Geoffrey Chaucer View And Change On Judgement

1226 words - 5 pages

As humans, it is a natural tendency to judge everything. We discriminate people, and judge them by who they are. Teenage girls judge other girls by what they wear, how they look, and how they present themselves socially. Do we do this on purpose? Of course not, but when we get bored with ourselves, we have to judge other people and compare. When we start this judgment process, we also form certain opinions towards that person or an organization. Geoffrey Chaucer is one of these people, but he actually did something about it. He had problems with some social aspects during the 1300s which included the church, gender differences, and hypocrisy. He wrote about these problems in a set of tales widely known as The Canterbury Tales. The first is The General Prologue which describes a pilgrimage to Canterbury that many people endure, but on this specific journey, twenty-nine different people travel together to Canterbury. He uses two types of satire to relinquish these opinions, juvenile and horacian. A general definition of satire is saying one thing, but meaning another. The author Cynthia justifies my definition by stating, “Chaucer reminds us that behind all the jokes are the serious truths that he and his pilgrims believed in.” (Werthamer, Cynthia C.).Juvenile satire can be very enraging to whomever it is targeting; on the other hand, horacain satire will make everyone laugh. By using both of these types of Satire, he expresses his concerns in The General Prologue, The Pardoner’s Tale/Prologue, and The Wife of Bath’s Prologue/Tale.
First of all, both types of satire are used in The General Prologue. His use of satire is primarily expressed through the characters. For example, the Knight is perceived as perfect, he follows the chivalry code perfectly along with another knight, which in the end, they both ruin everything and no one is happy. According to Alan Baragona, “The heart of the book, and its strongest section, is a defense of Chaucer's Knight against charges, mainly by Terry Jones, that he is an unscrupulous mercenary and a target of Chaucer's satire.” (Baragona, Alan). Another character he did this with was the prioress, which didn’t have any wealth at all, but pretended to be the richest woman alive. The Monk did everything opposite of a monk, and a Friar who was a religious man, didn’t have a holy bone in his body. “This Monk was therefore a good man to horse; / Grey hounds he had, as swift as birds, to course. / Hunting a hare or riding at a fence/ was all his fun, he spared for no expense.” (General Prologue, Pg. 102, lines 193-195). For further clarification, Monks typically do not hunt anything, but this Monk loves hunting no matter what the cost. By revealing the truth, Chaucer shocks many of his readers during that time period, raising a lot of doubts within the community, which of course is the outcome Chaucer wants. Revealing the truth to the public is what creates change, and by stating these facts, he will eventually create...

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