Satire In Canterbury Tales Essay Test

General Prologue
1. Using Chaucer's Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, describe the rising middle class of fourteenth-century England. In the essay, include the variety of occupations, the degree of wealth, the level of education, and the beginnings of political power represented among the pilgrims.

2. Contrast a corrupt clergyman from the Prologue with the Parson.

3. Select three characters from the Prologue whom Chaucer seems to be satirizing (i.e., the Wife of Bath, the Summoner, the Prioress). Using some direct quotations, explain the satire.

The Knight's Tale
1. Explain the features of this tale which characterize it as a romance.

2. An "anachronism" is a literary "slip" in which the author inserts something into a work which could not have happened or which could not have existed at the time the work is set. Explain the anachronism in The Knight's Tale.

The Miller's Tale
1. Contrast The Knight's Tale with The Miller's Tale.

2. Fully describe the character Absalom.

The Reeve's Tale
1. Explain how The Miller's Tale and The Reeve's Tale might be said to reveal a situation that medieval men really deplored and dreaded.

2. What might surprise the modern reader about the language surrounding sexual activity in The Miller's and The Reeve's Tales?

The Man of Law's Tale
1. Describe what commentary about marriage seems to be made through this tale.

2. Name one element of the story that is drawn from each of the narrative types that Chaucer utilized for this tale.

The Shipman's Tale
1. Of the six tales told thus far, including the Cook's fragment, four have been fabliaux. What is the significance of the large number of fabliaux?

2. Discuss the two contrasting...

(The entire section is 799 words.)

Essay on Satire in Canterbury Tales

1020 WordsNov 21st, 20055 Pages

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…show more content…

Chaucer makes it quite clear to the reader that these men boast about the high morals of the Church, and then proceed to live in stark contrast to nearly every one of these morals. One example is how the Church preaches a solemn vow of chastity. Nevertheless, Chaucer tells of how the Friar had "fixed up many a marriage, giving each/ Of his young women what he could afford her." Therefore, the Friar would find husbands for the women that he had previously seduced but then lost interest in. Another aspect of the Church that these "holy-men" prove inconsistent is the vow of simple living. The Monk lives a rather lavish lifestyle, as Chaucer tells, "The Rule of good St. Benet or St. Maur/ As old and strict he tended to ignore;/ He let go by the things of yesterday/ And took the modern world's more spacious way." The monk enjoyed the comforts of good living, with fur-lined clothing, a fine horse, and first class meals. Likewise, the Friar enjoyed fine clothing, as Chaucer says, "Not then appearing as your cloistered scholar/ With threadbare habit hardly worth a dollar,/ But much more like a Doctor or a Pope." These elegant lifestyles are clearly in opposition to the teachings of the Church on simplistic living. Finally, the Pardoner preaches on behalf of the Church against greed and avarice, however he is very greedy himself. In his tale, the Pardoner tells an excellent tale denouncing greed and showing how greed leads to a person's downfall, yet the

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