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Chaucer Essay

720 words - 3 pages

Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales embodies Middle Age ideas while incorporating his own values. He conveys these ideas and values by creating stories for twenty nine different men and women taking the religious pilgrimage to the Canterbury Cathedral. These characters include immoral clergymen, poor, yet virtuous farmers, an honorable knight and more. Chaucer’s value of honesty, humility, and hard work juxtaposes Middle age ideas such as religion, wealth and hierarchy.
Religion plays an important role in Medieval times, being a moral guide for all people to live by. In fact the characters of Canterbury tales are taking their religious pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral, where Thomas Becket was martyred. However, Chaucer notices the corruption in religion and many of his characters in the tales hold religious office. Most of these members, except the Parson, contravene their vows of chastity and morality, and live an immoral life that does not reflect the Church. He presents this in the Prologue when the narrator talks about the Pardoner; a Pardoner is someone who travels selling church pardons. He also seems to trade relics which the narrator lists: “He said he has a gobbet of the sail that Saint Peter had the time when he made bold to walk the waves, till Jesu Christ took hold” (Chaucer 133). The narrator also tells that, among his relics, he's carrying a jar full of pigs' bones, and with them he can cheat a poor parson out of two months' salary. Eventually the Pardoner admits that he is only in it for the money, and even tries to sell his relics to the pilgrims. In contrast to characters like the Pardoner, Chaucer’s value of honesty is represented in the parson. The parson lives a holy and virtuous life by giving to the poor while he is also poor. He explains that religious figures need to be examples for common people because, “if gold rusts then what will iron do?” (Chaucer 129) He gave up his comfort to help his people, and Chaucer believes that is an admirable quality.
A social hierarchy is also present among the characters with a divide in the wealthy and the poor. The travelers were separated by their social and economic...

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