Essay on Chaucer's Concept of `The Good Man'

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The Age of Chaucer was an age of unrest and decay in all the fields of life. The corruption and decay was particularly reflected in the Christian Church of that age which gave rise to many satirical writers like Chaucer, Gower and Langland. Geoffrey Chaucer who was a representative writer of the age portrayed with crisp laconic vividness the materialism and avarice of the clergy as well as the moral laxity and luxury of the laity. His `Canterbury Tales' can be called an estates satire, in which the people belonging to the different layers of the class are satirized. As Chaucer himself belonged to the middle class and therefore he has chosen for his theme the portraits of people from the upper middle class and…show more content…
Chaucer venerated the medieval ideal of the three basic orders of society--knighthood to maintain justice and protect the lives and property of all, clergy to foster and protect the souls of all and the ploughmen to work with their hands and gain food for all. Thus Chaucer has not satirized the Pilgrims who belonged to this ideal of society. Thus he has given each group an ideal who are the Knight, the Parson and the Ploughman respectively. The good men are an entirely idealized group and their goodness stands out clearly when contrasted with the other pilgrims of their own group. The Knight is described by the poet as the perfect and genteel man who loved truth, freedom, chivalry and honour. He was truly a distinguished man. He had fought in battles in both Christian and heathen lands and in every instance he served his king well. Despite his great military accomplishments he was as "modest as a maid" and courteous and Chaucer himself praises this nobleman as: "He never yet a boorish thing had said In all his life to any, come what might; He was a true, a perfect gentle-knight." His worth becomes clear when his ideals are contrasted with the ideals of his son, the Squire. He fights for the sake of his love for God while his son fights for
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