Canterbury Tales Morality Paper

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Eternal Bliss or Life Amiss?: Analysis of Theme in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales The Christian Church has been a driving force in politics and morals for hundreds of years. In the medieval time period in Europe, the Church was particularly strong, a majority of the European peoples and rulers were followers. The set of moral codes and virtues the Church sets forth dictates how each person should live. Provided that one follows these morals, the Church guarantees every follower a place in Heaven, a paradise for a soul after its body’s death. Although the Christian Church offers salvation to each of its followers, nevertheless, certain people’s desire for immediate reward leads them to sin because the idea of an immediate …show more content…

The Summoner, as an official paid by the Church, ensures that sinners will arrive in the church court. This he does quite poorly. Misusing his position of power, the Summoner “…[allows]…– just for a quart of wine –/Any good lad to keep a concubine” (666). The Church strongly discourages infidelity in a marriage, but the Summoner ignores his duty to uphold its values, seeing only the wine and his pleasure. His motto, “…Questio quid juris…,” (662) or “What portion of the law applies” (Coghill 74), summarizes his attitude toward his job, he may determine which rules to enforce and which to be bribed out of. His negligence to persecute men who sleep with more than one woman is a sin toward the Church and he can no doubt see that there is no Heaven for a man like him, but this matters none as long as there is a fine wine to enjoy. Another character in Chaucer’s piece finds being sloth more important than thinking of life after death. The Oxford Cleric disregards his responsibilities to the Church and to his friends. He is “…not too fat…,” (Chaucer 298) which implies that he may not be massive, but is nonetheless overweight, and his “…horse…[is]…thinner than a rake…,” (297) no doubt from receiving no opportunity to grow muscle by being ridden. The Oxford Cleric “…[finds]… no preferment in the church/And he…[is]… too

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