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

The CanterburyTales - A Book Review.

Extracts from this document...


History of Europe 1000-1500 Book Review 12/3/03 The Canterbury Tales A Book Review The Canterbury Tales is a book written by Geoffrey Chaucer in the 1300's. It is a collection of stories, each told by one person on a pilgrimage to Canterbury. It was written in Middle English, which is readable (with practice) by English speakers today, and therefore the literary devices are not lost in translation. The Canterbury Tales provide a rare look into both Medieval society and the Medieval Christian Church. Each tale gives insight into the Medieval world through the eyes of the pilgrim that tells it. This gives us a unique opportunity to observe the Medieval world as perceived by many different people, not just the educated who could write it down. The Canterbury Tales starts with all of the pilgrims going to Canterbury to the shrine of Thomas a Becket. These pilgrims include a Knight, his son the Squire, the Knight's Yeoman, a Prioress, a Second Nun, a Monk, a Friar, a Merchant, a Clerk, a Man of Law, a Franklin, a Weaver, ...read more.


Also, the Knight does not start the story with the main characters of the tale, Arcite and Palamon; instead, he begins at the apex of society, describing the exploits of King Theseus of Athens, working downward until he reaches the less distinguished soldiers. The Knight's Tale adheres to traditional values of honor in which there are strict codes of behavior which one must follow. This code of chivalry is not necessarily polite and decent. In the morality of the tale, Theseus' sudden decision to ransack Thebes to right a wrong is perfectly acceptable as punishment for a transgression against the honor of the dead soldiers. The Miller's Tale, which followed the Knight's Tale, is a fabliau that mocks the Knight's Tale and brings the tale down to lower orders and stripping it of honor and chivalry. Both are tales of romantic love, but the Miller's Tale clearly makes fun of the Knight's Tale and the ideal of chivalry and courtly romantic love. ...read more.


Her prologue and tale show us that women were subordinate to their husbands and their opinions were not respected. The Wife also denounces the Bible and the Church's relentless support of chastity and monogamy, even using passages in the Bible to point out inconsistencies and hypocrisies. The Pardoner's Tale serves to both explore and criticize Medieval Church life. The description of the Pardoner himself offers great insight into Chaucer's view of the Medieval Church. Although on a pilgrimage, the Pardoner admits that he is only in it for the money, and he is described as an extremely morally deformed person, as well as a terrible hypocrite. The Pardoner's tale is about three men who come across a treasure and double cross each other to get a larger portion of the treasure, ultimately resulting in no one getting the treasure. The Pardoner interrupts the end of his tale with a rant against the sin of avarice, and then by condemning the sin, the Pardoner hopes to motivate the travelers to pay the Pardoner to absolve their sins. This demonstrates common distaste for the corruption in the Medieval Church, and foreshadows Church reform down the road. ...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. How do the Canterbury Tales represent female desires?

    She has broad hips, which is a sign of fertility, a gap tooth and she also wears scarlet stockings. The original scarlet woman, however red is also a sign of danger. She also has the sign of Mars, which is a red birthmark on her face.

  2. How does the tale of the Merchant reflect the character of the Merchant himself?

    the dissonances among them and it is precisely to recognize what these dissonances mean that we must return to Chaucer's relations to merchants in fourteenth-century England The knight January and the Merchant are allied with respect to their attitudes toward women and property, and it is this alliance which makes the telling of the tale possible.

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

    Consequently he has to realise that women want control of their husbands, the wish of the Wife of Bath, and we can see her being more objective and restrained as the elfin woman of her tale. The themes of marriage, chastity, and sexuality run strongly throughout both The Wife of Baths Prologue and Tale and The Miller's Tale.

  2. Carnival and Pilgrimage in The Canterbury Tales

    The carnival spirit, in such medieval traditions as the Feast of Fools, mocked and degraded official life: it put laughter temporarily in place of official seriousness. To medieval people official life meant fear, humiliation, submission to the whims of those in power; the carnival spirit, in reaction, cultivated the misshapen

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

    The Canterbury Tales has many speakers, rather than just one (as in The Confessio Amantis and The Book of the Knight of Latour-Landry), and it differs from Boccaccio's Decameron, the closest analogue, in that the speakers are not from a single social class (as are Boccaccio's elegant young Florentines)

  2. The Canterbury Tales is more than a collection of stories, many of them taken ...

    Many texts, especially histories, had been written by monks or other clerics who consequently interpreted events in favor of the Church's, or the ruling class's, perspective. The clergy was notorious for sucking money out of the people any way they could.

  1. The Loyalty of Wives in "The Canterbury Tales".

    She remains loyal to her mate because he is under her control. The Franklin's Tale is a short romance in which the main female character, lady Dorigen, is married to a knight, Averagus.Unlike most medieval couples, they are genuinely in love.

  2. Cloudstreet review

    The effect that writing in the view of someone outside the family creates is like you are there watching in all this "skylarking" and "chiacking" going on and it is a very nice image to be reading. Later into the prologue someone runs to the water of the river, this

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