The Tales Of The Canterbury Tales By Geoffrey Chaucer Essay examples

The Tales Of The Canterbury Tales By Geoffrey Chaucer Essay examples

Length: 741 words (2.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview


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.
“The Miller’s Tale” opens with a blunt challenge to authority. When the Miller breaks with the hierarchy and demands to tell his story before the Monk, Chaucer makes the authoritative structure abundantly clear. Though the order of story-telling among acquaintances is a seemingly insignificant, far removed from the rigid hierarchy of medieval England, Chaucer is sure to fundamentally connect the two. Chaucer refrains from naming his narrators, this is done specifically to highlight their broader role in society. The Miller challenges the role of the Monk, not any individual. This lack of individuality plays into the stereotypical vision of the Miller. He is a loud, obnoxious drunkard who at first only upsets the hierarchy for his own gain. This plays into the complication of authority Chaucer creates. Even the Miller’s story itself further complicates authority. It is entertaining, even beautiful, but brutal and gritty, telling the story of love in a lower class setting. “The Miller’s Tale” questions the nature of authoritative hierarchy in medieval England itself.
Like the other tales, “The Knight’s Ta...


... middle of paper ...


...300s, Chaucer writes during the beginnings massive social upheaval and the beginning of a new age in European history. An age where authority and hierarchy is turned on its head, though, of course, not abandoned. The notions of the underpinnings of hierarchy, like the power of the church or the unmovable station of citizens, are beginning to change. Chaucer fuels this change through The Canterbury Tales by writing broad characters of the old hierarchy, and questioning the authority they find themselves in. The Miller directly questions his station, the Friar exposes the corruption in the church, and the Knight brings the underpinnings of Chivalry into question. Chaucer’s characters exist in a state of constant upheaval. Though he does not radically advocate for a new system, Chaucer implores his medieval readers to think about the basis of authority in their world.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

The Canterbury Tales By Geoffrey Chaucer Essay

- Ways in which “The Canterbury Tales” were reflective of everyday life during the Middle Ages The Middle Ages began with the collapse of the Western Roman Empire and merged into what is known as the Renascence Era and the Age of Discovery. It encompasses the 5th to the 15th century, in the area that is modern day Europe. Author Geoffrey Chaucer, chose to explore the social structure/ classes of these times in an effort to share his observations and thoughts. Using vivid imagery, exaggerated characters, and everyday settings, Geoffrey Chaucer used “The Canterbury Tales” to depict real world parallels of the social changes that were happening in the Middle Ages in England....   [tags: Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales]

Better Essays
1885 words (5.4 pages)

The Canterbury Tales By Geoffrey Chaucer Essay

- In The Canterbury Tales, created by fourteenth century author Geoffrey Chaucer, society is described through literary elements such as tone, metaphors, and imagery. The Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories that are told through different pilgrims who are on their way to Canterbury to pay homage to St. Thomas a Beckett. At the beginning of Chaucer 's collection of stories, he describes each of the pilgrims. One of the pilgrims that Chaucer describes is the Wife of Bath, and through his description of her the reader is able to find out about her appearance, background, and personality....   [tags: Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales]

Better Essays
1085 words (3.1 pages)

The Pilgrimage Of The Canterbury Tales By Geoffrey Chaucer Essay

- The pilgrimage that is taken in The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer can be similar to something like, a rock concert. The reason for this pilgrimage is for people to visit a religious figure, well so they say. It is also a reason for all different walks of life to come together and have a good time as they take this moral religious trip up to the saints. The types of people on this pilgrimage are all different; there are moral people and not so moral people. There are also fair and straight edge people, as well as people who have a bit more of a wild side, just like one might see at a rock concert....   [tags: Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales]

Better Essays
1635 words (4.7 pages)

Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales Essay

- Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales The Knight, Squire, Prioress, The Monk and the Friar are defined by their settings in Geoffrey Chaucer’s "Prologue" to The Canterbury Tales. 1. Portnoy says in his article in the Chaucer Review that "The General Prologue is like a mirror reflecting the individuals appearance which then defines the character of that person."(281) 2. Scanlon backs up Portnoy in his article from Speculum by saying "…Characters descriptions somehow emerge inevitably from the original intentions of Chaucer’s text or reflect its lasting value." (128) 3....   [tags: Chaucer Geoffrey Canterbury Tales Essays]

Better Essays
1275 words (3.6 pages)

Geoffrey Chaucer 's The Canterbury Tales Essay examples

- Over the course of the semester, this British Literature course has adequately exposed myself to a variety of works of differing styles coming from a millennium of English authors and poets. With this literary immersion, some works have proved more memorable than others. Out of these select few, I hope to choose the literary work which demonstrates the greatest combination of entertainment and morals for future readers to take away from the text. After some deliberation, I found the solution obvious, as I had to write about Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales....   [tags: The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer]

Better Essays
1351 words (3.9 pages)

Geoffrey Chaucer 's The Canterbury Tales Essay

- The character details that Geoffrey Chaucer’s narrator focuses on, in his descriptions of the pilgrims in “The Canterbury Tales”, provide an insight into the values and ideals that he held in esteem. The story is framed from the point of view of a narrator; who is not explicitly Chaucer but, presumably, shares many of his predilections and persuasions. The pilgrims are described in varying degrees of detail, less than ten lines for the Cook and more than forty for the Summoner, but nonetheless, the narrator ensures that his audience has a solid grasp on how he feels about each character....   [tags: The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer]

Better Essays
777 words (2.2 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]

Better Essays
1258 words (3.6 pages)

Essay on Geoffrey Chaucer 's The Canterbury Tales

- Madonna once said, “I 'm tough, I 'm ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay” (Madonna). Madonna is saying that she can do what she wants and that should be okay, no matter what society says. Society should not be the one to determine how women act. This accurately embodies Geoffrey Chaucer’s message on how women should act in regards to what society tells them to do. In the fourteenth century, Madonna would be seen as a rebellious person that no one should follow....   [tags: The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer, Sociology]

Better Essays
944 words (2.7 pages)

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]

Better 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]

Better Essays
1175 words (3.4 pages)