Geoffrey Chaucers The Canterbury Tales English Literature Essay

Life in England was n’t ever easy in the early 14th century. On the surface, it looked as if nil was traveling on but mundane life ; nevertheless, In Geoffrey Chaucer ‘s The Canterbury Tales, it is revealed that you ca n’t ever believe what is on the exterior. A group of travellers gather together at Tabard Inn to get down a pilgrim’s journey to Canterbury. In the General Prologue, the readers are introduced to each of these characters. “ The narratives which range from animate being fabrications to heroic poems about love and comedies of sexual deserts ” ( Chaucer ) are of import factors in the narrative. During the pilgrim’s journey, each traveller has to state two narratives on the manner to Canterbury, and on the manner back. Chaucer wrote the narrative around the late 13 100s, but it was meant for a private reader because of its controversial narratives. He died before he could complete the narrative. He used the pilgrim’s journey to make literary plants that could last over a hundred old ages. Chaucer ‘s precise description of the rough world of society includes controversial subjects like the corruptness of church, gender, and maltreatment of power ; but regardless to state, Chaucer ‘s narrative helps unravel some of the corruptness in society.

In England, life was non easy for everyone. There was dearth, poorness, corruptness in politicians and people of high position. By the late 14th century, the Catholic Church, which governed England, Ireland, and the full continent of Europe, had become highly affluent. It cost a batch of money to construct and adorn the munificent cathedrals. “ The leaders of ballad society were less patient with the particular privileges of the clergy ; laypersons of all ranks questioned the huge wealth of the church — wealth that was non all that much greater than earlier, but which seemed more annoying ; and many truly spiritual people, ballad and clerical both, criticized the religious failures of the church ” ( Muhlberger ) . Due to disbursals caused by war, and many deceases by the Black Plague, many people have lost forbearance with the church because of how it seemed like the church and its reverends seem to hold a more epicurean life compared to others. This triggered many narratives and narratives about how the church was avaricious and selfish. The spiritual figures Chaucer represents in The Canterbury Tales all pervert in one manner or another from what was traditionally expected of them ( Spark Notes Editors ) . The characters themselves are merely the stereotyped representations of how spiritual figures acted during this clip. The Monk, Prioress, and the Friar were spiritual figures, but in the general prologue, it is revealed that they are non who they seem to be. For illustration, the Prioress ( a nun who is caput of her convent ) was described as modest and quiet, she aspires to hold keen gustatory sensation, and dressed really munificent and lived a life that most nuns do non. “ Of smale houndes hadde she that she fedde with rosted flesh, or milk and wastel-breed ” ( Chaucer 5 ) , in interlingual rendition it says that she gave roasted mean or milk and staff of life to her Canis familiariss. During this century, there was a batch of dearth and poorness. Many people could even afford milk and staff of life, so the fact that the Prioress can give her nutrient liberally to animate beings alternatively of sharing with others is an dry representation of a nun who are normally sort and sharing. Another illustration of the representation is of the Monk. Most monks devote there life to work and prayer, and lived in monasteries, but the Monk on the pilgrim’s journey did n’t care for this regulation. He enjoys runing and eating as his interests alternatively of supplication and fasting. It is dry because Monks are typically known for the quite unagitated nature, and love of life and God ‘s animals, and in this instance the Monk enjoys runing down the animals he is supposed to love. Chaucer ‘s stereotyped representation of the characters does n’t stand for everyone of the profession, merely the 1s on the pilgrim’s journey. As stated earlier, it was a common stereotype that spiritual figures frequently abused their power for greed ; in which some instances took advantage of the place they hold to discontinue chances for personal addition.

It is human nature to desire to hold laterality over others and control over their lives. Some people merely want power to be understood and treated better. Like the Wife of Bath, who used her narrative to direct a message to the other work forces in the journey. The married woman of bath told a narrative of a Knight who rapes a immature maiden because he felt that he had the power to make so because of his authorization. He was sentenced to decease but the Wife gave him one opportunity to do damagess, “ Thou standes yet, in swich array that of thy lyf yet hastow no suretee. I grante thee lyf, if thou kanst tellen me what thing is it that adult females moost desiren ” ( Chaucer 182 ) . A twelvemonth subsequently, he returns to the palace with an old beldam who had given him the reply in exchange for any petition she wanted. He told the Wife of Bath that what adult females wanted most was to hold control over their hubbies and lovers. The queen decreed that the knight was to be pardoned, but he was in horror because he was forced to get married the Hag. Over the following few yearss, the married woman of the knight confronts him as to why he is moving repulsed by her. The adult females tells the knight that beauty is merely skin deep, and that even though you are at of a high position in societal hierarchy, it does n’t do you better so the provincials on the lower degree.

In kernel, the Hag can stand for the Wife of bath who is stating the narrative, because later on she turns into a beautiful maiden when the knight resignations himself to her control. She wants to be considered beautiful and have power over her hubbies, where as she has had five marrages already. The Wife of Baths narrative shows the significance of gender during this clip, because back so it was common to non handle female ‘s right, it was a male dominated universe. But her narrative shows that in some instances, bad work forces can alter, and that adult females can hold influence upon their lovers.

Now non every male can be converted like the knight in the Wife of Baths narrative, because in world non all work forces ‘s pride allows them to allow their lovers dominate them. Although sex paid an of import function in society, whereas being a male means that you have more laterality and power than others, it does n’t intend that all work forces use their powers sagely. Many of the spiritual figures in the Canterbury narratives frequently abused their power, which can add on to the premise that the Church of England was corrupted. The Friars and Summoner ‘s took advantage of the occupations they had. The Friars were going priest who spread faith in a broad, diverse country, along with roll uping money for the church. In the narrative, the Friar was said to hold taken advantage of people who wanted to expiate for their wickednesss. He would go from town to town and demanded payoffs when provincials and Godheads wanted to hold repentance for the wickednesss they have committed. He would besides take advantage of adult females. The mendicant can be seen as a symbol of corruptness, because he uses his power as a adult male of God to derive money for himself, alternatively of carry throughing his responsibilities for the Godhead. During the Pilgrimage, the Friar and Summoner frequently got into statements because they did the same thing, take advantage of others and collected money. This clearly is an act of corruptness, in our point of view it looks as if the church is the cause of the job, but that ‘s non ever the instance.

It is the actions of an person that creates the struggles in society, non the group the individual is associated with. Chaucer used the Canterbury narratives to demo how the church was assumed to be corrupted because of how people took advantage of their power. Peoples took advantage of societal position and people without cognition to do money for personal addition. These people who have grown wealthy had stained the church during the clip. During the Fourteenth century, the functions of gender led to several factors. Whether you were male or non determined how others treated you and what you were able to make, therefore making a demand for power in the more ignored side as stated in the Wife of Bath ‘s narrative. This maltreatment of power provenders those who prefer to progress their ain selfish aspirations instead than assist others for the good of adult male, which necessarily caused many to believe in the corruptness of the church. Chaucer ‘s Canterbury narratives helped readers see the darker portion of society, whereas those do whatever they can to last and for felicity, neglected who they affect in the procedure.

Plants Cited Page

Chaucer, Geoffrey. Canterbury Tales. Alfred A. Knope, INC. , 1958. 607. Print.

Halliday, F.E. A Concise History of England. New York: Viking Press, 1965. Print.

Muhlberger, Steven. “ Religious Conflict in Fourteenth-Century England. ” The Orb. Steven Muhlberger, n.d. Web. 15 Dec 2010. & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // & gt ; .

SparkNotes Editors. “ SparkNote on The Canterbury Tales. ” SparkNotes LLC. 2003. Web. 1 Dec. 2010.

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