“The Portrait Of Women In Chaucer’s Work, Canterbury Tales”

1611 words - 7 pages

Introduction
Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales” is a collection of stories written between 1387 and 1400. In his literary work, a group of thirty people travel as pilgrims to Canterbury in England and on their way, they tell stories to each other about their lives and experiences. To be more concise, these stories constitute a critique of English society at the time, and particularly of the Church, while women seem to be presented differently in contrast to other contemporary works.
The aim of this essay is to present the ways in which the portrayal of women is modified, and trace their role within Chaucer’s masterpiece. In doing so, first some general characteristics of how women ...view middle of the document...

Within these closed circles of upper-class citizens, corruption and abuse prevailed within a fake idealism where beauty and virtue were sanctified.
Consequently, religion seemed to underlie all walks of the medieval life, and was particularly strict with women and their social position. Women were seen in relation to the prism of virginity as a reflection of the ultimate symbol of purity and virtue. The exceptional case was The Mother of Christ who represented both chastity and motherhood. All women, not those who lived within the society but also those who were dedicated to God, such as nuns, were compared to the ideal of The Mother of Christ who fulfilled the ultimate duty of a woman in this world: to bear a child, to live as a devoted mother and wife whose only purpose should be to honor, serve her family and maintain the family bonds as strong as possible (Brewer, 73).
According to Baldwin, major changes took place as far as the literature was concerned because many writers tended to idealize women in their literary works (106).As Baldwin points out that “even while medieval literature seemed entirely devoted to knights and ladies, to courtly love and chivalrous adventures, there were clever writers and willing readers to turn all this to satire” (106). It can be supported that Chaucer indeed is one of the most representative writers of this tendency as his literary production maintains many elements that are relevant to the adventurous and epic nature of the literature produced and at the same time it constitutes a critique of the social conventions of that period.
All in all, it can be argued that Chaucer attempted to give an account of the medieval society through a carefully developed story where criticism is exerted in a subtle way. Hulbert supported that “The Canterbury Tales” portray the medieval society in its full complexity, from the typical traits of people such as their appearance and manners to social and political trends that prevailed, through the prism of satire of the nobility and the fake ideals that the British society represented (121).

The Portrayal of Woman in Chaucer
Women’s portrayal in Chaucer’s literature to certain extent reflects the state in medieval society. One of the first details to be taken into consideration is the fact that in “Canterbury Tales” where the stories of twenty nine pilgrims are presented, there are only three women. However, although they are the minority they are an irreplaceable part of the work and have multiple roles: they are both storytellers themselves, but they are also parts of the stories told by the rest of the pilgrims. They appear to have multi-dimensional personalities, as on the one hand they are presented as passive and obedient women, in line with the medieval conceptions of women, but on the other hand they are also obscure and mischievous personalities who can impose their own will and interfere in other people’s lives.
More precisely, three women appear as narrators...

Find Another Essay On “The Portrait Of Women in Chaucer’s work, Canterbury Tales”

Marriage and Women in the Merchant's Prologue of Canterbury Tales

2847 words - 11 pages Marriage and Women in the Merchant's Prologue of Canterbury Tales 'The Merchant's Tale' is part of the Canterbury Tales, a collection of stories loosely linked together. Through these poems Chaucer provides an insight into the attitudes, weaknesses, virtues and preoccupation of English men and women of the Fourteenth Century. Chaucer imagines a group of pilgrims, setting off from the Tabard Inn on a journey from

Chaucer's Canterbury Tales Essay - Women in The Wife of Bath

1544 words - 6 pages Women in Chaucer's The Wife of Bath Chaucer's "The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale" is a medieval legend that paints a portrait of strong women finding love and themselves in the direst of situations. It is presented to the modern day reader as an early tale of feminism showcasing the ways a female character gains power within a repressive, patriarchal society. Underneath the simplistic plot of female empowerment lies an underbelly

Chaucer's View of Women Exposed in The Canterbury Tales

737 words - 3 pages Often, the most memorable female characters are those who break out of the stereotypical “good wife” mold. When an author uses this technique effectively, the woman often carries the story. In Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, he portrays the Wife of Bath, Alison, as a woman who bucks the tradition of her times with her brashness and desire for control. Chaucer effectively presents a woman's point of view and evokes some sympathy for her

Women in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

905 words - 4 pages The only two women most significant and described in great detail in The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer who provide the greatest insight into contemporary medieval society are the Wife of Bath and the Prioress. These two women appear similar in the General Prologue of the poem but, as we see through their tales, they are quite unique women and most importantly very different from one another. By examining both the Wife of Bath and the

Canterbury Tales - Role of Women

2936 words - 12 pages Chaucer's motley crew of pilgrims offered a vast deal of insight into life during the 14th century. Many aspects of society were revealed throughout the tales of the many characters. One such aspect prevalent in many of the tales was the role that women played in society during this time. The tales give the clearest images of women are the Knight's, the Miller's. the Nun's Priest, and the Wife of Bath's Tale. In the Knight's Tale, women

Discuss the Treatment of Fin' amors in Chaucer's Work.(Geoffrey Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales)

1800 words - 7 pages that of the descriptio of ladies.BibliographyPRIMARY WORKSChaucer, Geoffrey, 'The Book of the Duchess', in The Riverside Chaucer, ed Larry D. Benson (Oxford: Oxford University Press,1988)Chaucer, Geoffrey, 'The Canterbury Tales', in The Riverside Chaucer, ed Larry D. Benson (Oxford: Oxford University Press,1988)Chaucer, Geoffrey, The Miller's Prologue and Tale, ed. James Winny (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998)SECONDARY WORKSBishop

Women In Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

1577 words - 6 pages Introduction Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales” is a collection of stories written between 1387 and 1400 about a group of thirty people who travel as pilgrims to Canterbury (England) and on their way, they tell stories to each other about their lives and experiences. The stories constitute a critique of English society at the time, and particularly of the Church, while women seem to be presented in a different way than they are in other

Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales Proves How Historical Changes To The English Langue Can Cause Middle English Works Impossible To Read.

1302 words - 5 pages Chaucer’s fourteenth century story The Canterbury Tales can be considered almost impossible to read by many modern day readers. They tend to struggle thru understanding many of the words, as well as their meanings within this story. As I read The Canterbury Tales I noticed how the rhythm and rhyme differ from modern day English, the vowel are pronounced differently, and many of the words used within this story are no longer used in modern

Title: Human Imperfection, Written From the Book: "Canterbury Tales" by Geoffrey Chaucer, Assignment: Write an essay that analyzes Chaucer's intent in his work

588 words - 2 pages In England's Middle Ages, Christianity played a defining role in the ethics and morals in English society. Geoffrey Chaucer, the author of the Canterbury Tales, was clearly influenced by Christian morals and ethics in his writing, as shown through the comparison of the miller's and the pardoner's tales. Through blending his religious and social beliefs, Chaucer created this compilation of tales which illustrate his own social values and

Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, Pardoners Tale ii: 463-572. Write a critical and rhetorical analysis of the passage. Giving regard to its work, function, audience, circulation etc

1329 words - 5 pages ; Haselmayer252). Also the carrying around of false relics was a heinous crime itself, which marks the Pardoner as a 'dangerous man with souls' (Kellogg & Haselmayer 275).Chaucer wrote the Canterbury Tales at the time when a middle class was beginning to take shape due to industry. He directed his work towards the middle-class, writing his work in English and not French, the language of the upper-class, as he viewed them as playing a significant role in

(Chaucer’s use of Satire in his Tales)

922 words - 4 pages himself apologizing in advance for what he is about to say; or what the characters were about to say. By doing this Chaucer is using satire. Satire is when you say something but mean another or the opposite of the thing you say. Most of Chaucer’s tales are not appropriate for high schools, but of the three we read; The General Prologue, The Pardoner’s Tale, and The Wife of Bath’s Tale; Chaucer quite likes the use of satire. First off, The

Similar Essays

Literary Essay: Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales

1681 words - 7 pages One of the most recognized attribute of Chaucer’s narrative was the ability to create characters that embodied features distant from the fiction, making them very real and believable through the writing. To verify this statement it is necessary to examine Chaucer’s work. The most celebrated of them is the collection of stories "The Canterbury Tales" (originally written in Middle English) which were the last work of Geoffrey Chaucer and perhaps

The Pardoner, A Symbol Of Greed In Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

648 words - 3 pages Geoffrey Chaucer’s famous medieval classic, The Canterbury Tales, offers its readers a vast array of characters. This God’s plenty features numerous unique and challenging individuals, but there is one specifically who stands out as particularly interesting. The immoral Pardoner, who, in a sense, sells away his soul for the sake of his own avarice, puzzles many modern readers with his strange logic. Already having laid his considerable guilt

Women In The Canterbury Tales Essay

2201 words - 9 pages of the Garden of Eden. The Monk could easily be read as an anti-feminist viewpoint in the tales. In one short vignette, he explains how Delilah, the wife of Sampson, was responsible for the downfall of her husband. From Hercules to Holofernes, the Monk continues on with more tragedies that feature women who instigated the defeat of their significant other. As Angela Jane Weisl notes in “‘Quiting’ Eve: Violence Against Women in the Canterbury

Role Of Women In The Canterbury Tales Literature Essay

1095 words - 5 pages Spitz 1 Sage Spitz Professor M. D’Angelo Literary History I 19 October 2017 Progressivism in Chaucer’s Tales In The Canterbury Tales written by Geoffrey Chaucer, women are depicted in a way that mirrors the gender roles that were portrayed in the Middle Ages. During this time, women were expected to be loyal to the male figure in their lives, their father when they were young and then their husband later on in life. In these stories, however