The Analysis of the Sinful Character of the Pardoner

Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Pardoner’s Tale,” a relatively straightforward satirical and anti-capitalist view of the church, contrasts motifs of sin with the salvational properties of religion to draw out the complex self-loathing of the emasculated Pardoner. In particular, Chaucer concentrates on the Pardoner’s references to the evils of alcohol, gambling, blasphemy, and money, which aim not … Read more

Chaucer’s Knight – Polarity and Logical Inconsistency

In the General Prologue of Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, the first character portrait presented is that of the Knight. Though the knights of Chaucer’s time were commonly perceived as upstanding, moral, Christian leaders in society, underlying Chaucer-the-Pilgrim’s largely complimentary and respectful portrayal of the Knight is Chaucer-the-Poet’s slightly sarcastic and accusatory version of the … Read more

Christian Obligation and Religious Uncertainty in the Song of Roland and the Canterbury Tales

The Middle Ages were marked by religious upheaval in Europe. Two new major world religions were coming to power: Islam and Christianity. The rapid success of Christianity led the Roman Catholic Church to become the dominant religious force in most of the western world, and as with any powerful institution, it became increasingly corrupt (Swanson … Read more

Analysis of the Clerk’s Tale: The Impact of Walter’s and Griselda’s Marriage

The “Clerk’s Tale” of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales can be seen as a mirror of society, where social classes have very noticeable tensions between them. This essay shall analyze the “Clerk’s Tale” by putting it in a socio-political context and focusing on the interactions between Griselda and Walter, who belong to different social classes. Introduction … Read more

Chaucer’s Depiction of the Merchant and View of Marriage

Geoffrey Chaucer wrote The Canterbury Tales in the late 14th Century, featuring several tales loosing linked together that revolve around typical medieval lifestyles, virtues and preoccupations with many modern day parallels. In the Merchant’s Prologue, the Merchant’s attitude is imposed by distaste for the sacrament of marriage, which he describes as a form of “cursedness”, … Read more

Interrelation of the Heroes and the Setting in the Canterbury Tales

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 … Read more

The Pardoner As a Cheater

The Pardoner of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is representative of the darker side of the corrupt church of the Middle Ages. A pardoner was a church official who had the authority to forgive those who had sinned by selling pardons and indulgences to them. Although the pardoner was a church official, they were almost always part … Read more

Emelye’s Garden Scene in “The Knight’s Tale” and Boccaccio’s Teseida

In “The Knight’s Tale”, Chaucer clearly draws on themes used by other writers, and is particularly influenced by the work of Giovanni Boccaccio. In Boccaccio’s Teseida dell Nozze d’Emilia, he creates the character of Emilia, with whom the Theban brothers Arcites and Palaemon fall in love. In “The Knight’s Tale”, Chaucer introduces his version of … Read more

Logical Inconsistencies in the Wife of Bath’s Tale: A Feminist Approach

In her Prologue and Tale, the Wife of Bath attempts to undermine the current misogynistic conceptions of women. Her struggle against the denigration of women has led to many feminist interpretations of her Tale, most portraying the Wife of Bath as something of a feminist icon. However, through contradictions in action and speech, the Wife … Read more

Color Symbolism in The Miller’s Tale of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales

“The Miller’s Tale”, a ribald and bawdy fabliaux about the generation gap, youthful lust, aged foolishness, and the selfishness and cruelty of people towards each other, contains a wealth of color terms which add to and expand the meaning of this rustic tale. The teller, too, the Miller, is described in detail in Chaucer’s “Prologue” … Read more

Insatiability and Incongruity: The Psychology of the Pardoner and His Story

Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales introduces readers to several fascinating and dynamic characters. Perhaps the most fascinating of all is the Pardoner, whose prologue and tale are filled with irony. The Pardoner is a complex character whose blatant hypocrisy and spiritual atrophy serve to give the reader an understanding of the irony of his tale … Read more

The Impact of Christianity on Women’s Acceptable Behaviour in Canterbury Tales

Fifteenth-century England, in which Geoffrey Chaucer wrote The Canterbury Tales, was ruled by a Christian morality that had definite precepts regarding the ideal character and behavior of women. Modesty and chastity in both manner and speech were praiseworthy attributes in any Godfearing, obedient, wifely woman. “The General Prologue” introduces the Prioress Madame Eglantine as an … Read more

Analysis of the Wife of Bath in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

“ Chaucer opens the “Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales” describing twenty-nine people going on a pilgrimage. It can be recognized from the way people behave today, that they had a distinct personality. In comparison with the other people, Chaucer made The Wife of Bath stand out from the other characters.The Wife of Bath is described intentionally in … Read more

Female Stereotypes and Their Role in The Wife of Bath

In Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue” deconstructs misogynist rhetoric proposed in texts such as Valerie, Theofraste, and Against Jovinian (Chaucer 673-83). Respectively, Valerie and Theofraste instruct husbands on how to curtail their wives’ duplicity, and Against Jovinian addresses the issue of female sexuality (Greenblatt 297 notes 5, 6, 7). The … Read more

Breaking Down the Comic in the Canterbury Tales: Satire

From corrupt politicians to Real Housewives of Orange County, symbols of hypocrisy in modern day society exude personas that are ripe for criticism. These symbols also exist in Geoffrey Chaucer’s prominent anthropological work The Canterbury Tales, attesting to the endurance of class structure and its affect on human behavior throughout history. To depict his interpretation … Read more

An Analysis of the Moral of Two Tales from Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales: The Pardoner’s Tale and The Wife of Bath

The Pardoner’s Tale’s Lesson The moral of this tale is that “greed is the root of all evil” as shown with the three rioters. They demand to know where they can find Death, a mysterious figure who killed one of their friends. An old man directed them to a tree, where they should find Death. … Read more

Chaucer’s Description of Medieval Feudalism

The Canterbury Tales is an estates satire, that not only points out the shortcomings and inequalities, but also the inauthenticity, that exist under feudalism’s code of social stratification. Examples of these characterizations of the estates are found widely throughout the general prologue and the pilgrims’ tales. The first example of inequality in The Canterbury Tales … Read more

The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale’: How Masculine Characters Should Look Like

The Wife of Bath, with the energy of her vernacular and the voraciousness of her sexual appetite, is one of the most vividly developed characters of ‘The Canterbury Tales’. At 856 lines her prologue, or ‘preambulacioun’ as the Summoner calls it, is the longest of any of the pilgrims, and matches the General Prologue but … Read more

Genre Analysis of the Canterbury Tales: The Reeve and the Miller

The Miller and Reeve’s Tales of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, while being intricately crafted examples of the French genre fabliaux, differ significantly in both progression, resolution, as well as the tales’ overall connotation and voice. While the Miller’s tale seems to follow the more traditional, “good humored” nature of the fabliaux, the Reeve creates a raunchy … Read more

An Analysis of the Moral of Two Tales from Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales: The Pardoner’s Tale and The Wife of Bath

The Pardoner’s Tale’s Lesson The moral of this tale is that “greed is the root of all evil” as shown with the three rioters. They demand to know where they can find Death, a mysterious figure who killed one of their friends. An old man directed them to a tree, where they should find Death. … Read more