• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare and contrast the presentation of three pilgrims from Chaucer's General Prologue' and show how their descriptions add to our understanding of his society

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Compare and contrast the presentation of three pilgrims from Chaucer's General Prologue' and show how their descriptions add to our understanding of his society 'The Canterbury Tales' is a group of tales written by Geoffrey Chaucer in about 1387. Chaucer planned to write 24 tales but died before he could complete them, so, The Canterbury Tales consist of 22 verse tales and two long prose tales. The 'General Prologue' gives a brief but vivid description of each pilgrim journeying to Canterbury before the pilgrims actually begin telling their tales. Most literature written in the medieval period was written in either French or Latin, especially poems or Holy Scriptures, so when Chaucer wrote 'The Canterbury Tales' in Middle English he was making a statement. Chaucer wanted to promote the vernacular language of England and so wrote 'The Canterbury Tales' in Middle English. Three of the best portraits of the pilgrims in the 'General Prologue' are of the Knight, the Wife of Bath and the Monk who all tell us a great deal about Chaucer's society. The Knight is a "verray, parfit, gentil knyght", who earns his living by fighting for his faith and his king. ...read more.

Middle

The five husbands could suggest that the Wife of Bath was an early feminist because she uses men to her own advantage and in her tale she claims women's superiority over men. Chaucer gently mocks the gregarious Wife of Bath by telling the reader in an exaggerated manner that on Sunday at Church the wimple that she wore "weyeden ten pound", this also hints at her materialistic and vain nature, which is completely opposite to the Knight. The Wife of Bath had clothes such as; "hosen of fyn scarlet reed Ful streite yteyd and shoes ful moyste and new" That show that she is vain and materialistic because she has bought new shoes for a pilgrimage and red stockings which would be very expensive because to dye clothes bright colours was very expensive in those days. The Knight, however, "Of fustian he wered a gypon/Al bismotered with his habergeon" which is completely the opposite. The Monk is "a lord ful fat and in good poynt"; he is indulgent; the fact that The Monk likes to eat swan also suggests that he is indulgent, not what a monk should be. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Knight she is on the pilgrimage for materialistic reasons whereas the Knight, like the Parson, is on the pilgrimage for authentic religious reasons. The Monk could be on the pilgrimage to socialise or it could be a reason to get out of the cloistered of the monastery; neither of which are holy reasons. In conclusion I believe that the Knight is the only person, along with the Parson, who is on the pilgrimage for the right reasons. The Knight is on the pilgrimage to give thanks to God and he dedicates his time to those who are in need. On the other hand The Monk is on the pilgrimage for one of two reasons, either to socialise with other people or just to get out of the monastery. This reflects the view at the time that the Church was corrupt and rich. The Wife of Bath is on the pilgrimage for vain and materialistic reasons the most likely reasons are either to show off her wealth or to find another husband. This reflects the position of women because could not go out and live on their own they needed the support of a husband or a father. Peter Redmond 4AC 4E3 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Geoffrey Chaucer section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Geoffrey Chaucer essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    I am going to compare and contrast two stories the first 'The Fury' and ...

    3 star(s)

    He blames everyone but himself, but knows he is in the wrong. Phyllis is not a traditional house wife unlike Mrs Fletcher who is. She is lazy and indolent, but she may work at the pub 'queening it down the pub every night' but maybe she just spends his money.

  2. Compare and Contrast Chaucer’s Presentation of the Monk and the Pardoner

    give up all material possessions and live a life of near poverty, however the Monk does not seem to have obeyed this rule, "with gris, and that the fineste of a lond And, for festne his hood under his chin He hadde of gold ywroght a ful curious pin; This

  1. General Notes on Chaucer and the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales

    She koude muchel of wandrynge by the weye. (General Prologue, I.464-67). Pilgrimages began as exercises in penance, as defined in The Parson's Tale: Commune penaunce is that preestes enjoynen men communly in certeyn caas, as for to goon peraventure naked in pilgrimages, or barefoot.

  2. What are the arguments of the Wife of Bath in relation to marriage? How ...

    Wife's three husbands, that even a rich woman of "heigh parage" (line 256) can be a "tormentrye" (line 257) to her husband as he has to "suffer hir pride and hir malencolye" (line 258). The use of the quality of nobility in both the Prologue and the Tale, in my

  1. How do the Canterbury Tales explore the idea of gender? Discuss with reference to ...

    She holds her own opinions on selected texts and will argue her cause. Alisoun rejects her chastity by engaging in an erratic relationship with Nicholas, and making a mockery out of her husband shows her to have a lot in common with one of Jankyn's Wikked Wyves.

  2. The Canterbury Tales - The General Prologue: Basing your answer on two portraits from ...

    Chaucer is deeply sarcastic; he picks out the misdemeanours of the Monk but "seyd his opinion was good" and that "certainly he was a fair prelaat". This sarcasm emphasizes Chaucer's contempt of the church as he mocks the Monk and invites the reader to dislike him.

  1. the Wife of Bath

    The knight hardly seems worthy of the old woman, even in her haggard form. He chooses to have her beautiful and independent rather than unattractive and faithful. However, the man still gets what he wants. Though it seems as though the knight is the foolish one, it is his wife that can be seen as the loser.

  2. The Canterbury Tales - Write about either the character from the prologue you think ...

    The full extent of the knight's honour is expressed when Chaucer remarks that he was, "...evere honoured for his worthynesse:" The word 'honoured' indicates that the Knight was respected and admired by his country and people for being 'worthy' of respect, as Chaucer treats him.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work