There are very few authors in this world that are able to use satire in such a gentle way, while at the same time being rather harsh. There are very few authors at all that are able to use satire without offending his audience, and still keeping them engaged. Chaucer is one of the few writers to have accomplished this goal. Not only was he an avid user of satire, but he used this satire to reach out to his intended audience. Now Chaucer, being an iconoclast (an attacker of the issues of sacred institutions) had a very specific audience he was writing for, but a broader list of those he was attacking. He had a bone to pick specifically with the church, and also disagreements among
It is clear that Geoffrey Chaucer primarily uses satire throughout The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer even explains in the work, as a disclaimer to the audience, that a lot of what is stated is a joke. Even so, the “General Prologue” of The Canterbury Tales still provides the audience with the opportunity to obtain a deeper understanding of each character before they tell their stories.. This provides the audience with an idea of what common stereotypes are present during Chaucer’s time due to his work being a fabliau. Chaucer implements a significant amount of religious figures and it is made evident through Chaucer’s choice of when he implements satirical language amongst these characters what he wishes to criticize without being deemed heretical for speaking negatively against the
The aim of any true satirical work is to poke fun at a certain aspect of society, while also inspiring reform to that very same aspect in one way or another. In Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Chaucer satirizes the Medieval Church and those associated with the church. Medieval society was centered largely around the Church. Ideally, the people were expected to understand that earthly possessions were meaningless when compared to the prospect of closeness with God. Man was expected to work until he died, at which time he would receive eternal salvation. This eternal salvation was achieved by obeying God's commandments. This theory, however, was becoming progressively corrupted as hypocrisy began to pollute the Church, particularly at the higher
To begin, back in the days on Geoffrey Chaucer, religion was ruled by one and only one church, the Roman Catholic Church. He never really agreed with the ways of the church so he wrote a series of tales making fun of the people of England and the ways of the church. Even though he was purposely making fun of the church, he had to be careful of the way he said some things. With some of the characters he creates, Chaucer finds himself apologizing in advance for what he is about to say; or what the characters were about to say. By doing this Chaucer is using satire. Satire is when you say something but mean another or the opposite of the thing you say. Most of Chaucer’s tales are not appropriate for high schools, but of
“The Canterbury Tales” was written during a time of religious unrest. Corruption and greed infiltrated the Church beyond the point of correction. Chaucer would have been well aware of these issues growing up as a diplomat in fourteenth century England. His familiarity of the systems and interactions between high-ranking officials in the court and the church make him a reputable source of criticism of the church and its affiliates. At a time when indulgences and monetary incentives were at a peak in Christian churches, Chaucer used his poetic prowess and political understanding to critique and ridicule how perturbed the Church had
Use of Satire in Canterbury Tales, Pride and Prejudice and The Rape of the Lock
The Canterbury Tales are a collection of literature that depicts the structure of society in the fourteenth century and the corruptness behind it. In this collection, Chaucer becomes a social commentator by communicating his beliefs on many issues happening in his age through his characters. Although Chaucer does not directly state these beliefs verbally, he allows the actions of the characters in his collections to speak for themselves. As one reads these collections, readers can hint that Chaucer knew or came in contact with everyone in these tales.
The Canterbury Tales, the most famous and revolutionary work of Geoffrey Chaucer, is a collection of twenty-four tales presented in the form of a story-telling contest by pilgrims who are traveling from London to Canterbury. In my viewpoint, The Canterbury Tales can be understood as a representation of the English society at Chaucer's time as it documents several of the social tensions of life in the late Middle Age. The choice of setting the tales as part of a pilgrimage allowed the author to cover a wide range of social roles with varying hierarchical positions and occupations. Therefore, the tales depict a number of the evolving themes by that time in many segments of the society, such as the ones presented in The Wife of Bath tale: the
By analyzing “The Canterbury Tales”, one can conclude that Chaucer did see the merits of the church, but by no means regarded it in a wholly positive light. Whereas some of the clergy are viewed as devout and God-fearing, others are viewed as con- men and charlatans. One can even venture to say that Chaucer was using this story as somewhat of a criticism of the church, showing the flaws of its leaders and the greed that permeated it at the time.
Most of us might know that Chaucer's version of The Canterbury Tales is an old story but his version may just be the most famous. Chaucer has this problem with how things are done and the hypocrisy. ¨The love of money is the root to all evil.¨ According to the French the people in England always smelled. They were poor in sanitation and even when talking in German their breath would stink. He wrote this story in the language of the street. The Pardoner's Tale will not only show us greed and irony but it will also show us what someone can become capable of doing just to get money, even to their own blood. Chaucer will criticize the church hypocrisy.
For example, the Wife of Bath is described with a massive gap in her teeth, which resembles someone who is adventurous and loves to make love. With no shock or surprise, the narrator is satisfied that his observation is confirmed with the selected characteristics. Chaucer also criticizes the Church often with the Pardoner. He writes about men who chose lives of hypocrisy instead of dedicating themselves to the faith. These are interesting contrasts because The Wife of Bath is a woman who is an advocate for social change and practices what she preaches, whereas the Pardoner is a cheating conman who exhibits qualities that should not be connected to the Church. The Wife of Bath says, “I’ll make no boast about my own estate/ […]/ Not every dish and vessel’s made of gold,/ Some are of wood, yet earn their master’s praise” (Coghill). I appreciate this section because she is loud but humble and she represents goodness and light when she is looked down upon by the Church. In opposition, the Pardoner preys on the lowly and less fortunate and takes advantage of these desperate and naïve people. He is an appointed official of the Church and he represents all evil and the seven deadly sins, as we have discussed in class. These are obvious triggers for conversation and contradictions which are why satire is a core part of our curriculum. The disturbing truths written by Chaucer make for good conversations as satire
Geoffrey Chaucer wrote The Canterbury Tales, using his characters as the mouthpiece for his iconoclastic views. Chaucer had serious issues with the hypocrisy of the church as well as, many other sacred institutions. The only reason that Chaucer was not exiled or even imprisoned for his views is the way in which he exposed them. Through the allegorical meanings of this text and Chaucer’s claim that he is simply retelling the events of his pilgrimage to Canterbury as it occurred, Chaucer is saved from extreme persecution. From the beginning of time there has always been issues with challenging the higher order; allowing people to make their own decisions and separate themselves from the way of the church often lead to death. In 1350 the
During the medieval times corruption in the Catholic Church was prevalent. As corruption was prevalent during Chaucer’s time so was a Pardoner’s practice of selling indulgences, becoming one of deception and greed. Similar to the upper class focusing their time on becoming the richest and most powerful. In many of Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer would use satire to criticize different social classes. For example, the middle class, those people who worked for their possessions. He satirizes religious hypocrisy in such tales as the Pardoner, in which a middle class man, showing the corruption of the Pardoner’s job. Through his description of the Pardoner as being a man who is disitful, greedy, and hypocritical, Chaucer uses
In Canterbury Tales, Chaucer reveals hypocritical qualities in the Pardoner through vivid characterization, tone, and morality. The Pardoner's total lack of respect for the Church's expectations and the congregation allows Chaucer to display flaws in society. Chaucer is able to demonstrate scams and illustrate hypocrisy in the Church, and society in general through the techniques he uses in Canterbury Tales.