The Wife of Bath from Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales Essay

592 Words 3 Pages
The Wife of Bath from Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

In Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, a collection of tales is presented during a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral. The pilgrims on the journey are from divergent economic and social backgrounds but they have all amalgamated to visit the shrine of Saint Thomas. Chaucer uses each pilgrim to tell a tale which portrays an arduous medieval society. The values, morals and social structures of the society can be examined through the fictitious tales, unravelling a corrupt, unjust and manipulative world, a world that is based around an ecclesiastical society. Society was closely associated with the Church. Chaucer was clearly unhappy with the way members of the Church
…show more content…
However, he "didn’t give a plucked hen for that text" (l. 177 (translated)) and he also went hunting but "hunteres been nought holy men" (l. 178). The monk is very similar to the Prioress, as he does not want to live the life that he has vowed to live and is better-suited living in the higher classes. The Friar and the Summoner also exhibit non-conforming behavior which again highlights the wrong in the Church. The Friar is a member of a religious order that is completely poor and has to beg to survive. The Friar, though, did not like the vow of poverty and is somewhat praised by Chaucer for knowing who to ask for money and where to go; "He was the beste beggere in his house" (l. 252). The Friar’s dubious manipulations earned him enough money to become a landowner. This did mean though that he is completely dishonest. The Summoner, on the other hand, is blatantly dishonest. He works for the ecclesiastical court, his job is to bring offenders to the court for justice. Chaucer is extremely critical of the Summoner, giving him "a fir-reed cherubinnes face" (l. 626). Children were even afraid of his visage (l. 630). His gruesome appearance is ironically correspondent with his afflicted soul. The Summoner was really a blackmailer who played on the fears of sinners so if they paid him enough money, he would not pursue them. The Summoner and Friar outline the huge flaws of the Church as does the Pardoner. The Pardoner is
Open Document