Canterbury Tales Character Analysis

Decent Essays

Upon first reading of the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, the reoccurring theme of social status is not blatantly obvious. Upon further reading, however, it becomes apparent that it in fact plays large role in most of the aspects of the tales. In both the Wife of Bath’s Tale and the Nun’s Priest Tale, social status plays a role in the plot, characters, and themes in order to more effectively portray the messages Chaucer is trying to get across. The underlying theme addressing social status in The Wife of Bath’s Tale plays a larger role in the plot than one might think. The whole tale is essentially about a knights search to find what women really desire in a relationship as a punishment for raping a young maiden, and the social …show more content…

This is a direct commentary on the similar doing of the aristocracy of Chaucer’s day. The social standing of Chanticleer allows Chaucer to better portray his intentions of calling out the aristocracy through the plot of the tale. Social Status also seems to play a large role on the characters in both the tales being discussed. The Knight, in the Wife of Bath’s Tale, is completely consumed by his social status. His feeling of superiority is the main reason why he assaults the young maiden and why he despises his wife at the end. The influence his class has on him is most apparent in the scene when he exposes his thoughts on his marriage to his new wife, who is of a lesser class. He describes her as being “so poor to start with, so low-bred to follow…” (288), which emphasizes the arrogance that comes from his social standing, and shows how he feels about people of a lower class. In conclusion, the way the Knight acts throughout the story and how his character is portrayed is largely influenced by social status. The characters in the Nun’s Priest Tale are also very largely influenced by social status. Chanticleer, who’s described as “his comb was redder than fine coral, tall and battlemented like a castle wall, his bill was black and shone bright as jet, like azure were his legs and they were set on azure toes with nails of

Get Access