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What Chaucer's attitude to the church and churchmen in the general prologue?

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Introduction

What Chaucer's attitude to the church and churchmen in the general prologue? Chaucer comments a lot on the church throughout the general prologue, the fact that the story begins with the pilgrimage to Canterbury strongly suggests the religious perspective, the Catholic values of the time encompass the main plot. Chaucer creates a fairly secular world filled with imperfect human beings as shown in the General Prologue. Many of the characters involved with the church are corrupt, yet the reader can enjoy Chaucer's vivid portrayals of these characters rather than have only negative opinions of them. The reason lies in the narrator Chaucer's intended humbleness. In lines 727-740, narrator explains his policy of telling the truth of a person and describing him or her realistically. ...read more.

Middle

While none of the pilgrims come from the top classes of society, the aristocracy, many of them are quite rich and sophisticated. In examining them, we are, for the most part, looking at members of the middle-class (although the concept of class did not exist at the time). Some of them have money, a few have traveled extensively. They know about good clothes and books and food. Some ordinary folk have horses. There is a sense of rising individualism among them. While the ideals of the dedication to a traditional Christian communal society are clearly there, it is equally evident that for many of these pilgrims, including the Church officials, the sense of a communal duty is being eroded by a personal desire for money and the fine things money can by. ...read more.

Conclusion

The literary dualism in the General Prologue depends largely upon Chaucer's sophisticated literary mechanism of incorporating the religious perspective into the mundane, realistic world. The humorous tone and vivid descriptions of every sort of characters in the General Prologue remind the actual life in a pleasant way despite the corruption of those people. Meanwhile, the factor of sentence is implicitly embedded behind the narrator's benign attitude and humorous, yet correct portrayals of the pilgrims. Thus, the balance between the religious and secular world in the General Prologue paves the way for the subsequent tales, which can be safely deemed as one of the most impressive literary achievements ever. ...read more.

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