Criticism of the Church in the Canterbury Tales

1576 Words Apr 25th, 2012 7 Pages
The Canterbury Tales, a collection of tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, was written in Middle English at the end of the 14th century (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2011). It is considered to be the best work of literature in English in the Middle Ages (Johnston, 1998). Chaucer uses literary devices as no one had ever done. In addition, he chose to use English instead of Latin. This masterpiece is structured in a similar way as Bocaccio's Decameron. The tales are organized within a frame narrative (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2011) explained in the General Prologue by the narrator: a group of pilgrims that are going to visit St. Thomas Becket in Canterbury's Cathedral. These pilgrims are from different estates of the medieval society: nobility, the …show more content…
Melillo, 1996). She is also very kind and sensitive. For instance, she cries when a mouse falls in a trap and feeds her dogs meat so they do not starve. This image of nice person contrasts with the reality of the time. If her words and actions are analyzed, the audience can understand that this was not the typical behavior of a nun. She is more worried about her pets than the commoners who actually did starve and rarely ate meat. The narrator is portraying her as a very naive person in a very nice tone that hides the irony. Nevertheless, the audience was aware that she is not fulfilling the aim of the Church: take care of people (The Norton Anthology, 1993:76). The Monk is the following pilgrim described in the General Prologue. According to his description he is very interested in hunting and in horses (line 166). A monk should not be riding and hunting but obeying, praying, copying and studying. In addition, the Monk is fully aware that his order does not allow these practices and he admits that he does not follow the rules of his order (Jokinen, 2010) (lines 174-175). When the portrait of the Monk finishes in the General Prologue, the man described is bald, fat and well-dressed. Any person in that time that heard this description would immediately think about a lord not a monk. Although the narrator likes the life style of the Monk and his description is not very acid, we can see how Chaucer is criticizing some