How Chaucer Examines Class and Social Status in 'The Canterbury Tales'

690 Words Jan 6th, 2018 3 Pages
We recently talked about the Jerry Sandusky case, Discuss the ways in which Chaucer examines class and social status in The Canterbury Tales.

The Canterbury Tales is absorbed in the minutiae of the three estates, or the distinctions between class and social status. In many ways, too, it seems to act as a parody on the various classes.
The three estates are each divided into their specific class. There is the clergy ("those who pray"); the nobility ("those who fight"); and the commoner or peasantry ("those who work"). The paly, too, does not put them in order. It is aptly introduced by the Highest order, the Knight, but then followed by a member of the lowest order, the Miller, by which fact, Chaucer may be insinuating his disregard for order of class and status.
Chaucer, indeed, seems to be preoccupied with matters of class distinction in his Canterbury Tales, telling us right at the beginning that not only will he include stories of the pilgrims but that he will also tell us "of what degree"(I: 40) they are , in other words, their social milieu.
Chaucer's term 'degree' occurs regularly with Chaucer often distinguishing people into high or low degree. Degree spans the lowest servant (Legend of Good Women 1313) to the king. The king is above everyone in degree (394), and Nature herself works in degrees as she says she is "the vicaire of the Almighty Lord" (379).
God Himself organizes the universe in terms of a hierarchy as…
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