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

Literature and Dissent in the Age of Chaucer

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

55KJ Literature and Dissent in the Age of Chaucer Essay 1. Q1. "[Chaucer's] method of communicating [the] impact and importance of [the events of his day] was indirect, whether because of temperament, or the political caution needful to someone of his rank and position, or because of a deliberate choice concerning the materials appropriate to high-literary vernacular poetry" (Pearsall) In light of this comment, write an essay on Chaucer's responses to contemporary political and religious practices, and to the groups or institutions with which they were associated. You should refer to the general prologue to the Canterbury Tales in your answer, but need not confine your discussion to this text. Tutor : Stephen Penn 0016861 It can be seen within Chaucer's writing that the politics and religions of his day are important factors behind the ideology with which he engages in the work of the Canterbury tales. This we can see clearly. The manner in which Chaucer embraces such historical events of his day, however is somewhat indirect. As a result this has raised questions among Chaucer theorists as to why he should be so oblique about this aspect of his work. We can see this in Pearsall's statement: "Chaucer's method of communicating the impact and importance of the events of his day was indirect, whether because of temperament, or the political caution needful to someone of his rank and position, or because of deliberate choice concerning the materials appropriate to high-literary vernacular poetry" As such it is my intention to study closely the Canterbury Tales, in order to attempt to discern why it was that Chaucer was so indirect in his use of elements such as estate satire, whether it be for only one of the above mentioned reasons or for all of them. ...read more.

Middle

So we see here that we go from a situation where the prioress is satirised for aspiring to be more than just a religious dignitary, to the monk who literally denounces that for which he is meant to stand. Again however, as with the prioress, Chaucer portrays a picture closer to that of an aristocratic landowner than a man of the cloth. We can see this in line193: "I seigh his sleves purfiled at the hond With grys, and that the fyneste of a lond; And for to festne his hood under his chyn, He hadde gold ywroght a ful curious pyn; A love knotte in the greter ende ther was. Again Chaucer employs the imagery of a gold "love knot" around the monks neck, in a similar fashion to the way in which he places the gold crowned A around the prioresses neck. The placing of such a symbol around the neck of clergy seems significant in that it symbolises a weight or a burden. Not to the prioress and the monk themselves, but a burden to their original cause. I believe that the imagery of a heavy symbol of a love to which they are forbidden weighing them down by being tied around their neck may represent the thing which is stopping them from reaching any religious enlightenment, as they are still bound by earthly desires such as hunting and high fashion. I believe that this sign of love represents the love of all things earthly and forbidden. Therefore what we can see from Chaucer's description of the Prioress and the monk is that he is most definitely employing estates satire with regards to the clergy, and as such is making a social comment upon the religious practices and doctrines of his day. ...read more.

Conclusion

Why then did he choose to make the pardoner "out of Rome"? Being that we are told that everyone else is of Britian, with exceptions of the knight who is given no fixed place. I believe that this is an important point due to the fact that at the time Rome was a hot spot for political and religious upheaval. I believe that Chaucer has unintentionally (or even possibly with intent) let show that his ideals lie with Avignon. It seems to me that the pardoner's section of the general prologue is a direct attack on not only religion, but more specifically religion in Rome. I also believe this to be another reason for why the attack upon the pardoner was so much more fired up than the attacks upon other clergy, because although the topic of religious malpractice is one which Chaucer obviously feels for, I my theory that Chaucer is an Avignon sympathiser holds then the pardoner's tale will inevitably have more passion to it. In conclusion I believe that Chaucer presents us with a spectrum of righteousness, by contrasting the placement of the characters in the religious hierarchy to their actual level of morality, and moreover it would be unwise to assume that Chaucer had only this one end in view when he wrote the Canterbury tales. Whether or not Chaucer consciously or sub-consciously intended to be both Satirical and exercise his poetic skill, it does not matter because as it turns out he has managed to do both. At the time it could be possible to read Chaucer in isolation to the subjects of religion and politics without doing any damage to his literary career, however I believe that both of the themes of religion and politics run through and unify the text as a whole. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree 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 University Degree Geoffrey Chaucer essays

  1. The Pardoner's Tale.

    Along the way, they routinely confuse fantasy for reality and vice versa. This is demonstrated not only by their embodiment of Death, but also by their accusations towards the old man: "Have heer my trouthe, as thou art his aspye, / Tel wher he is, or thou shalt it abye, / By God, and by the holy sacrement!

  2. Chaucer's Pardoner's tale Analysis on lines 520 through to 602

    meanwhile the third brother has already convinced himself that the others must go and so is now explaining to the owner that he wants to buy poison and even refers to the brothers as vermin that bother him. This ironic turning from one brothers vow to the others as embracing them as blood, to plotting and acting out their demise.

  1. Are fairytales 'just' stories for children? Refer to at least two tales in ...

    Cinderella is arguably one of the best-known fairytales in world, with over 700 variants reported; these include several significant groupings, only one of which corresponds to the popularly known fairy tale. The oldest version is "Yeh-hsien" from China, over 1000 years old.

  2. After reading Chaucer's "General Prologue" I can clearly see that the way in which ...

    "Hir hosen weren of fyn scarlet reed," "Boold was hir face, and fair, and reed of hewe." We can link this use of colour in the description of the Wife of Bath back to Franklyn again, she is described using the colours red as I have mentioned giving the impression

  1. The Wife of Bath's Tale is an exemplum, providing an answer to the question, ...

    Her rebellion against patriarchal authority and the abusive treatment of particular men expressed by the Wife of Bath are really but the projections of her selfish attitude: "His pleasures were my profit, I concurred" (269). She does not care about anyone but herself and she chooses to display that willingly.

  2. Medieval Literature 2, Testament of Cresseid: To what extent should the planetary gods be ...

    In spite of this, it has also been argued that the planetary gods are unnecessarily harsh in their punishment of Cresseid. She has been shamed and rejected by her lover, forced to return in secret to her father's house, and it is natural that, having had a rough time and

  1. Write an essay on the variety of ways in which Chaucer treats the subject ...

    However, Chaucer's plan in this Act is not yet finished- there is still the gap of the relations between husband and wife, a certain superficiality of love not yet mentioned, the love which continues and neither party to the contract strives for mastery, a genuine and sincere type of love, not bound in romantic idealism or crude cynicism.

  2. 'Langland's Piers Plowman greatly influenced The Canterbury Tales'. Discuss, with particular reference to estates ...

    Paul Olson has noted that this was 'a period of extraordinarily intense debate about what constituted a good society'.4 Much of the estates literature was written with this debate as the central theme. It was recognised that the interaction between classes was necessary to maintain a good society, but that

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