people that are not necessarily right for each other. Chaucer combines these two beliefs into one major belief. Chaucer seems to look at marriage as an obligation that is constantly dominated by one of its two members, this view being shown in the prologues and tales of the Clerk, the Wife of Bath, and the Miller....   [tags: power, control, marriage]

Powerful Essays
781 words (2.2 pages)

The Tales Of The Canterbury Tales By Geoffrey Chaucer Essay examples

- The stories on The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer often undermine societal hierarchies at the time. The tales Chaucer tells highlight aspects of authority that would otherwise never be questioned. In “The Miller’s Tale”, the notion of a clear useful economic hierarchy is challenged. Chaucer critiques chivalry in “The Knight’s Tale,” testing the value of the authority it provides. In “The Friar’s Tale”, Chaucer questions the benevolence of the church and its position hierarchy. By giving archetypal characters the freedom to act in opposition to their hierarchical roles, Chaucer calls the nature of authority into question....   [tags: The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer]

Powerful Essays
741 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on Analysis Of Geoffrey Chaucer 's ' The Canterbury Tales '

- One recurring theme in Geoffrey Chaucer’s, The Canterbury Tales, is payback. Many of the tales are fabliaux, so they consist of naughty characters and oodles of payback. The characters each possess multiple characteristics, including caritas and cupiditas. Because of these traits, the characters in Chaucer’s tales are often prone to partake in immoral or moral activities. The activities result in payback dished out and received. The payback can come in many forms, including vengeful, violent, childish, karmic, or sexual....   [tags: The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer]

Powerful Essays
1258 words (3.6 pages)

Satire And Sass By Geoffrey Chaucer Essay

- Satire and Sass (An Essay Geoffrey Chaucer’s Intended Audience for the Canterbury Tales) Geoffrey Chaucer isn’t just the father of the English language, he’s also the king of satire. His work, The Canterbury Tales, combined sass and rhyme to decimate previously conceived social expectations of the Catholic church. Staunch Fourteenth century England must have gotten a little bit more heated when Chaucer’s jaunty characters first told their opinions of love, money, and war. On Chaucer’s unique style, John Zedolik comments, “The Canterbury Tales contains variety in genre but also variety in its narrative modes and components....   [tags: The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer]

Powerful Essays
870 words (2.5 pages)

Geoffrey Chaucer 's Use Of Satire Essay

- Chaucer’s Use of Satire An Analysis of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Use of Satire in The Canterbury Tales Every author has a set agenda before writing their piece of literature. Without an agenda, there is no motivation to write such piece of literature. This holds true with Geoffrey Chaucer. In the 14th century, Chaucer read Boccaccio’s Decameron, and was inspired to write his own version of the Decameron essentially. Therefore, Chaucer came up with The Canterbury Tales. Although The Canterbury Tales is very controversial, it was widely famous at the time Chaucer wrote it....   [tags: Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales]

Powerful Essays
1451 words (4.1 pages)

Satire : The Famous Creator Of The Simpsons By Geoffrey Chaucer Essay

- know all those words, but that sentence makes no sense to me” (Groeing). Matt Groeing, the famous creator of The Simpsons, perfectly describes what it’s like to read and try to interpret satire. Satire is when one says something, but really means something else. It can also be said that satire is very ironic as well. Notably, one of the greatest satirists is Geoffrey Chaucer, who was a poet in Medieval Europe. Chaucer wrote his greatest piece of work, Canterbury Tales using the tool of satire. Canterbury Tales is about a group of people Chaucer “goes with” on a pilgrimage to Canterbury....   [tags: The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer]

Powerful Essays
1084 words (3.1 pages)

The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer Essay

- Geoffrey Chaucer wrote the Canterbury tales a collection of short tales in the 14th century. The compilation of stories are told by different characters within the narrative as part of a game proposed by the host. Each individual must tell two stories on their journey and two stories on their way back. Each story tells some aspects of English life during the time and often added satire like qualities to the English life. In particular Chaucer often tells stories with elements of the relationship between man and women....   [tags: The Canterbury Tales Essays]

Powerful Essays
1576 words (4.5 pages)

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer Essay

- The Canterbury Tales is a set of stories written by Geoffrey Chaucer in the fourteenth century. The stories were told by a group of pilgrims traveling to Canterbury Cathedral, in hopes to see a shrine of Saint Thomas Becket. To make time go by the host recommended each pilgrim tell a tale. The tale that each character gives, reveals that person’s background and life. Some pilgrims matched their stereotype of that time but most do not. The Prioress, Madame Eglentyne, and Wife of Bath, Allison, are two characters that do not fit their stereotype of the Middle Ages....   [tags: The Canterbury Tales Essays]

Powerful Essays
1118 words (3.2 pages)