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The Canterbury Tales Essay

1237 words - 5 pages

The Canterbury Tales, an unfinished collection of tales told by a diverse group of pilgrims, was written by Geoffrey Chaucer between 1386 and his death in 1400. It has since been translated into modern English to make reading easier for today's readers. Each tale presents the reader with at least one moral. These morals are often conveyed through the use of satire. In this paper we will examine the morals in each tale and discuss the ways Chaucer managed to teach a lesson and keep the reader interested through the story. Some of the tales contain very clear messages while others require more thought to recognize. There are several lessons to be learned from "The Miller's Tale." The most obvious is that we should be cautious of whom we trust. This message is communicated through the relationships between the Carpenter, Alison, and Nicholas. Nicholas, also known as Nicholas the Gallant, is a poor student who lives with the Carpenter and his wife. The Carpenter makes the mistake of trusting him, and allowing him to stay in his home. Nicholas proves that he cannot be trusted when he makes a pass at the Carpenter's wife Alison. The Carpenter should have been more careful when deciding to keep Nicholas at his home. A marriage is supposed to be based on trust, but Alison breaks this trust when she deceives her husband. Clearly, the Carpenter should never have trusted Alison enough to make her his wife. Also, the Carpenter shows poor judgment by marrying Alison in the first place, who is much younger than himself. This story suggests that their marriage was doomed from the start because of this large age difference. The Miller strongly believes that a man should marry someone equal to and like himself especially in age."A man should marry someone like himself A man should pick an equal for his mate Young and old age are often in debate." "The Miller's Tale" proves that Chaucer was a great writer by showing his capability to combine morals and comedy. The tale is humorous because of all of the tricks the characters play on each other. For example when Absalom asks Alison for a kiss, but he ends up kissing an arse. Despite the bawdy humor in this tale, Chaucer still manages to teach the readers a lesson. This combination is beneficial to the reader because while they are learning lessons and morals, they are also laughing and being entertained. It is a fun and interesting way of learning. Not all of The Canterbury Tales have morals quite as clear as those from the "Miller's Tale." "The Nun's Priest's Tale" is one of these. It is difficult to decide which moral the Nun's Priest had in mind when he was telling the story. Again, Chaucer uses satire to convey his message. He does this by having his character tell the story as a beast fable. A beast fable is a cautionary anecdote that uses the obvious resemblance between man and animals to present a moral entertainingly. The animals in this tale are personified,...

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