Compare And Contrast The Canterbury Tales And The Handmaid's Tale

2003 Words9 Pages
Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale are similar in the way that their tales are each addressed to various audiences and the significance of the tales to each of these audiences is shaped by the conditions under which they receive the tale. In a broader sense, the various audiences can be classified into one of two categories. The first of these we will call the immediate audience and it consists of the fictional audience that lives within the same space and time as the storyteller. The second category we will call the audience at large and it includes the contemporary audience of the authors as well as the modern day readers. Each set of work has three types of audience that falls into one of these categories. Dynamically, the three audiences are structured in such a way that they appear to be layered. This layering allows for one group of audience to sometimes shape and/or challenge the expectations of another audience. The complexity of how the role of the audience is explored by both The Canterbury Tales and The Handmaid’s Tale is what allows for the meaning of each tale to expand beyond the narrative.
The Canterbury Tales has three distinguishable layers of audience that are addressed by the various tales; and this layering is created by the boundaries of space and time, as well as the boundary between fiction and reality. The three audiences are the pilgrims, Chaucer’s contemporary audience and the modern day audience. The pilgrims and

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