Individuality In Don Quixote, And The Canterbury Tales

Decent Essays
Throughout the middle ages, the human being was always considered as being part of a collective population, community, or other forms of parties. The post-medieval era deviated from this ideal and instead promoted the individual status of the man by dissociating him from any collective and religious belongings. There was a greater focus placed on each individual’s creative abilities and their ability to cause a change in society. Many authors of this time reflected these ideals in their works and contributed to the growing value of individuality. Texts such as Mirandola’s Oration on the Dignity of Man, Cervantes’ Don Quixote, and Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales demonstrate the growing value for the individual which allows their distinct characteristics…show more content…
Mirandola, Cervantes, and Chaucer associate the liberty of being able to express oneself with the deviation away from church doctrine. Mirandola’s work was criticized by the church, because it proposed that man’s actions were not preordained by the Divine Being, and was instead decided on by the man himself. Chaucer’s Don Quixote declared himself a knight in spite of the fact that the priest advised him against it. Don Quixote’s books were condemned as evil by the priest because they glorified knighthood instead of the teachings of the church. In each of these instances, the similar opposition of the church is reflected in the works of Chaucer and Cervantes because the texts expressed the distinct beliefs and creativity of the individual. This reflects the rigidity of the church during the medieval era and the people’s gradual withdrawal away from it during the post-medieval era as individual ideals were placed in a greater value instead of conformity to strict church doctrines. Chaucer portrayal of the individuality of the Wife of Bath challenges the merit of virginity and calls into questions the religious ideals of women during that time. However, Chaucer’s take on individuality sheds light on sexuality and marriage through the Wife’s character unlike the works on Cervantes and Mirandola. The fact that Chaucer displays her as a strong and admired character in the novel shows that his support of her independence and her ability to manipulate men. Chaucer uses the Wife’s character bridges the gap between nonconformity of societal standards and the empowerment of the
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