In The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer is able to provide explicit social commentary of his characters to his readers through the process of meta-fiction, in which he writes about the art of literature and its effect on the readers. Through the use of meta-fiction, Chaucer is able to hide behind his overt commentary of the social classes, which includes criticizing members of the church and the social elite, while also commenting on social, religious, and gender inequality. In “The Prologue to The Tale of Sir Thopas”, Chaucer avoids the repercussions of his political statements by portraying himself as a quiet character of unknown social class who tells a dumb-witted tale to play to his naivety, while following with an advisory tale saturated with legal and moral arguments, leaving the characters, and the readers, wondering about the depths of his character. The way that Chaucer performs this meta-fiction is in itself an art form, as he inserts himself as a character in the tales, playing the role of the observant yet naïve narrator. Throughout the tales, the character Chaucer remains silent, keeping his opinions to himself and never implying a place where he should tell his story, unlike the drunk, lowly miller who interrupts the social order by telling his tale before the monk. However, Chaucer the author explicitly draws attention to this silence in the prologue before “The Tale of Sir Thopas” after the prioress finishes her tale, to which he says, “Whan seyd was al
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysGet Access
Throughout the Canterbury Tales, various characters are introduced and tell a tale, each of which tells a different story. All of the tales are unique and address different issues. “The Miller’s Tale” is the second of the many stories and varies from all of the rest. As seen from the “General Prologue,” Chaucer clearly depicts the Miller as a crude, slobbish man who will say anything. This reputation is held true as the Miller drunkenly tells a story full of adultery and bickering. Despite the scandalous nature of “The Miller’s Tale,” the story also displays some of Chaucer’s prominent beliefs. As “The Miller’s Prologue” and “The Miller’s Tale” are told, it becomes evident that Chaucer is challenging the common roles and behaviors of women, and he is also questioning the effectiveness of social class.
Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales became one of the first ever works that began to approach the standards of modern literature. It was probably one of the first books to offer the readers entertainment, and not just another set of boring morals. However, the morals, cleverly disguised, are present in almost every story. Besides, the book offers the descriptions of the most common aspects of the human nature. The books points out both the good and the bad qualities of the people, however, the most obvious descriptions are those of the sinful flaws of humans, such as greed and lust.
In "The Prologue" of The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer has some religious characters who break the vows they pledge for, to get a place in the Church. Many characters in the story seem to have an awkward characteristic that the writer did not notice. Why do the religious characters break the vow? How do they break it? For example, the monk was a primary part of the church, but as you keep reading, the characters start to change in ways you could never imagine. Some character do not interact with each other depending upon their social class level. The vows that the religious characters break are the Vow of Poverty, the Vow of Chastity, the Vow of Obedience, and the Vow of Stability.
Canterbury Tales is an exquisite literary work for numerous reasons among them being the satirical way that Chaucer is able to get his agenda across. However, as the times change, the areas where we need to provide more discretion change as well. There are a lot of characters in Canterbury Tales that while they were great for their time period are either nonexistent or not relevant anymore. The occupations alone have changed dramatically simply based on the demands that we now have socially or in the work force. In addition, while it is still a mainstay in millions of households, the church and religion don’t hold as big a sway over the current factions you would find in the world. While Chaucer, the father of the English language, does a masterful job when he intricately describes his characters in the general prologue, if the tales were adapted for modern times he would need to add a celebrity, an athlete, and a news anchor.
Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales” is a collection of over twenty stories told from the perspective of different members of a group of travelers as part of a story telling competition. Each member devises their own tale, ranging anywhere from a tale about chivalry and valor, fittingly told by a knight, to a comedic tale of a cheating wife and all the consequences that her actions bring, told by the miller. Through the act of introducing and telling their tales, each traveler puts themselves on display for the rest of the group and in doing so, reveals much about their true character. One storyteller’s tale in particular stands out in the way it does this: the Wife of Bath. Throughout her lengthy prologue, the Wife of Bath freely portrays herself as an imperfect person. Of herself she gives a complicated account, defending and explaining her many marriages and describing her actions towards her husbands, which were often very shaky morally speaking. She follows up her prologue by telling the story of a young man who, after committing a heinous crime and being sent on a quest to redeem himself, succeeds in this mission and ends up marrying a beautiful woman, living happily ever after. The narrator, who may at first seem to be incongruously paired with her tale, is actually working towards a greater purpose in this juxtaposition. The wife of bath, by following up her
In The Canterbury Tales, written by Geoffrey Chaucer, the stereotypes and roles in society are reexamined and made new through the characters in the book. Chaucer discusses different stereotypes and separates his characters from the social norm by giving them highly ironic and/or unusual characteristics. Specifically, in the stories of The Wife of Bath and The Miller’s Tale, Chaucer examines stereotypes of women and men and attempts to define their basic wants and needs.
Somehow, Chaucer is mocking the behaviours of the characters in this story, he does not condone their actions, in fact, he punishes them for behaving in such a fashion. One can wonder if Chaucer is expressing the idea of a majority of people from his time, or if his voice was singled out among his countrymen.
Geoffrey Chaucer made a huge contribution to English literature by writing in the vernacular language of English instead of Latin. His work The Canterbury tales is one of the greatest works in the world of literature. While Chaucer took inspiration from some of poets he created his own unique style and individuality. A true testament to the quality of Geoffrey Chaucer’s work is the fact that some six hundred years later we are still studying and enjoying his beautiful and intriguing work. Geoffrey Chaucer wrote The Canterbury Tales between 1387 and 1300. The Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories which begins with 30 pilgrims of all social status. The General Prologue states that each pilgrim was to tell two tales while travelling to Canterbury and two tales while returning from Canterbury. Amongst the pilgrims are a miller, a knight, a merchant and an oft-widowed wife from Bath. This essay will discuss the manner in which The Miller’s Tale responds to The Knight’s Tale. We will discuss the similarities and differences
It is clear that Geoffrey Chaucer was acutely aware of the strict classist system in which he lived; indeed the very subject matter of his Canterbury Tales (CT) is a commentary on this system: its shortcomings and its benefits regarding English society. In fact, Chaucer is particularly adept at portraying each of his pilgrims as an example of various strata within 14th century English society. And upon first reading the CT, one might mistake Chaucer's acute social awareness and insightful characterizations as accurate portrayals of British society in the late 1300s and early 1400s. Further, one might mistake his analysis, criticism, and his sardonic condemnation of many elements of British culture for genuine attempts to alter the
The Knight, for example, is chosen to narrate the first tale. He is in the highest position from a social standpoint and displays the most admiring virtues for a medieval Christian man-at-arms: bravery, prudence, and honor. In contrast, belonging to the clergy, the Pardoner serves the author’s purpose of criticizing the church, as the character is exceptionally good at faking relics and collecting profits in his own benefit. Chaucer portrays in this tale the disagreement with the excess wealth and the spread corruption in Church at that
The Canterbury Tales is a story that incorporates a multitude of stories told by a multitude of characters. Written by Geoffrey Chaucer, he devises a novel in which each character has to narrate a total of four stories as part of a competition; on their way to visit Saint Thomas Becket, the characters would tell two stories going and two stories returning from the journey. The perspective changes through each story, and each story is introduced by a general, opening, third person prologue. Though many of the characters got to share some ideas, Chaucer unfortunately passed away before his story’s entirety. As a result, a winner was never officially clarified. Needless to say, it is evident that the clear winner would be the Miller’s Tale.
The characters introduced in the General Prologue of The Canterbury Tales each represent a stereotype of a kind of person that Chaucer would have been familiar with in 14th Century England. Each character is unique, yet embodies many physical and behavioral traits that would have been common for someone in their profession. In preparing the reader for the tales, Chaucer first sets the mood by providing an overall idea of the type of character who is telling the tale, then allows that character to introduce themselves through a personal prologue and finally, the pilgrim tells their tale. Through providing the reader with insight about the physical and personal traits of
In Chaucer’s famous novel: The Canterbury Tales, he describes many characters in a satirical way, while others he describes with complete admiration. The narrator (a constructed version of Chaucer himself) is staying at the Tabard Inn in London, when a large group of about twenty-nine people enter the inn, preparing to go on a pilgrimage to Canterbury. After the narrator talks to them, he agrees to join them on their pilgrimage. Although, before the narrator progresses any further in the tale, he describes the circumstances and the social rank of each pilgrim. There are two characters in these tales of the same social class, but Chaucer’s opinion on them vary greatly. These two characters are the beloved Parson, and the loathed Pardoner.
In the Canterbury Tales, Chaucer gives a detailed description of what life was like in Medieval times . In the “Prologue”, the reader comes to better understand the people of the time period through the characters words and actions. Chaucer uses a variety of groups of society to give the reader a deeper insight into the fourteenth century Pilgrims customs and values. Through the Court, Common people and the Church, Gregory Chaucer gives a detailed description of ordinary life in the medieval times.