Books, Brutes, And Bums In Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales

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Books, Brutes, & Bums National Merit Scholar, Scholarships, Google Scholar what does one think of when they hear those words? They represent a person, or thing in the case of Google, with great sophistication and vast knowledge pertaining to academics and propriety. During the twelfth Century this representation was also supposed to be upheld by intellectuals. In The Canterbury Tales Chaucer alludes to the fact that he wishes this image is upheld but through his stories he conveys that in reality education does not always translate into being educated. In “The General Prologue” Chaucer describes a pilgrim who is a perfect scholar, “he looked hollow and when soberly./ Right threadbare was his overcoat; .../ For he would rather have at his bed’s…show more content…
While the scholar in this story has refined his speech and studies just as much as the Clerk, he does it all for the wrong reasons, “I have found out, through my astrology,/.../ [That] this world…/ Must be drowned,” (89). He only says this because he wants to have sex with Alison and thus needs to get rid of her husband. While, this scholar is more resourceful, his intentions are still contrary to the Clerk who would, “ pray assiduously for their souls,/.../ And gladly … learn, and gladly teach.” (8-9). The juxtaposition of these two characters magnifies the difference between the idealization and the reality of scholars which is intent; the defining factor of how a person is perceived and…show more content…
Chaucer chooses the Clerk be 'good' and thus becomes a model of what Chaucer hopes all scholars will one day be like. This is a big difference; especially when it is compared to the Summoner and his profession. The difference is that Chaucer portrays all summoners the same way. Which leads one to believe that Chaucer has no hope for summoners ever being good and honest people. Whether Chaucer is to be thanked or not for the change in demeanor in current scholars is debatable but, it is still resonates in the 21st Century regarding how education and etiquette should go hand in
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